Even though the Cleveland Browns last three games could have went either way, all three went to overtime, it seems the media seems hell-bent to continue with the dysfunctional scenario.
At the beginning of the season, no one would have figured the games against San Diego on the road, and Denver, with future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning would be winnable contests, but they very much were, and the brown and orange lost on the last play of the game.
Coach Mike Pettine seems to be frustrated by the losses in two of the games, and he is showing that in his dealings with the media.
He is getting testy about the performance of the defense, his supposed field of expertise, as that unit has been the reason the Browns are 2-4 to date instead of having that record reversed.
Our guess is that Pettine and probably GM Ray Farmer are both concerned with job security, based on the past during Jimmy Haslam’s ownership.
The owner has already started at the start of training camp that he has no plans to make changes to either position, but that was when optimism was high, as it always is, so Haslam’s words can be discounted a bit.
Pettine and Farmer privately have to wonder, despite the reassurance, what would happen if the Browns finished up at 2-14 or 3-13, records the pessimistic fans and media alike predicted.
That has to wear on both men.
This is where Haslam has to take the leadership reins. He needs to tell both the coach and GM that they will be back next year to allow them to make some decisions with next season in mind.
Pettine seems to favor veterans, and that isn’t a trait coaches of losing teams should have. However, does that have to do with the insecurity he may feel in his position, which converts into a need to win now?
On the other hand, his best chance to win may be to play the younger guys.
Out of the over 30 that have been brought in over the past two years, really only Karlos Dansby and Tramon Williams have performed to standards.
It is time to see what Justin Gilbert can do. Against San Diego, Pettine and defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil went with special teams standout Johnson Bademosi at corner instead of Gilbert. Why? Probably because the coach didn’t want to lose the game because of a mistake made by the rookie.
On the other hand, Barkevious Mingo should be on the field more, because he is showing that he is an athletic freak. He broke up a pass a week ago, and soared to pick off Peyton Manning on Sunday.
The coaching staff should be encouraged to find a spot on the field for him. Maybe the reason he is being classified as a “bust” is because he’s not getting an opportunity.
Danny Shelton’s playing time was cut, Nate Orchard gets more time. There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason as to which younger players get time or not.
If the Cleveland Browns want to develop a winning system, it starts with playing younger guys together so they can develop chemistry, a unit so to speak.
To do that, the coaching staff needs to know it is in for the long haul.
That’s up to Mr. Haslam.