Most people’s assessment of Browns’ CEO Joe Banner and GM Michael Lombardi is they think of themselves as the smartest people in the room.
The team’s search for a new coach isn’t really supporting that argument.
It is clear at this point that when the Browns (most likely owner Jimmy Haslam) decided to fire Rob Chudzinski, they didn’t have a plan to hire his successor. It appears to be a knee-jerk reaction by someone, probably Haslam, after a seven game losing streak to end the season.
Sounds a little bit like what goes on in Washington and their owner Daniel Snyder, a man who is the butt of jokes by people who work in and cover the National Football League.
That’s not what we thought we were getting when Haslam bought the team from the reclusive Randy Lerner.
So, the view here is now Banner and Lombardi have to clean up that mess, which isn’t a great job, but one they are paid pretty handsomely to do.
There isn’t anyone out there that is going to create a buzz with the Cleveland football fan, although that really shouldn’t be a consideration. It’s more important to hire the right man for the job. Remember, no one had really heard of Mike Tomlin when the Steelers chose him, and as Banner would put out, Andy Reid wasn’t greeted with fanfare when he got the job with the Eagles, either.
The front office asked for permission to hire Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase early in the process, but Gase decided to not interview for any job until the Broncos are eliminated from the playoffs. Maybe Gase takes the job and the Browns can say they got their man, but supposedly Minnesota wants him too.
The problem that Chudzinski’s firing after one year has caused is it makes other candidates leery of taking the job because of security. Yes, head coaches are highly paid in the professional football, but they are still human beings and they want to have some assurance that they will get more than a year to produce results.
Haslam’s decision isn’t helping attract candidates.
Neither are the rumors that Banner and Lombardi want to limit the new coach’s authority in terms of the roster. We have been advocates in the past of not giving coach’s total control because they favor the players they brought in, even if they aren’t cutting it.
However, the coach needs to feel like he’s part of the process, not that it’s Banner and Lombardi’s show and the coach is a replaceable part.
There is going to be negativity about this ownership/front office until winning starts taking place on Sunday. The main problem with Haslam and his crew is that the Browns went 5-11 in 2012, and finished with a worse record in 2013.
While the roster may be more talented (they are quick to point out five Pro Bowlers), until the progress shows up in the win column, fans are going to be skeptical.
They don’t want to hear about “the process” anymore. Other teams in the NFL turn around on the yearly basis. This year it was the Chiefs, last year it was the Colts.
It’s never the Browns.
There seems to be uncertainty in Berea regarding who is in charge now. Is it Haslam calling the shots on the new coach? Is it Banner?
Fans want to see an open search. Why isn’t Mike Munchak (22-26 with no QB in Tennessee) interviewed? How about Jack Del Rio (68-71 with two playoff appearance in Jacksonville)?
Regardless, fans really can’t judge any hire until the games start in September. That being said, the Browns need to get this hire right.