As expected, the Browns settled for a coach


So here we are again. For the seventh time in the 15 years since bringing a team back to the city of Cleveland The Cleveland Browns have named a new head coach for the upcoming season.

After firing Rob Chudzinski on December 29, the Browns hired Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to be the new head coach.

So why did the Browns hire another seemingly unknown coach who came out of nowhere? Well, much like they do every year, the team had no real plan outside of the fact that the present coach “wasn’t the answer,” (their words not mine). Once that task was accomplished, to the disdain of many fans and players, I gave the team the benefit of the doubt. I thought, “Oh they must know what they’re doing. They MUST have a high profile name in their sights.” Unfortunately, the Browns, as they always seem to do, betrayed my trust in the worst possible way.

I kept waiting for news about the search, but time seemingly dragged on, and as other teams continued to fill their head coaching vacancies, the Browns’ job remained open. Then, other franchises began filling up their coordinator jobs as well. The Browns head coaching vacancy remained open. I again tried, in my state of pure denial, to remain optimistic. “Oh, they’re just being very selective. They just want to wait until they find the perfect candidate for the team.”

Then, the Pettine hire happened. The entire front office will tell you that they hired him because he was their “perfect candidate,” but that’s a total lie. They hired him because they didn’t want to wait for the Seattle Seahawks’’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to participate in the Super Bowl next weekend. They settled for a no-name guy who hasn’t been relevant since being Rex Ryan’s right-hand man in New York from 2009-12.

Personally, I don’t understand the rationale of hiring a defensive-minded coordinator for the head coach. The defense is not at all where the issue is at. Last season, the Browns were ranked ninth in total defense. Where was the Pettine led Buffalo Bills defense? One spot behind the Brownies at number 10. So, the Browns hired the coordinator of a top-10 total defense. Nothing wrong with that. But what happened to Cleveland’s own defensive coordinator of a better total defense then the team’s next head coach? They let him walk, allowing him to take not a head coaching gig, but the same position with the Tennessee Titans.

The question that then comes with hiring a defensive minded coach at all is why? The struggle of the Browns obviously did not lie with the defensive side of the ball, but with the 18th ranked offense. So why then, bring in a guy whose specialty is in an area that the team excelled in, while the aspect that struggled is left only to one of the few coordinators who are still out on the thinning open market this late in the process?

So it looks like another year of the jumbled mess known as picking a head coach has ended with the Browns being left with an unknown running the team. Will it work? I hope to God that it does, but only time will tell if, like many before, Pettine will just be another name swiftly added to the list of ex-Browns coaches who just couldn’t get the job done.


Eric “Caveman” Johnson’s recent article on the Browns’ Top 5 draft scenarios

cover32 Shield b
Make sure you follow @cover32_CLE and @cover32_NFL on Twitter for all the latest breaking news, columns, blogs and features from the Browns and the entire NFL.


Previous articleTalkative Seahawks thankfully steal focus from Broncos
Next articleOne Bills player that needs to see less time
  • Joe

    Let’s see if I get this right. You don’t like Pettine because he was a DC but you are mad we didn’t wait for Quinn – Seattle’s DC. You also feel the defense wasn’t broke, but the Browns defense collapsed repeatedly after having 4th quarter leads. Yes, the offense didn’t help the defense stay off the field, but the defense couldn’t stop a 3rd down conversion early in the games either. I say give Pettine time to see what he can do. The Browns have talent as evidenced by their six pro-bowlers. All the team needs is some discipline and accountability and a few more pieces.

    • Anonymous

      To answer your question, no it’s not that I favored Quinn over Pettine in any sense, I would’ve far and away preferred a guy with NFL coaching experience such as Hue Jackson. The reason I didn’t like that the Browns didn’t wait to interview Quinn is because the whole process, they front office preached how they were going to wait as long as it took to interview everyone and get their right man, only to pull the trigger without interviewing everyone that was available. I feel like they could’ve hired a guy the same caliber as Pettine much earlier in the process when there were still a multitude of excellent coordinator options still available. You’re also way downplaying how much a miserable offense can hurt a defense, as the D can only hold for so long before they break open, which this season occurred in late situations in a couple of games. Finally, I want to address that, while I’m not a fan of the hire, I still hope that Pettine still succeeds to the highest extent possible. This hiring process just seems like deja vu year after year with the same results.

  • Jeff

    Why do bloggers with no first hand knowledge of anything regarding the Browns or the NFL, get this forum? Why must I find some guys PERCEPTION of fact???

  • Kevin Gillikin

    Why must you read bloggers with no first hand knowledge? We respect your opinion but really don’t care if you don’t respect ours. If you would rather read what the “experts” have to say then head on over to the four letter network and enjoy.

  • Jeff

    I am accustomed to learning about a coach, player, new hire etc as REPORTED by someone who gleaned the information from people who made the decision, were in the room, played the game or have first hand knowledge themselves. I’ll bet Eric Kelly NEVER sat in a meeting room or watched Mike Pettine coach; therefore, he has NO CLUE whether he is Vince Lombardi or a failure. I click hoping to learn facts, not the opinion of someone with absolutely no working knowledge of football.

  • Kevin Gillikin

    Well, Jeff we apologize for not meeting your expectations and we appreciate you taking the time to comment! In reality, everything is either a stat, an opinion or a recap and we do our best to report all three. If we don’t have the star power or the NFL players that some networks have it’s partly because we are in our infancy as a website. ESPN started as a network that broadcasted high school sports…