Browns overcome by inertia
Take a few days off to tend to some personal business and what do the Browns do?
Absolutely nothing except maybe twiddle thumbs between throwing other names out there as coaching possibilities.
Only the Browns can be the first team to fire a head coach and the last team to hire his successor. It just adds to the embarrassment of being arguably the most dysfunctional team in the National Football League. It's an argument fighting a losing battle.
The foot dragging of the somewhat bewildered front office no doubt caused the club’s public relations arm to swing into action. How else can owner Jimmy Haslam III’s recent letter to season ticketholders be explained?
“We have purposefully been very methodical in our approach,” Haslam wrote in small part trying to calm anxious fans and explain that foot dragging. In other words, we can't make up our minds.
The Browns sure weren’t “purposefully very methodical” when it came to pulling the plug on Rob Chudzinski after just one season. Purposefully knee jerk is more like it.
As it stands right now, the Browns once again will wind up with sloppy seconds or even thirds for their next coach. For whatever reason, this franchise gets in its own way with something as simple as choosing a new head coach.
It seems as though every move the Browns make in that regard is the wrong move. All you have to do is look at their 15-year record since the resurrection to substantiate that claim. Again, Murphy’s Law seems to have taken up permanent residence in Berea.
What has gone on since Chudzinski was told his services were no longer needed resembles a merry-go-round of coaching names. (Cue the circus music.) From Josh McDaniels and Adam Gase – both of whom reportedly do not want the job – to Mike Pettine, Dan Quinn and Rich Bisaccia, the current names du jour, the joke continues.
Do not pay attention to the second interviews Pettine and Quinn are likely to get as this whole fiasco drags out until next month. Both men are defensive coaches and the Browns seek someone whose priorities lie on the other side of the football.
Unless Haslam and Joe Banner slam the brakes on that philosophical approach, interviewing Pettine and Quinn will be nothing more than a charade as we await something more dramatic involving an offensive coach.
Bisaccia, on the other hand, is a special teams coach with Dallas. Unless Haslam hopes to hit head-coaching gold as Baltimore did with former special teams coach John Harbaugh, forget Bisaccia.
And unless he changes his mind, Gase will not interview until the Super Bowl is concluded. His agent reportedly is advising the young Denver offensive coordinator to wait another year before entering the head coaching ranks.
Next season, the coaches of six NFL teams – the two New York teams, Dallas, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Oakland – could be coaching for their jobs. And all but one of those franchises are more attractive than Cleveland. Only the Jacksonville job could be considered worse.
Thus it wouldn’t be surprising to see Gase wait patiently and take over a team with much more potential and a whole lot less dysfunction than exists with the Browns.
But if Haslam wants Gase badly enough, he just might make it much more worthwhile to cast his lot with the Browns. In other words, make him an insane monetary offer he’d be crazy to turn down.
And if that doesn’t work, give him what the club wouldn’t give Chudzinski: total control of the roster. Disarm Banner and Mike Lombardi. Based on what he has accomplished in his brief time with the Browns, the reputation Banner built all those years in Philadelphia has been shot.
If Haslam is determined to be more hands-on because of what happened this past season, he might as well make bold moves. He’s got nothing to lose. If Gase is his man and he refuses to take no for an answer, then the owner has to overpay for a coach with only one season’s experience as a coordinator.
But if Gase listens to his agent and remains steadfast in his refusal to become a head-coaching candidate until the 2015 season, Haslam has to face a harsh reality. He spent a billion dollars to purchase a franchise that is nothing but trouble; a franchise whose unattractiveness scares off legitimate coaching candidates.
McDaniels, with his strong northeast Ohio connections, would have been a natural fit. Only he didn’t want to come back home, not with the current front office running the show. So he pulled his name from consideration even before a job was offered.
And now we are reduced to Gase and all the other guys. The Browns just might have to settle again for the first person who says yes.