The Cleveland Browns
made a splash meh’d everyone to death Thursday when they finally named their new head coach Thursday. Much to the excitement dismay of the residents of Northern Ohio, the Browns named Bob Stoops Jim Tressel Adam Gase Greg Schiano former Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine their newest head man.
Pettine has been coaching at the NFL level since 2002, when he broke in as an assistant with the Baltimore Ravens. He was there until 2009, when he moved on to become the defensive coordinator of the New York Jets until 2012. He did that job for the Buffalo Bills last season, where he coached them to become the 10th-best defense in the league in terms of total defense.
Following a surprisingly solid start, the Browns crumbled down-the-stretch last season, and finished the year on a seven-game losing streak. Rob Chudzinski was the fall guy for Cleveland’s failures, despite being in his first year on the job.
Rumors swirled for weeks regarding who the Browns would choose to succeed Chud as the head coach, but they landed on Pettine when several other candidates removed their names from consideration.
Nothing against Pettine at all, as I’m sure he’s a fine football coach, but this is prettay, prettay embarrassing. Cleveland fired Chud and seemed intent on trying to make a splash with their next hire. Yet as weeks went by, names came and went, other teams hired coaches, and the Browns were just milling about without anyone in charge of the thing.
The weird thing is that nobody seemed to want the job. Sure, the Browns are notorious for being awful, but this is still an NFL head coaching job, of which there are only 32. It’s a pretty exclusive gig. Plus, the Browns have plenty going for them and actually seem to be headed in the right direction, player-wise.
They have a stout, young defense led by rising stars like Joe Haden, T.J. Ward and Barkevious Mingo, among others. Offensively, they’ve built a solid offensive line, and Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon each emerged in 2013 as legitimate play-makers at their positions. Cleveland is lacking a quarterback and a reliable running back, but they do hold the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming draft, which is said to be QB-heavy. It stands to reason they could land a promising passer like Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles with that choice.
Sure, there are still plenty of holes to fill, and the franchise may be cursed, but there are several teams with far worse circumstances than the present-day Cleveland Browns.
Is Mike Pettine the guy to finally completely turn the franchise around? We shall see, but here’s hoping the guys in charge actually give him adequate time to do his thing.