Well, the Browns’ bye week is upon us. Our facebook feed has filled up with memes stating that we’re still not favored this week. Browns’ players have skipped town. Management is nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, as all the players are saying temporary goodbyes to each other, this organization should be saying permanent goodbyes to many of its employees.
First of all, I want to know what pictures Ray Farmer has and of what. When his season began on the suspension list, we didn’t even have a competent temporary replacement in the wings. Take, for example, the entire Terrell Pryor ordeal. For some strange reason, we kept him through the entire preseason schedule despite the fact that he made it on the field for only a handful of plays. When our opening day roster came out, he was surprisingly on it (and generated himself a $30k roster bonus). However, he was cut before the team even took the field in the regular season. Unfortunately, he’s not the only WR that has been useless for the Browns. That honor goes to Dwayne Bowe. He’ll receive $9 million this year and he’s accounted for 31 yards. Ouch. While Shelton has been so-so this year, his last 3 first round picks have struggled to get on the field. Most importantly, he welcomed Johnny Manziel and his distractions to the team without accounting for his ego, substance abuse, stature, or personality. Football is a team sport and individuals must mesh together to be a team. Farmer does not understand that and has built a mismatched roster that has no identity because of it. He deserves to be gone for how far back he’s set this franchise.
Meanwhile, on the field, Mike Pettine is doing his best. While many have pointed to the Browns’ lack of competitiveness as a sign that he’s lost the team, I will point out that many of the biggest mistakes each Sunday are because guys are trying TOO HARD to make a play. Leverage calls turn field goals to touchdowns. Big plays are over celebrated and result in mental mistakes. The offense has made great strides despite its personnel, and the defense….Well. Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil needs to be fired. His defensive schemes don’t work. But what has Pettine done to make the situation better? He needed to step in. He needs to step in. If Pettine doesn’t, he deserves to be gone. He’s the head coach, and it’s been obvious from the onset that O’Neil shouldn’t be on his staff. But, while Pettine is (from a distance) popular with his players, his biggest transgression may be that he didn’t prepare his team for the season. His training camp was reportedly soft. His players are ill prepared for games. Instead of pushing them to achieve greatness and to “Play Like a Brown”, he’s letting them rest on their laurels. That is unforgivable in this sport. The best are always getting better.
Roster wise, we all see the fat that needs to be trimmed. Bowe should be gone. Robert Turbin and Terrence West already are. While Justin Gilbert is at least getting his name called out on special teams, his status as a top 10 pick makes me cringe. Honestly, though, the Browns roster is the roster. Good and bad, it is what it is. Farmer assembled a mismatched roster and Pettine has been average at best.
It’s easy to point fingers as to what is going wrong this year but the problem is that nobody is stepping forward to correct it. Jimmy Haslam is mute. Farmer has only shown up to the press once since his return and it was a sweaty disaster. Pettine is lost. We need leaders and we need leaders now. Joe Thomas has always been a quiet leader and that’s not working anymore. Josh McCoy has worked his butt off to be competent…but we have to look towards the future. I would love to stick his leadership in Manziel’s body. We’d have Drew Brees. I’m not kidding.
If the team can not right this ship, I’m sorry to say that the fans will be saying goodbye soon. All we accomplished this bye week was to install Manziel as starter (over a hobbled McCoy). Everything else has been wasted. Nobody’s here but us fans.