I am a Cleveland Browns fan. I want nothing more than for them to succeed. I want them to perform well and win during the season. I also want them to make smart and effective moves during the offseason in order to facilitate success on the field. The past 20-25 years have disappointed me with the on-field product…and the poor performance is always preceded with fruitless off-seasons. The incompetence of the organization never ceases to amaze me.
A couple weeks ago, I predicted that when the Browns had finally hired a coach and announced his name, the city of Cleveland would collectively cry “Who?” I wanted so badly to be proven wrong. I hoped beyond hope that they would find a proven, veteran, no-nonsense coach that would help give the team an identity and give us all hope for 2014.
But what we got was all too predictable. The Browns hired Mike Pettine. Who? Well, he was the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills in 2013. The Bills team whose defense was #10 in the NFL in yards given up per game. But look a little closer, and you’ll see that they were #20 in the NFL in points allowed per game (a much more important statistic). Are you kidding me? There are only 32 head coaching jobs in the entire world, and one of them is going to a middle-of-the-road (at best) defensive coordinator? Cleveland, that is pathetic.
The organization has attempted to convince us that Pettine is the guy they wanted all along. Owner Jimmy Haslem went so far as to say that “Mike is the epitome of what we want the Browns to be.” Are you kidding me? They want the Browns to be half as good as the 2013 Buffalo Bills? How high up on the Browns’ candidate list was Pettine anyway? I’d be surprised if he were even in the top-10. They only hired him after Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase made it clear that he was not interested in coming to Cleveland…along with several other of the Browns’ top candidates. But can you blame any who declined? What coach in his right mind would even think about coming to Cleveland? The Browns fired first-year head coach Rob Chudzinski after this talent-thin team stunk like they were expected to.
Who really thinks that Pettine is a better head coach than Chudzinski? NOBODY. The Cleveland organization is trying their best to make us (and themselves) believe that this coaching change is a step forward. It is not. Chudzinski was certainly nothing special, but neither is Pettine. He is a mediocre defensive coordinator on a team that already has one, and he will bring nothing of value. The really sad thing is that the Browns had no choice in the matter – Pettine was named head coach solely because he was willing to work for Haslem. The Browns’ front office, through its own faults and failures, has rendered itself unable to attract top-tier talent.
The brand of being a horrible organization can be reversed, but not easily. Until steps are taken to become a more responsible and committed franchise, the Browns will forever be stuck in the rut of irrelevancy. We’ll continue hiring and firing sub-par coaches because we will be unable to attract a quality NFL head coaching candidate.
Everything that is wrong with the Browns is illustrated in the Pettine hire: not only incompetence, but helplessness.
Kevin Gillikin posted some of the dumb tweets of the week. It’s mostly bad in Cleveland.