Friday, January 29, 2016

Harvard Browns?

Got to hand it to the Browns as they continue their effort to have the smartest front office in the entire National Football League.

First, there was Sashi Brown, the Harvard-educated lawyer now resting at the top of the organizational chart right below owner Jimmy Haslam III. Then along came chief strategic officer Paul DePodesta, another Harvard graduate.

And now we have Andrew Berry, who arrives in Cleveland from Indianapolis as the new vice president/player personnel, a fancy title that actually means he’s as close to being the team’s general manager without actually being the team’s general manager. And yes, another Harvard grad.

76 Lou Groza Blvd. in Berea has slowly turned into the Harvard University of the Midwest at the front-office level.

Upon his arrival, Berry quickly picked up a nice endorsement from former Colts President Bill Polian, one of the most respected front-office executives in the last generation and a half.

"Andrew Berry is one of the brightest young men we ever had the pleasure of with,” Polian wrote in a statement released by the Browns. “. . . I am not surprised the Browns hired him for this very important position. I assure you he has both the capacity and the will to do an outstanding job. The Browns have made, in my humble opinion, a great hire.”

That should satisfy the sycophants. Blind faith can do that. Now all Berry has to do is back up those words.

There seems to be a fine line between the three Harvard graduates from a flow chart standpoint. Ultimately, it appears as though Brown is in the kitchen and closest to the frying pan since he is Berry’s boss.

He still has final call on the Browns’ 53-man roster, but most likely will bow more often than not to Berry’s much greater knowledge of personnel. After all, that’s why he was hired.

Berry, an NFL baby at just 28 years old, ran the Colts’ pro scouting department the last four years – he was with them for seven seasons in various capacities – and will basically work with Brown and head coach Hue Jackson to form the roster.

All well and good. So who receives the praise/blame for wise/stupid personnel decisions? Brown, Jackson or Berry? Certainly not DePodesta, who has more important things about which to worry.

In naming his new personnel chief, Brown uttered all the right words. “Andrew understands what it takes to build a winning team and the individual traits that are essential in looking at each player that make up a team,” he said.

“(His) strategic and relentless approach to improving his craft and this team will positively impact our short- and long-term opportunities.”

But when you stop and think about those words, don’t they apply to just about every new hire for an important position on an NFL team? Words of praise are a stock companion. What lies ahead for Brown and Berry, however, is a path strewn with all kinds of debris.

There will be plenty of arguing and gnashing of teeth between the relatively inexperienced Brown and Berry and a coaching staff dominated by veteran coaches who,, in some cases, have been around nearly as long as those two have been on this mortal coil.

Simply put, new school vs. old school. A lot of fires will erupt with the veteran coaches rolling their eyes a lot wondering just what the hell they’ve gotten into.

It will be interesting to watch how often Brown and Berry yield to the greater knowledge of the veteran coaches with regard to the player personnel and that includes Jackson.

Who will carry the most clout? Berry, a relatively wet-behind-the-ears young man given his first shot at putting together a team, or a coaching staff that has been down these roads many more times.

Brown presumably will be the man to douse any fires that erupt between the two factions. He’ll be busy.

Now if all those brains translate into victories on the football field, well done Mr. Haslam. If not, it will be back to the drawing board again and this time, football experience will be the main focus rather than potential.

The Browns have tried everything in the last 17 seasons to craft a winning team. Experience with such luminaries as Mike Holmgren Tom Heckert, Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi failed miserably.

So why not trying something different? And that’s exactly what Haslam has done. Right now, the young bucks are in charge. With two of the first 32 selections in April’s college draft, they had better get it right.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Putting an amateur in charge is wrong move

So far, so good with Hue Jackson’s molding of his coaching staff.

Next up, selecting a player personnel chief (technically vice president of personnel), an exercise hampered by the dictum that newly minted executive vice president/football operations Sashi Brown is solely in charge of the 53-man roster.

Whoever nails the personnel job is certain to be someone who is either young and upcoming with designs on some day being a general manager or a veteran personnel man who is either recently unemployed or looking to move sideways.

