Jimmy Haslam’s Browns continue to be the punching bag of the NFL. If you think any different, then you haven’t been watching. Nothing in Cleveland has changed, and the center of all of these issues is the embattled owner. Haslam is destroying (has destroyed?) the Browns franchise bit by bit. Until Jimmy commits to an organizational direction, the Browns will NEVER move forward. You can collect all the talent in the world and draft strong and do everything right, but you better not have even the smallest setback, or here comes the new guy to fix it.
Want an interesting and disturbing fact Browns fans? Jimmy Haslams longest-tenured coach or general manager is Hue Jackson at two and a half seasons. All Jackson did was go 3-36-1 in his tenure. So explain to me how a General Manager that brought in more talent than anyone in the last 20 years got two seasons? The simple answer, Jimmy Haslam. If Haslam owned the Colts, would that regime have a third season? What about Pete Caroll in Seattle? Think Jimmy would have kept him? Or Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch in San Francisco. I think you all get the point. That third year is where you find out what you have in a regime. No GM/HC combo has had a third season under the Haslam ownership. Two coaches never saw a second season. This is not how you build an NFL franchise. And here we are again.
Browns Hire Kitchens
The week started with the Browns not waiting for Black Monday to end Freddie Kitchens one year stint as Head coach. While most were not against this move it still adds to the dysfunctional nature of this franchise. Haslam hired an “NFL guy” in John Dorsey and gave him control to do everything. Well, almost everything. Hue Jackson had to stay. Haslam’s desperation for so-called continuity was to hire a new lead man and keep the coach. We all know how that worked. Fast-forward past all the Freddie Kitchens did great stuff and to the hire of the fast-rising former running backs coach.
The coaching search was 100% John Dorsey as Jimmy Haslem stayed out of the process per a multitude of reports. Well, as much as an owner can anyway. The Haslams didn’t even show up at the press conference after the Kitchens hiring was official. At the time, this was viewed as a sign of growth from ownership. They were finally letting the football people make the decisions, and, per Browns’ fans, John Dorsey had just had the best draft in the last 20 years. Obviously, Kitchens will be great. Then came the Odell Beckham Jr. trade and all the hype surrounding that. The Browns were Superbowl bound with this much talent all over the roster. Dorsey had promised to awake the sleeping giant, and it looked like he was well on his way. John Dorsey and the Browns front office had won the offseason. Something that always equals success, right?
The Disappointment of 2019
After the euphoria of the offseason came to an end and OTAs and training camp started, so started the drama that would carry through the season. It began with 18 penalties and an implosion in the fourth quarter in the season opener and ended with a lazy, no effort loss to the Bengals. The Superbowl bound Browns finished the season with a disappointing 6-10 record and more drama than a daytime soap. This team never showed any consistency or discipline combined with very little, if any, progress as a unit.
The star-filled offense struggled to score 20 points per game and the defense regressed badly as the year went on. The record and overall team came nowhere close to living up to the ridiculously high expectations set by, well, nearly everyone. But does that mean the season was a full blow failure? Was Kitchens really so bad that one season was enough to determine he wasn’t good enough? Because of Jimmy Haslam all these questions, right or wrong, will ONCE AGAIN not be answered. While the Kitchens firing was a near expectation what followed was where Jimmy Haslam excels, organizational confusion.
The Browns already fired the coach, so Black Monday was filled with the typical interview requests and rumors regarding what potential coaches want. Then Tuesday came with the Adam Schefter tweet that brought Cleveland media to a fever pitch. The Browns and John Dorsey are “leaning towards” parting ways but that it was still fluid. Really Jimmy?! The guy who brought in young talent like Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, Mack Wilson, Greedy Williams, Nick Chubb, OBJ, Jarvis Landry, and so on is potentially walking? What in the heck is going on in Berea?
The overwhelming initial sentiment in Cleveland was how in the world could you even think about messing with John Dorsey. The man who brought more talent to the Browns in two years than any other GM in the last 20 years combined is now wheeling and dealing for a job. The Coach receives a year, and the GM that did all of the above is reportedly offered a demotion to Player Personnel Director with none of the power previously held. What would you tell Jimmy Haslam?
It was an insulting offer, and the outcome was as expected as Dorsey is now no longer with the Browns. While all this is happening internally, reports indicate that candidates had no idea who was running the coaching search initially. So you fire the coach and try to demote the general manager while requesting interviews from potential coaches, just another day for the Haslam way of doing things. Maybe Browns’ fans should question anyone willing to work for Haslam at this point. The only reason to work in Cleveland is years of pay after they fire you. And to think seven years ago, people were excited that Randy Lerner sold the team.
Where will the Browns Go from Here
The interviews are lining up with ironically Mike McCarthy being the first to interview. The Green Bay castoff did not receive an interview a year ago with a front office full of former Green Bay executives. What will Haslam sell the veteran coach? Stability? Do I need to answer? Talent? They have that. Power? I come back to Haslam and the two-year window. Does anyone really have power? Money? If that is the sole motivation, then you get what you pay for.
At this point, the only selling point to coaches is it’s an NFL general manager and head coaching job. So Mike Pettine again? This is your reality Cleveland no coach or general manager will ever succeed in Cleveland while Jimmy Haslam is in charge. So you tell me Browns fans is Jimmy destroying the Browns? Or has he already done so?
P.S. Urban Meyer is not saving the Cleveland Browns Buckeye fans.
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