Skip to main content

Browns announce three additions to the coaching staff

Tommy Rees, Duce Staley and Jacques Cesaire join Cleveland’s coaching staff

24_COACHING_HIRES_2560x1440 (1)

The Browns officially announced that they have added three position coaches to the coaching staff. They bring in Tommy Rees as the new tight ends/pass game specialist, Duce Staley as running backs coach and Jacques Cesaire as the defensive line coach.

Let's take a look at each of the three coaches.

Tommy Rees

As the former Alabama offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Rees joins the Browns as the tight ends/pass game specialist.

"Tommy has established himself as one of the top assistant coaches in college football and I have no doubt that will transition to the NFL," head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "He has an incredible football acumen and I look forward to bringing his insight and unique perspective from top college programs to our offense."

Rees spent one season with Alabama as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 2023 season. In his lone season with Alabama, Rees helped coach the Crimson Tide to a 12-2 season, with a win in the SEC Championship Game and a trip to the College Football Playoff semifinal – where they lost to the eventual national champion Michigan.

He previously spent six seasons as a part of Notre Dame's coaching staff, first as the quarterbacks coach from 2017-19, and then as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2020-22. In three years as Notre Dame's offensive coordinator, the team averaged more than 30 points per game each year and advanced to the College Football Playoff in 2020 after posting an undefeated regular season.

Rees began his coaching career in 2015 as a graduate assistant with Northwestern. He then spent a season with the San Diego Chargers in 2016 as an offensive assistant. He ended his collegiate career after four seasons at Notre Dame, where he finished second in school history with 61 touchdown passes and third with 7,351 passing yards.

Rees takes over a tight ends room that features Pro Bowler David Njoku, who led the Browns with 81 receptions and six touchdown catches in the 2023 season. Njoku also finished the season with 882 receiving yards.

Duce Staley

As the former Panthers running backs coach during the 2023 season, Staley will take on a similar role as the new running backs coach for the Browns.

"Duce was a tough, hard-nosed running back in this league and brings the mind-set and energy to his coaching style that is needed in the running backs room," Stefanski said. "He knows how to get the most out of his players and has worked with some of the best running backs in the NFL. We are excited to have him leading our running backs."

Staley brings 25 years of experience as both an NFL player and coach, as he has won a Super Bowl as both a player and coach during his NFL tenure. He began his NFL coaching career with the Eagles, starting off in 2010 as the special teams quality control coach for two seasons. He then became the running backs coach from 2013-2020 and added assistant head coach to his title from 2018-20.

In 2017, he helped the Eagles finish third in the league with 132.2 rushing yards per game as the team won Super Bowl LII. Staley also helped RB LeSean McCoy earn first-team All-Pro honors in 2013 and five Pro Bowl selections (2013-17). In 2013, McCoy led the NFL with 1,607 rushing yards and 2,146 scrimmage yards.

Staley then spent two seasons in Detroit from 2021-22 as the assistant head coach and running backs coach. Under his direction, RB Jamaal Williams led the NFL and set a Lions franchise record with 17 rushing touchdowns in 2022.

His NFL playing career also started with the Eagles, as he was drafted as a third-round pick by Philadelphia in 1997. He spent seven seasons with the Eagles from 1997-2003 and finished his playing career with the Steelers from 2004-06, winning Super Bowl XL with Pittsburgh. Staley played in 114 career games and racked up 5,785 rushing yards on 1,430 carries with 24 rushing touchdowns, while adding 287 career receptions for 2,587 yards with 10 touchdowns.

The Browns run game struggled throughout the 2023 season after they lost star RB Nick Chubb in Week 2 to a season-ending knee injury. They used the trio of Kareem Hunt, Jerome Ford and Pierre Strong Jr. to run the ball, and finished the season 12th in the NFL. Ford led the Browns with 813 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while Hunt ran for 411 rushing yards and a team-high nine rushing touchdowns. Strong finished with 291 rushing yards and one touchdown.

Jacques Cesaire

Defensively, the Browns made one coaching change, bringing in Cesaire as the new defensive line coach. He served as the Texans defensive line coach for two seasons. 

"Jacques brings energy and a proven track record as both a player and coach in this league," Stefanski said. "He has made his impact felt in every place he has been, and we know he will come in and work to increase an already high standard for our defensive line."

He began his coaching career when he spent five seasons as the defensive line coach at the University of San Diego, from 2015-19. Cesaire coached DL Jonathan Petersen from 2015-17, who set a Football Championship Subdivision record with 44.0 career sacks.

Cesaire then transitioned to the NFL as the Bills assistant defensive line coach from 2020-21. In his first season with Buffalo in 2020, the Bills ranked sixth in the NFL with an 80.5 pass rushing grade, per Pro Football Focus. Then in 2021, Cesaire helped coach a unit that led the NFL in both total defense (272.8 yards pe game) and scoring defense (17.0 points per game).

He then was hired by the Texans as their defensive line coach in 2022 and 2023. In his first season with the Texans, Cesaire had a mix of both veteran and young players on his defensive line. That season, the defense recorded 11 multi-sack games during the season, with DE Jerry Hughes leading the Texans with 9.0 sacks. Then in 2023, the Texans finished sixth in stopping the run, allowing just 96.6 yards per game.

He also developed 2023 NFL third overall draft pick DE Will Anderson, who was named the 2023 PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year. Anderson set a Texans rookie record with seven sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl.

Cesaire also spent nine seasons as a defensive end with the San Diego Chargers. He played in 125 games with 66 starts, and totaled 275 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 27 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

The Browns defensive line – anchored by DE Myles Garrett – was a strong suit of one the NFL's top defenses during the 2023 season. Garrett recorded a team-high 14 sacks this season, and added four forced fumbles, 42 tackles – with 33 solo tackles – 17 tackles for loss, 30 quarterback hits and three passes defended during the 2023 season.