Therein lies a big problem. No, make that a huge problem.

The Browns will operate this season without a general manager. As a rule, GMs around the National Football League have sole control of the 53-man roster and are in charge of the college football draft.

That role now will be filled by Brown, the team’s general counsel and salary cap specialist before being bumped higher in the ivory tower. Hardly qualifications for such an important job.

Someone who does not have a football background should not handle the look of the roster, which will be liquid throughout the season. That’s courting disaster. Brown, at least according to his job description, has the final say in all personnel decisions.

“This is my 12th season coming up,” he said. “I’ve been involved in a lot of decisions in terms of how you build a roster. We think that’s as strategic as it is important to have the evaluations of players. That’s the strength I bring in terms of strategy of it.”

Basically, Brown will perform the duties of a general manager when it comes to shaping the roster, relying on the opinions of coaches, player personnel people and his own observations.

“That really is my role to bring all the information together and make the best strategic decision each and every time,” Brown said. “That’s going to mean . . . only in part . . . using analytics but largely based on talent evaluation.”

So what experience in evaluating that talent does he bring to his new job? None really except maybe gleaning a tidbit or two from conversations with those far more knowledgeable in what to look for in evaluating players.

He believes studying more film will help, as well as leaning on the opinions of the coaching and scouting staffs. All well and good except for one very important problem.

Let’s say, for example, the coaching staff bends one way on a certain player or players and the scouting crew bends another. Who breaks the tie?

Frankly, I’d much rather have someone who has been in a position previously to make such important decisions than someone who is a comparative rookie, someone whose knowledge of the game barely scratches the surface.

It’s understandable that owner Jimmy Haslam III appreciated the work of Brown over the years and wanted to reward him. But to put him in charge of the most important aspect of the team is inviting a mountain of trouble.

Disagreements within the organization will start almost immediately when free-agent season begins, continue into the spring with the college draft and morph into minicamps, training camp and well beyond.

In those rare moments when all sides agree, Brown can kick back and enjoy the fruits of his job. But when philosophical fights break out between stubborn football people, and you can be certain they will, who breaks the tie?

Not Haslam. He’s already had his mulligan with the massive mistake on Johnny Manziel. No, breaking that tie will be Brown, an attorney who probably feels more comfortable in a courtroom than he does making important personnel decisions for a professional football team.

The losers of those squabbles will harbor anger, closeted and otherwise. You can bet most of the blame will be placed on someone who has never been in a position to overrule those who have been in the game much longer and have a greater understanding of what it takes to build a strong roster.

Brown counters that notion. “The one thing people will say about me is I do work across departments well and I’ll be able to keep them aligned strategically and get a consensus and the best possible decisions,” he said.

Good luck, Sashi. You have no idea of the problems that lie ahead.

Friday, January 22, 2016

It’s all about winning a championship

The Cavaliers didn’t fire coach David Blatt Friday. Blatt fired himself.

As absurd as it was to cashier the head coach of the team that owns the best record in the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference, it made sense.

The reason was buried deep in General Manager David Griffin’s explanations to the media as to why he pulled the plug on the second-year coach and elevated associate head coach Tyronn Lue to the top spot.

We’re not here to build a winning culture, he said in effect. We’re here to win a championship.

And the way this season has gone, it sure looks as though the Cavs are good enough to repeat as Eastern Conference champions, but not good enough to bring Cleveland its first major sports title since 1964.

Griffin called it a disconnect in the locker room. On the court, body language suggested LeBron James no longer enjoyed playing for Blatt. He seemed to confide much more in Lue than Blatt.

Now whether James was directly responsible for Blatt’s departure is a matter of conjecture. Griffin boldly denied it, claiming this decision was his and his alone.

Hired as an outsider because of his sterling coaching reputation in Europe, the whole team dynamic changed for Blatt when James opted to return to the Cavaliers and Kevin Love was obtained in a trade.

