The Cleveland Browns just cannot avoid drama.
They are most definitely an improved football team this season. After years and years, six in total, of four and five win seasons, the Browns will NOT lose 10 games this season for the first time since 2007.
The defense has shown tremendous improvement as the season as gone along, and the offense has some promising rookie running backs as a foundation for the future.
However, even though the brown and orange still have an opportunity for nine victories, there has been criticism of the current front office by a franchise icon, and others speculating that coach Mike Pettine may not be safe if his team loses the last two games, which would be six of the last seven overall.
Want to talk about dysfunction? Firing Pettine after the progress made this season would be the exhibit A for the prosecution.
That can be remedied by owner Jimmy Haslam taking the time to talk to the media and allay everyone’s fears by saying Pettine and GM Ray Farmer will absolutely be back next season and he looks forward to another step forward in 2015.
In a normal world, he wouldn’t have to do that because both are under contract, but after the firing of Rob Chudzinski after one year last season, and the cleaning out of the front office as well, you can understand why supporters of the coach are worried.
Haslam needs to do it and do it before this Sunday’s game at Carolina. It’s the decent and smart thing to do. Most of the fans feel Pettine has done a good job and that he and Farmer have indeed started a culture change in Berea.
The head coach switched quarterbacks last week because the guy who started the first 12 games wasn’t getting it done anymore. If there were any other circumstances, like a meddling owner, those were superseded by Hoyer’s declining play.
So, the rookie first round draft choice played poorly in his first NFL start, and now everyone is looking at needing another signal caller in the ’15 draft. To quote Aaron Rodgers and LeBron James, “relax!”
Look, we weren’t on the Manziel bandwagon as the draft approached last May, especially with the fourth overall pick. However, judging him on one game, especially against a team that reached the playoffs the past three seasons, is ridiculous.
Manziel is a competitor and that performance last Sunday probably eats at him every minute until he can get back on the field this week. If he doesn’t learn from his first start, then he’s not as smart as we think.
He has seen the speed of the game first hand and should be making adjustments. Hopefully, he has learned that it is important to play mostly from the pocket and not follow his instinct to run around if the first read isn’t open.
Those are the things we should see against the Panthers on Sunday.
The best thing about Manziel’s day last week was that we will never have to go through his first NFL start again. Let’s allow him to play a few games before condemning him to the island of misfit passers, which includes several Cleveland quarterbacks who have played here since 1999.
We understand the NFL is a week to week sport and each game gets analyzed way too much. However, this organization has made progress overall in 2014, even if they lose the last two games.
Let’s remember that before we press any panic buttons.