In turning over the keys to the Browns' offense, head coach Hue Jackson made clear he wants to give Todd Haley the chance to leave his mark.
"I still think there's always bits and pieces that you keep, but this is going to be Todd's opportunity to put his stamp on this offensive football team," Jackson, who has served as the Cleveland's primary play caller the past two seasons, said at the Senior Bowl last month. "This is going to be the Cleveland Browns offense when it's all said and done, but it's Todd leading the charge. I think people get worried about 'Whose playbook is it?' It's not about that, it's about what it takes to win."
Haley, whom Jackson tabbed as the Browns' offensive coordinator after six seasons with the Steelers, echoed a similar sentiment during his Wednesday introductory news conference.
"I always say, I don't care where ideas come from, other coaches or players," Haley said. "I just want the best idea that gives us the best chance to succeed."
That approach served Haley well in Pittsburgh, where his units — headlined by Pro Bowl players in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le'Veon Bell — were among the NFL's best, year in and year out. Last season, for example, the Steelers ranked third in total yards and eighth in points per game and captured another AFC North title.
Haley, whose contact was not renewed by Pittsburgh last month, now is tasked with rerouting a young offense that finished last in points per game and led the league in turnovers. Haley, who spent three seasons as Kansas City's head coach and Arizona's offensive coordinator for two years before that, spoke of building Cleveland's offense around the strengths of its best players. He also played down the notion of installing an entirely new system, saying the biggest change will be new vocabulary.
"What I believe in is playing to every player's strength that you have as best you can. Putting players into position to succeed, playing to their skillset. Wherever I have been, that is what I have really tried to do," he said. "Whether I was a position coach, coordinator, head coach, try to put guys in position to succeed."
He added: "I'll do whatever gives us the best chance to win. I think you saw that over the past six years. There were games we threw it 45 times to win and games we ran it 35 times to win. Whatever gives us the best chance to win, that's what we're doing. If we need to make adjustments, we will make adjustments. We will play to our strengths."
Asked how Haley's offense might differ from his own, Jackson offered a similar response. "I can say this: We're going to craft an offense, Todd will craft an offense that allows our playmakers to be the best that they can be and right now we're still in the process of trying to do more and put more on our football team," he said. "There's not a name or anything like that. It's more of, let's see who's at our disposal to coach and I'm sure he'll put together an offense to be successful and that our fans will be proud of."
Haley said he's looking forward to collaborating with Jackson. "He will be an awesome source to get ideas and to lean on," he said. "We had great conversations right out of the gate. I worked for Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona who had been a play-caller. Those are all just things that you have to deal with in these positions, but I'm excited about it.
"Like I said," he continued, "that's another guy that's been around a long time to talk to and to bounce things, ideas and thoughts off of and get information."