Here was this NBA rookie coach who had never played in the league, let alone coached in it, barking orders at some of the best players in the game. It stood to reason that Griffin, who recruited Blatt, was going to give him as much rope as possible to hang himself and hope he would turn out to be the correct choice.

It looked pretty good in season one when the Cavaliers made the finals and might have won the championship were it not for major injuries to Love and Kyrie Irving. No reason to make a coaching move at the time. That truly would have been a shock.

But as the 2015-16 season unfolded, the club did not seem to improve. Yes, the record is 30-11, but the team struggled along the way, winning several close games. Losing games to Western Conference powers like San Antonio and Golden State didn’t help.

Last Monday’s 132-98 blowout at home against the Golden State was more than embarrassing. It was a statement by the Warriors that even with the Cavs at full strength, just know last season’s championship was not a fluke.

Yes, the blowout was only one game. And yes, the Cavaliers were much more competitive in a 89-83 loss to the Warriors on Christmas Day. But Griffin said he could see this coming.

He said he was not satisfied with the team’s identity. There seemed to be a lack of “a collective spirit, a strength of spirit and a collective will” in the locker room and he assigned blame to Blatt.

Griffin wants a championship for this team. He wants a championship for Cleveland. And he realized after a season and a half with Blatt, it was not going to happen under his stewardship. Something had to be done, albeit dramatic.

Lue, the obvious choice, is much more NBA savvy than Blatt. Having played in the Association for 11 seasons and forged a strong résumé to eventually become a head coach, he knows the ins and outs of the league and definitely has the players’ respect.

Body language among the players again suggests Blatt never really gained that respect. That’s something Lue should now receive in abundance given his NBA gravitas.

It will be interesting to see how much differently the Cavaliers play in the second half of the season with a somewhat tougher schedule. The pressure now lies with the players.

Lue probably will make subtle changes as he embraces his new title. And he’ll have to deal with the pressure to justify Griffin’s judgment at a most peculiar time of the season. What fans need to watch for is the urgency with which the team plays from here on out.

Griffin gambled once on an untested European coach and failed. Now it’s up to Lue to prove the general manager made the correct move. The GM has made it perfectly clear that anything less than a championship will not be good enough.

Wise coaching choices

As coaching appointments go in the National Football League, those announced by the Browns the other day flew somewhat under the radar, but could wind up having a profound effect on what lies ahead.

Al Saunders, Ray Horton, Pep Hamilton and Kirby Wilson are the latest assistants to join new head coach Hue Jackson’s remodeled staff and each brings the kind of experience to help guide him through his rookie season in Cleveland.

Saunders, a venerable NFL vagabond with stops now in eight league cities, as well as five colleges throughout his 46-year coaching career (33 in the NFL), will offer the Browns’ offense next season large doses of what a successful offense looks like.

No matter where he has gone, success has followed the soon-to-be 69-year-old Saunders. Whether it’s coordinating offenses, coaching wide receivers (his specialty) or overseeing the offensive structure of a team, statistics always improve.

Perfect example is this past season. After retiring in April after declining to take a front-office job in Oakland, Saunders unretired in October when interim Miami Dolphins coach Dan Campbell called.

He made an immediate impact after being named senior offensive assistant (also his title with the Browns), coaching up the Miami wide receivers. Main beneficiary of that coaching was Jarvis Landry, who set a club record with 110 receptions.

And where does the Browns’ greatest weakness on offense lie? That’s right, with the wide receivers. If there is anyone who can extract what talent remains in Dwayne Bowe’s body (assuming the Browns choose to retain his services), it’s Al Saunders.

Saunders spent 15 of his NFL seasons in Kansas City—10 with Marty Schottenheimer and five with Dick Vermeil – and was responsible for much of the the offensive success of those teams. He was also on Vermeil’s staff in St. Louis when the Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV, and was Jackson’s offensive chief in Oakland in 2011.

He knows all about winning explosive offensive football, having learned from, among others, Don Coryell during his stint with the San Diego Chargers. His expertise in crafting those offenses should make life more pleasant for Jackson and Hamilton.

