"Brian Daboll, like most offensive coordinators on losing teams, wasn't very popular in Cleveland and was unlikely to stay on even if Eric Mangini returned for the 2011 season. Daboll's offense struggled throughout the 2010 campaign, but it's difficult to really ascertain how much of the blame lies with him. Daboll had to work with head coach Eric Mangini, whose conservative approach was clearly reflected in the offense, and the team's front office, which didn't help Daboll with some of their personnel decisions.
"Daboll comes out of the Patriots organization, where he spent the early years of his career, and then followed Mangini to the Jets and Cleveland. In New England, Daboll picked up elements of Charlie Weis' offensive scheme, but found it de-emphasized in Cleveland with Mangini's love of a power rushing attack.
"It's hard for me to overly criticize Daboll's performance in Cleveland, partially because he had personnel issues that made play-calling border on irrelevant. Saddled with quarterbacks Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn in 2009, Daboll found himself in bad shape again in 2010 as he was awarded Jake Delhomme to serve as the team's starting quarterback. In all three cases, Daboll was stuck with field generals who had gaping holes in their game which were easily exploited by opponents. Furthermore, Daboll was saddled with one of the league's worst receiving corps, lacking in any talent which would require extra attention from defensive backs. Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, and Chansi Stuckey weren't taken seriously by opposing defenses, which allowed them to crowd the line of scrimmage. Word got around the league that Peyton Hillis was the team's only real offensive weapon, and that stopping him stopped the Browns. The Browns passed mostly to their tight ends, an option frequently unavailable to them as the TEs had to help up blocking against teams that had loaded up the box.
"Despite these handicaps, Daboll did have some moments of success - the team's winning streak which ended 2009 (and temporarily saved Mangini's job) was in large part due to excellent offensive line play which led to Jerome Harrison producing some eye-opening numbers. His play-calling, and that of special teams coach Brad Seely, was largely credited as being a big factor in the Browns upset over the Saints at the mid-point of the Browns season.
"Another curious aspect to the 2010 season was the team's lack of use of 'Wildcat' formations, which were supposed to be all the rage thanks to the presence of QB Seneca Wallace and WR/KR Josh Cribbs on the roster. Despite the intriguing possibilities of these multi-skilled athletes, the "Flash" and "Wildcat" formations were trotted out infrequently and rarely to powerful effect. Some of this was likely due to Cribbs' visible slowdown following injuries to his toes, and more was possibly due to Wallace finding disfavor with the coaching staff after hinting too strongly to the local media that he thought he could be the team's starting QB.
"Overall, Daboll's experience in Cleveland was a mixed bag, truly hard to grade due to weakness at offensive skill positions. He is still a young coach, and supposedly picked up a lot from his time in New England and working with Holmgren-schooled coach Gil Haskell in Cleveland, so it will be interesting to see how he does on clubs where he can employ a more balanced attack. Browns fans aren't sad to see him go, but the Dolphins clearly saw extenuating circumstances in the Browns offensive struggles in 2010, as well they should.