Once again, the Cleveland Browns are consigned to “rebuilding mode” before the blueprints were even finished for the previous rebuild, and the one before that, and the one before that, and the one bef… who knows, we’ve all lost count by now.
The Browns announced the firings of head coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer Sunday night after their Week 17 home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, not even waiting for Black Monday to make it official:
It was important to us that we communicate directly with you regarding our decision to part ways with General Manager Ray Farmer and Head Coach Mike Pettine. We greatly appreciate Ray’s and Mike’s dedication and hard work while with the Cleveland Browns. We’ve made this difficult decision because we don’t believe our football team and football operations were positioned well for the future.
You can say that again.
Pettine’s tenure in Cleveland actually started on a high note (relatively speaking) with a 7-9 campaign last season before crashing back to reality with a 3-13 record in 2015. His .313 winning percentage equaled that of Eric Mangini and bested both Pat Shurmur and Rob Chudzinski, so at least he can take home some bragging rights there. Somehow, Romeo Crennel’s 24-40 record is still the high-water mark for a Browns coach the last decade. No Browns coach since Crennel has lasted more than two seasons.
At least we’ll remember the Farmer-Pettine regime for losing with some intrigue, given the Johnny Manziel melodrama and the texting suspension. This statistic should help to put it all in perspective.
The Browns are about to have 4 head coaches in the same time frame that Ohio State had 4 losses.
— Cameron Duffner (@camduffner) January 3, 2016
Speaking of Manziel, his time in Cleveland appears to mercifully be drawing to an end. He reportedly wants to move on to Dallas (good luck with that) and also missed a mandatory check-in with the team this morning. There are even more rumors out there about his troubled personal life on top of that and we may not even be able to locate him at this point.
Johnny Manziel's agents are withholding comment about his whereabouts since leaving Browns facility on Saturday.
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 4, 2016
If Manziel’s time in Cleveland is done, so the Justin Gilbert era should draw to a close as well. The fellow former first round pick, a certified bust at cornerback, reportedly refused to play in today’s finale.
Browns team source tells me Justin Gilbert told coaches he wouldn't go into game today. #browns
— Lauren Brill (@LaurenBrill5) January 3, 2016
So what’s owner Jimmy Haslam’s plan to turn around this sinking ship? He’s already announced plans to hand over the keys to the franchise to Sashi Brown as new VP of Football Operations and will take the unorthodox step of hiring a new coach before his general manager. While Brown has worked with the salary cap and is apparently high on analytics, his experience in putting together a roster, is… limited. Haslam repeatedly said at a press conference that Brown will be in charge of the 53 man roster, which makes a lot of sense considering his vast experience as owner of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Club.
The Browns have already put themselves at a massive disadvantage in searching for a new coach and GM by already committing to this unusual restructuring. Who in their right mind would sign up for ANY job with the Browns?
Well, at least they have one person who will accept the job…
— Denis Leary (@denisleary) January 4, 2016
You laugh, but I’d give the Browns a 12% chance of hiring Leary and Costner for their vacancies because Jimmy Haslam saw Draft Day in theaters and thought it was real.