Hamilton, who carries the slash title of assistant head coach/offense, arrives with a checkered NFL past. He was fired as offensive coordinator mid-season by the Indianapolis Colts and replaced by former Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski.

But the Colts’ offense in 2014 ranked in the top three in the league led by quarterback Andrew Luck, whose offensive coordinator and position coach at Stanford was Hamilton. Luck missed most half of last season with multiple injuries and the Colts’ offense suffered, prompting Hamilton’s dismissal.

It’s not certain exactly where Jackson, who favors a vertical offense that aggressively pushes the ball mainly through the air, will fit Hamilton into his philosophical scheme.  The ex-Colts offensive coordinator was criticized in Indianapolis for being too run-oriented.

It’s possible he and Wilson, hired as the running game coordinator, will collaborate to provide that aspect of the Cleveland offense this coming season. He was Adrian Peterson’s position coach last season in Minnesota. He certainly won’t find that kind of talent on the Cleveland roster.

The big get, though, is Horton, who returns to the Browns as defensive coordinator after serving in the same position with the team in 2013. He was blown out in one of owner Jimmy Haslam’s purges following that season and was Tennessee’s defensive boss the last two seasons.

What makes Horton’s return so significant is the results he achieved with the Browns in that one season. Even though the club finished 4-12, they played an aggressive style, winding up as the ninth-best defense in the NFL. Numerous fourth-quarter collapses contributed to most of the losses.

They were third overall against the pass, but that stat is a bit misleading since many teams didn’t have to throw the ball to beat Cleveland and the lower number of yards gained in that fashion skewed the ranking.

And yet, Horton might wind up as the most important addition to the coaching staff because of his aggressive approach. That aspect of the game, an absolute necessity on that side of the ball, was clearly missing last season under Mike Pettine and Jim O’Neil.

Horton is certain to revive the awful Cleveland pass rush, which produced just 29 sacks last season, 16 of them in two games. The Browns had 40 in 2013, the most since the 2001 team registered 43. His greatest challenge will be improving the run defense, which has been AWOL for way too long.

What fans are more likely to see in 2016 is Horton channeling his mentor, the great Dick LeBeau, whose creation of the zone blitz revolutionized the game. Nothing wrong with that.

With these wise coaching appointments, all signs point to Jackson favoring aggressive football on both sides of the ball. That’s something that could pay off handsomely if the personnel end of the organization matches his wisdom with regards to revamping the roster to fit the new coaching philosophy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Take quarterback later 

Make no mistake about it. The Browns definitely need a quality quarterback as they embark on the Hue Jackson era.

But they also need help in other areas – perhaps not as vital as quarterback – and this year’s crop of college quarterbacks does not make one exactly froth with anticipation and excitement as the draft approaches.

This is not a prime quarterbacks class this year. There are no Andrew Lucks or Peyton Mannings or Eli Mannings out there. No quarterbacks who can come right in and make a difference.

But there is one high quality player, a can’t-miss player who can make a difference and who most likely will be available at No. 2 when National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell places the Browns on the clock.

The Browns need – and Jackson should see this right away when he looks at the films of last season – a pass rush in the absolute worst way. And whattaya know. There will be a player who can help in that department sitting at No. 2 ready and waiting for them.

Joey Bosa might be from Florida, but he played right down the street from Cleveland (figuratively speaking) and played himself right into the hearts of Ohio State fans everywhere. Did so as a freshman and hasn’t stopped.

Jackson, whose reputation as an offensive guru and quarterback whisperer preceded his arrival in Cleveland, knows the Browns do not have a legitimate get-them-to-the-playoffs type of quarterback on board now.

That’s probably why he recently said, “If there is a quarterback at No. 2 (in the college draft) or No. 32 (top of the second round) who is . . . the best fit for our organization, our team, we need to get him. I do believe this team needs a quarterback.”

