The Cleveland Browns’ 28-12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was the least news making event of the day for the beleaguered franchise.
The rumors started over the weekend that GM Ray Farmer and coach Mike Pettine would both lose their jobs following today’s game, regardless of the result.
It turns out that Farmer was informed he was out prior to the game, while Pettine wasn’t officially told until his club finished the season with a 3-13 record and 18 losses in the last 21 games.
Farmer’s mistakes were well documented by the media, but as we have said many times, we believe there is some talent on the roster. The former GM’s weakness was not getting a playmaker on offense outside of RB Duke Johnson.
Pettine’s issue was stubbornness, an unwillingness to not change schemes and personnel that were obviously not working. The run defense has been poor since the day he was hired, and several stories have come out, including one quoting former Bills and Colts’ GM Bill Polian said the Browns’ defensive concepts were too complicated.
And while offensive coordinator John DiFilippo and quarterback coach Kevin O’Connell were given credit over the course of the season, they too seemed to abandon the run too often, including today where they threw twice as much as they ran even though they were getting close to four yards a pop on the ground.
The Johnny Manziel issue reared its ugly head last night when it was reported he was in Las Vegas, and then didn’t show at Berea this morning for a mandated examination as part of the concussion protocol.
We have supported giving Manziel a full shot at the starting quarterback spot going into next year, but no more. The young man obviously doesn’t take being a starting quarterback in the NFL seriously and we would dissolve ties with him as soon as possible.
His cloud can no longer linger over this franchise.
However, it is very concerning how the new hierarchy in Berea will play out.
Owner Jimmy Haslam once again has decided against putting a football man in charge and letting that man make the football decisions.
Haslam instead announced Sashi Brown, a lawyer and salary negotiator for the Browns as the vice president of football operations.
Brown will play a part in hiring the coach, along with the owner, his wife Dee, and a high powered recruiter who has helped NFL teams in the past.
Then Brown and the new coach will hire the general manager.
If that sounds different, it’s because it is.
As for a new coach, we will reiterate that the Browns do not need another first time head coach.
They need someone who will instill discipline and accountability throughout the entire organization and the forty man roster.
They must rid themselves of the excuse makers that permeate the roster. They need to find players who aren’t tolerant of losing, even if some of those players are headed Pro Bowl players.
The thing that disturbs us is that the Browns are in the football business, yet Haslam seems to be giving more power to lawyers and accountants, who are studying game films to learn about the game.
Why not hire people who already know about the sport? Wouldn’t they know what is needed to move this franchise in the right direction?
Haslam made the correct move in ejecting Pettine and Farmer from positions they weren’t capable of handling.
However, we don’t like the first step in solving the problem. If Haslam owned a law firm, or an investment group, Sashi Brown might be a great choice.
He owns a football team though, so we will keep a jaundiced eye on who they will hire to guide this team back into the winning column.