The firing of Browns first-year coach Rob Chudzinski blindsided the players, media and fans on Sunday night.

But like the trade of running back Trent Richardson in September – the first defining moment of this regime -- the decision was discussed at length internally and was made with conviction. In the end, neither Chudzinski nor his coordinators were as stunned as everyone else.

Sources inside the organization told ESPN Cleveland that owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner arrived at the decision prior to Sunday’s 20-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nothing that happened in the game was going to save Chudzinski’s job, a source confirmed.

As late as November, Banner was singing the praises of Chudzinski for keeping the team together during a difficult stretch of quarterback injuries and other unforeseen circumstances, such as the Richardson trade.

But as the losses mounted, friction escalated between management and the coaches.

The coaches became unsatisfied with the front office’s response to holes in the roster. For example, management wanted to blend in more younger players and expected the coaches to get them up to speed. When the toll of additional injuries taxed the roster, Chudzinski was expected to win with a threadbare roster.

A case in point was the quick de-activation of cornerback Chris Owens on injured reserve to give playing time to rookie draft pick Leon McFadden, whom the coaches had buried on the bench. Owens later asked for his release once he was medically cleared from a knee injury and was signed by the Miami Dolphins.

There were disagreements between Chudzinski and General Manager Mike Lombardi, though Banner regarded them as healthy and not out of line.

Other smaller issues arose. At one point, Chudzinski was urged by Banner to “shake up” the locker room by cutting wide receiver Greg Little or guard Shawn Lauvao. Chudzinski declined, and that was interpreted as Chudzinski not holding players accountable for their failings.

In recent weeks, a disagreement arose about a future role for receivers coach Scott Turner, the son of coordinator Norv Turner. Chudzinski, a source said, wanted to switch Turner to running backs coach. Norv Turner objected and the brushfire became another strike against Chudzinski.