Jared Goff of California, Paxton Lynch of Memphis and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz are the top-rated quarterbacks coming out, but none are what you’d call ready-to-play-now quarterbacks.

And that’s what the Browns need as they install yet another offensive scheme, their fourth in four years. With some decent veteran quarterbacks about to become free agents, Jackson would be best served by someone who has a résumé that warrants immediate starting status.

That’s not to say the Browns should not take a quarterback in the draft. It’s to say they should not take a quarterback as early as the second pick of the entire draft because there are other more important needs. And none of the top quarterbacks are worthy of the overall second pick.

Grabbing Bosa in the first round fulfills the goal of drafting the best player available regardless of position. Many draft experts have placed the play-making defensive end at the top of their boTake quartterback later

He would be a perfect fit for a defense that needs personality, needs a pulse, needs someone off whom the rest of the defense can feed and make plays. A perfect example of that is Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly, the linchpin in the solid Panthers’ defense.

Playing defense means playing aggressively, playing with passion, playing with a distinct purpose. Bosa has more than proven he’s that kind of player. No matter where he played on the Buckeyes’ defensive line, his motor was always churning in the highest gear.

He does not take plays off and is clearly a transformative player who can come in right away and make a difference. He’s got the size, talent and bellicose attitude the Browns need to be effective. He possesses a quality the Browns need badly. Impact.

If Jackson and whomever the Browns hire as their top personnel man insist on drafting a quarterback with a high pick, Wentz should be there at the top of the second round. Goff and Lynch will be long gone.

Taking Wentz there, even though others might be rated higher on the Browns’ board, satisfies the quarterback need, and he can learn from whomever the Browns sign as a free agent. Assuming, of course, that’s the route they take.

Jackson has to be patient. This shouldn’t be a quick-fix situation for him. It will take time. Even his owner has admitted that. Better to take it slow and steady instead of making mistakes along the way in an effort to get competitive right now.

It makes much more sense for the Browns to make Bosa the top pick even if it means they have to trade up to get him should the Tennessee Titans also have designs on him.

To select a Goff or Lynch with the first pick and then take someone with weaker credentials than a quarterback in the second round does not improve the overall picture. Bosa and Wentz give them the best of both worlds.

The 6-6, 235-pound Wentz, who has an NFL arm, became a starter in his junior year at North Dakota State. He missed half of this past season with a broken right wrist, but returned to lead the Bison to the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) title.

In seven games, he threw for 1,151 yards, 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions. In his final two seasons, he threw for 4,762 yards, 42 scores and 14 picks. He also proved an able scrambler, running 216 times for 1,028 yards and 12 touchdowns the last two seasons.

At this point, the Browns need more core players; those payers who can make an immediate difference on and off the field. Bosa fills that need at the top of the first round, not a quarterback.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

There’s a Hu(g)e gleam, Browns fans

Talk about bad timing. Cornered the market on that one today. Should have trusted my instincts to wait on the Hue Jackson situation.

But when Jimmy Haslam III passed on the opportunity to hire Jackson Tuesday as his new head coach after a second interview, the itch in my trigger finger became overwhelming.

Shoulda waited a few hours longer. But you know what they say about woulda, coulda and shoulda. I didn’t and paid the price. That said . . .

Getting Jackson to say yes to his offer Wednesday very likely will turn out to be the smartest move Haslam has made since purchasing the Browns in 2012.

What makes this appointment important and impactful was removing the stigma that no one wanted to coach the Cleveland Browns, a veritable graveyard of coaches since 1999.

Jackson, who is extremely familiar with the Browns on the field after coordinating the Cincinnati Bengals’ offense the past few years, wanted to land in Cleveland, although he kept all options open by interviewing elsewhere.

The fact he cancelled an interview with the New York Giants after Haslam offered him the job speaks volumes. The owner deserves big-time credit for stepping up quickly and not allowing Jackson to slip away.

It’s extremely comforting to know the Browns now have a head coach with previous head coaching experience and not some long-time coordinator who will grovel for any head coaching job and who does not know there is a vast difference between the two jobs.

