It’s been an interesting few months for the Cleveland Browns. The madness began back in September when they shockingly sent second-year back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a draft pick. The move was widely panned at the time, but Richardson went on to have a miserable season with the Colts, while the Browns got themselves a nice first-rounder in return. Looks like that was a wise move.
Then, though, they lost the final seven games of the regular season, which resulted in the unexpected firing of head coach Rob Chudzinski after just one year at the helm. So, even though Cleveland was pretty much clearly punting on the 2013 season early, they still canned their coach for apparently not winning enough games. Hmm.
Then, as coaches were fired and others hired around the league throughout January, the Browns were left with candidates pulling their names out of the running for their job left-and-right. They eventually settled on former Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. While Pettine may be a fine coach, it seemed to be a pretty underwhelming hire given all the optimism surrounding the coaching search.
Then on Tuesday, to the surprise of just about everyone, the team’s owner, Jimmy Haslam (who has some other issues of his own), decided to show GM Mike Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner the door. What? It’s February and now is the time for this?
The official word was that Banner “stepped down” while Lombardi “will not remain with the team”, but they were both fired, clearly. Lombardi was replaced by former assistant GM Ray Farmer, while Haslam has indicated that the team won’t hire a new CEO to replace Banner.
I’m not trying to say that Banner and Lombardi were capable of doing their respective jobs at the highest level or anything, but this is still a move that reeks of chaos and dysfunction within the Browns organization. Haslam bought the team in 2012, and he’s already on his third head coach.
So, Banner and Lombardi hired Pettine a few weeks ago, and word has come out that Farmer wasn’t even in on the interviews. So, the Browns now may be saddled with a coach the higher-ups don’t even necessarily want. Great!
How is a franchise supposed to have sustainability, stability and continuity when the front office is constantly changing and people are shuffled in-and-out so quickly and recklessly? Is Haslam so whimsy that he wakes up in the morning and decides to make changes on-the-spot? Is Pettine even going to make it to training camp before he’s canned?
Cleveland holds the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming draft, where they’re most likely looking at taking a quarterback. Word had already leaked out that they were smitten with Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. But…who exactly was smitten with him? Was it Banner and Lombardi? Or is it Haslam? Pettine? Do they like him at all? Are they going to draft a kicker now?
The draft is three months away, so there’s plenty of time to get things in order, but how can Farmer and Pettine do their jobs when the threat of being fired at any moment is continuously looming? There are meddling owners, and then there’s Jimmy Haslam, who is making quite the name for himself already with all of these wildass moves.
Teams can begin negotiating with free agents on March 8. Do the Browns have players on their radar? How can they? The people that had a radar in the first place are now out on the street. They’re far behind every other team as a result, and seem destined to be playing catch-up for the foreseeable future.
Well, at least you have the Cavs, Cleveland!
*checks NBA standings*