Yesterday, Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslam took some members of the media to task for some of the reports regarding the “dysfunction” of the team.
We believe that the sports journalists, both print and broadcast, criticize GM Ray Farmer because the Browns aren’t being built the conventional way.
That way would be to find a “franchise” quarterback and then construct the rest of the team around said QB. Because the Browns do not have that guy, and they weren’t willing to overdraft in last April’s draft, it means Cleveland once again doesn’t have a clue, at least in terms of the Cleveland sports media.
By the way, doesn’t it say something that Farmer didn’t repeat the mistake, if he indeed made one, of picking another quarterback in the first round after the struggles of Johnny Manziel in his rookie season?
Farmer has said this publicly and apparently the people reporting on the Browns do not listen. He said the reality of the situation is that very few NFL teams has an elite passer, so those teams have to figure out another way to win.
The Browns’ front office recognizes this, and one of the things you always hear about the Indians situation when they complain about their small market status, is that other teams in the same situation figure out how to win, so why can’t the Tribe?
Haslam, Farmer, and head coach Mike Pettine have decided to try a different way to win, and that is building through a strong defense and a solid running game. It may not be the sexy way to compile victories, but they know that Josh McCown and/or Manziel aren’t top-notch quarterbacks, but they don’t use it as an excuse for not winning.
Pettine says it all the time, it’s a pass/fail league. And they don’t use not having an Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger as a reason to just punt the season.
Instead, they have decided to build the rest of their football team, and make each game about playing in the teens or low twenties, and putting up just enough points to claim a win.
And early last season, it worked. They dominated the Steelers at home, and the Bengals in Cincinnati. They lost to Pittsburgh on the road and the Ravens at home on last second field goals.
Yes, yes, we know those were losses, but losing on the last play is a bit different that leading going into the fourth quarter and getting hammered then.
Part of the problem the media has with Farmer is his attitude toward them. He’s not warm and fuzzy, and comes off at times like he’s smarter than the people who cover the team, which he is. If he wasn’t, their situations would be reversed.
The Indians front office acts like that all the time, yet no one challenges them, and if fact, because they are nice people, they seem to escape the criticism for their poor results.
If Farmer and Pettine turn this thing around, guess what. They will be even more detached from the media because they will have been correct.
Haslam set himself up yesterday by saying he like the direction of the team and there aren’t plans to make changes if the Browns have a bad season last year. However, at this point, he should be taken at his word, even though his track record says otherwise.
The reality is no matter what kind of schedule the Browns played a year ago, they did get better by three wins. The five straight losses is what makes everyone so down on the team.
Just think what the perception of the team would be is the season had been reversed, and the Browns lost their first five, and then rallied to a 7-9 season.
We both know that Farmer and Pettine would be hailed for putting the team in the right direction.
This is a key season because the slate is tougher in 2015. But give the Browns credit for not saying woe is us, we don’t have Tom Brady, so we are just going to finish 3-13. They have a plan, it’s just now one the media agrees with.