Training Camp

Browns hope Todd Haley's tough love creates mentally tough offense

Todd Haley didn't watch this week's episode of "Hard Knocks," but he woke up to a slew of messages on his phone.

Haley's tough-love, no-nonsense approach to guiding the Browns' offense has become one of the show's more intriguing storylines, a dynamic that was showcased throughout Tuesday night's installment. 

Cleveland's first-year offensive coordinator forgot the show aired, "but I got a lot of texts this morning," he said Wednesday. 

Haley, of course, is currently focused on helping Cleveland's new-look unit — headlined by quarterback Tyrod Taylor and wide receiver Jarvis Landry — get ready for its second preseason game against the Bills. In a larger sense, he's also working to build a culture of physical and mental toughness within the group. That, Haley said, will be critical to the Browns' success this season or lack thereof. 

"At this time of year every team, No. 1, you are trying to from your identity and what type of group that you are going to be," he said. 

"That's the type of group that we're looking to be. Any opportunity that you have a chance to do that, we're trying to do it. Guys are making progress. You want a mentally tough group that can overcome adversity. You definitely want a disciplined group that's not going to do things that get you beat in a game."

Haley, who helped make the Steelers one of the NFL's most-explosive offenses over the past six seasons, has walked the talk since head coach Hue Jackson tabbed the veteran to run his offense this offseason. Jackson, who enters his third season with Cleveland, believes Haley's presence will allow him to be the best version of himself going forward. 

"I've now taken on the CEO aspect of it," Jackson said in July, referencing his previous duty as the team's chief play-caller. "I kind of oversee it all and that was tough. I'm being very honest with you, when you have to step away from something you love doing."

"I brought Todd Haley here for a reason, to help this organization get to winning and, to me, when you look at it from that standpoint, I hope we all get it."

Beyond schematics — we'll get a better idea of the Haley offense come September — it's clear Haley has been a tone-setter for the group. Thanks to the "Hard Knocks" cameras, viewers see he makes his expectations clear. And if you don't live up to them, he'll let you know — star player, rookie, undrafted free agent, it doesn't matter. The hope is that such an approach begets a unit that can withstand the highs and lows of an NFL season -- especially one trying to overcome a 1-31 mark over the past two years.

"You're looking for a team that can bounce back within a game, bounce back after poor games," Haley said. "Just general overall pretty obvious things that you're looking for. You're looking for a team, a group that doesn't back down, that continues to fight and is able to overcome adversity."​

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