The big shake up in Berea is now two days old, and quite frankly, we are still shaking our heads.
There is no question at all that Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer needed to go. The rumors of discord between the two appear to be true, and owner Jimmy Haslam felt he needed his coach and GM to be on the same page.
However, we are still stunned at the direction that Haslam chose on Sunday.
When your franchise has floated in the abyss for 16 years, and 10 loss seasons becoming the norm, the smart and prudent thing would seem to be hiring a football guy, someone who has been involved in rebuilding projects.
Instead, Haslam chose a lawyer. Sashi Brown may be a brilliant man and has been around football for awhile, but that doesn’t make him the ideal choice to get resurrect the Cleveland Browns.
As we have said, the house staff for rich and famous people are around money all the time, but it doesn’t make them rich.
We have seen people out there, contrarians, saying there are several ways to accomplish building a winning football organization, and there is no question that is true.
But it would seem to be prudent that if you are trying to change the culture here and develop a winning team, you should hire someone who is a football man and has a history of evaluating talent.
The way it appears now is that Haslam is trying to be Jerry Jones, with the ultimate control over the franchise. He seems to want the head coach of the team reporting to him, not a general manager or a head of football operations.
Since Jimmy Johnson left Dallas after a disagreement with Jones, how many Super Bowls have the Cowboys won? Just one, a couple of years after Johnson left, with the talent that he accumulated.
It appears that the owner doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and that is a major problem.
Again, no one is saying that it won’t work for sure. Heck, winning the lottery is a way to get rich. It just isn’t a high percentage way to do so.
And that is how we feel about the Cleveland Browns’ “plan”.
They hired Paul DePodesta, a former major league baseball executive as a vice president today.
This smacks of trying to show everyone how smart they are. They have a new, exciting way of building a football team. Maybe it will work, maybe it will fail miserably.
The reality is that Haslam is conducting a scientific experiment with our football team. It’s a risk that may payoff with a string of playoff appearances, or it could blow up in their face and extend our current misery by several years.
If the ownership had tried getting a solid, successful, football man in place and it failed, we could understand trying a different approach. But they never did that.
We will keep our fingers crossed, but right now, we don’t see how this power structure works.
The tried and true method is usually just that for a reason. We wish Jimmy Haslam had done that at least once.