A couple of years ago, the Cleveland media regarded pro football writer Jason La Canfora as a mouthpiece for Browns’ executive Michael Lombardi. These people never liked Lombardi from his days here in the Belichick regime, and so most of what La Canfora wasn’t taken seriously.
However, his column yesterday was treated like it was gospel judging by the conversation on sports talk radio yesterday.
This isn’t to say there isn’t some grain of truth in what he wrote yesterday, but it seems to have exploded throughout the city and fan base, and we think everyone should take a step back and ease up a bit.
First of all, there are no names mentioned, just unnamed sources or people within the organization. This probably means former team president Joe Banner or Lombardi or people who they know that still work there who may be disgruntled.
It is also likely that some stuff came from former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who was referred to as the “lone bright spot on offense” and a “talented assistant” within the article.
The decision to draft Johnny Manziel was also panned, with Brian Hoyer being praised. Remember that Hoyer’s biggest advocate within the organization was Lombardi. We have said this before, Brian Hoyer is a decent NFL passer, no better, no worse, and the Browns should still be working to upgrade at that position.
This isn’t to say that the Browns’ organization is a well oiled machine, nor are we saying that Haslam isn’t making decisions that he shouldn’t be making, which would mostly be on personnel.
However, we are saying people need to consider the source of this blistering review of the entire organization.
On the other hand, it has been reported that Mike Pettine wanted to hire John DiFilippo as offensive coordinator last season, but was overruled because Shanahan had more experienced. If the head coach wanted him in the first place, then what is wrong with getting him now?
His hand-picked defensive coordinator, Jim O’Neil, looks like a keeper. So, let’s give Pettine the benefit of the doubt on DiFilippo.
As for the coach’s film review with Haslam and team president Alec Sheiner, perhaps those two simply want to learn what the coaching staff looks at, and asked Pettine if they could watch with him.
We understand that might be a stretch, but it is a plausible scenario.
La Canfora also referred to the Browns having a huge amount of high draft choices and significantly large salary cap space had they traded Josh Gordon and not signed the free agents brought in, and had a front office who loved Teddy Bridgewater and Odell Beckham Jr. Doesn’t anyone see that is a blatant endorsement of the Banner/Lombardi regime?
He pans Haslam for vetoing a possible Gordon deal. That’s probably because Gordon was one of the team’s best players and you can’t keep going down that road. Most of the fans and media alike were against making that deal at the time.
And Bridgewater’s stock took a huge hit after his terrible pro day, and he wound up being taken with the last pick in the first round.
It’s much easier to judge players after the fact.
Look, we aren’t saying the Browns’ front office is stable and doesn’t make puzzling moves. However, would you believe a story about a restaurant from someone who just got fired? You would have to view the tale with a jaundiced eye.
That’s all we are saying here.