The Cleveland Browns have fired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams - who finished out the season as interim head coach - according to ESPN's Dan Graziano and Pat McManamon.
Following the firing of Hue Jackson mid-season, Williams was promoted to interim head coach to finish out the season. The Browns went 5-3 under Williams, and despite overseeing a defense that showed plenty of flashes in 2018, the 60-year-old has been let go as the coaching staff changes up.
Freddie Kitchens was also announced as Cleveland's new head coach on Wednesday. He started out 2018 as the running backs coach, then moved up to offensive coordinator following the firing of Todd Haley.
The Browns ranked 21st in scoring defense but third-last in yards. However, Williams was able to get a lot out of young stars Denzel Ward and Myles Garrett, and Cleveland's defense significantly improved down the stretch.
Williams deserves plenty of credit for helping rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield succeed in his rookie season. The latter will likely win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award after a promising first season in the NFL. Mayfield tossed 27 touchdowns - the most ever for a rookie quarterback in a single season.
But after going 7-8-1, the Browns will be eyeing for a playoff spot in 2019, so the front office decides a shake-up on the coaching staff was necessary. Williams has nearly 30 years of coaching experience in the NFL, and he's been a defensive coordinator for six different teams. He should not be out of work long.
What This Means
With Kitchens taking over as head coach, he's under pressure to do a better job with this defense than Williams. The playmakers are there, with Jamie Collins, Ward and Garrett. Williams was widely responsible for helping Cleveland finish out the season on a high note, but it just wasn't enough to help him keep his job.