Butch Davis and Eric Mangini are the only head coaches hired by the Browns since 1999 to bring that kind of experience to the job and they struggled, mainly because they also involved themselves in the player personnel department instead of concentrating on coaching.

Jackson, who becomes the eighth Cleveland head coach since 1999 and sixth since 2008, should have no trouble in that regard. But he also must realize that by accepting the job before the Browns select a new general manager, he places himself in a similar situation that cost him the top job in Oakland in 2011.

After leading the Oakland Raiders to an 8-8 season, Jackson was fired by new general manager Reggie McKenzie, who wanted to name his own coach. This time, though, the new Cleveland coach will be part of the team that selects the new GM.

The big question now is how much input Jackson is given in player personnel decisions. How much say-so will he have in the college football draft? Or the makeup of the 53-man roster?

That appears for the time being to be in the hands of Sashi Brown, whose forte is business, not football. It will be interesting once the new GM is named whether Brown will continue in that role, whether his promotion was just a stopgap in the wake of the twin firings of Ray Framer and Mike Pettine.

What Jackson brings to the Browns is instant credibility. His reputation as an offensive guru, especially with quarterbacks, precedes him. But in the bigger picture, that should pale.

Being a head coach is far different. Someone once told me that the secret to being a successful head coach is hiring good assistant coaches, coaching those coaches and letting the coaches coach the players.

Clearly in Jackson’s favor is his reputation as a players’ coach. He relates well to them and vice-versa. Plaudits from all around the National Football League poured in after the announcement, several of them from former players under Jackson.

The strongest endorsement came from Cincinnati offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth. “A leader of men!” he wrote. “He gets leadership and is not afraid to push his best players to develop into leaders for their team, He will challenge every player to take ownership of their effort and performance each day. Being good will never be acceptable to him. He earned and deserved this opportunity!”

It’s no accident the Cincinnati offense is one of the strongest and most productive in the NFL. Under Jackson, Andy Dalton has become one of the league’s rising young quarterback stars and Tyler Eifert has developed into one of the NFL’s best tight ends.

Jackson’s appointment also could have a significant impact on some of the Browns’ free agents rumored to be leaning toward leaving after another miserable season. That group includes center Alex Mack and offensive right tackle Mitchell Schwartz.

Throw in perennial All-Pro offensive left tackle Joe Thomas, the subject of trade rumors, and that’s 60% of the offensive line. Jackson’s appointment might make a persuasive argument to remain and play in what definitely will be a new offensive scheme.

So many possibilities now exist with Jackson now on board with regard to what the Browns will look like in 2016. It’s safe to say, however, that Johnny Manziel will not be a part of that picture.

So who will be the new quarterback? He might not be on the current roster. He might come from the college ranks – Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch or Carson Wentz to name a few – or from the NFL free-agent market or via the trade route.

Jackson, who has been an offensive coordinator for four NFL teams and knows the pro game inside and out, has a solid reputation in developing quarterbacks or surrounding himself with those who align their philosophy with him. The only X-factor there is whether he will be his own play caller.

Most likely available in the free-agent market will be Robert Griffin III, Zack Mettenberger and Sam Bradford, while Colin Kaepernick appears to have worn out his welcome in San Francisco and might be available in a trade, depending on who becomes the 49ers’ new head coach.

Jackson also will have the luxury of welcoming back Josh Gordon, assuming NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell lifts the wide receiver’s one-year ban for substance abuse. One can only imagine how much Jackson can get out of Gordon.

An interesting footnote to the Jackson hiring was an almost-universal Twitter attaboy for the Browns by members of the media. Here is a small sample:

Peter King of Sports Illustrated: Hue Jackson gets the Browns job. Superb hire. Jackson made Dalton better and maximized Cin weapons. Congrats to him and Browns.

Albert Breer of the NFL Network: Another win for the Browns on this one: My understanding is EVP Sashi Brown came off very well in the process of pursuing Hue Jackson.

Tom Pelissero of USA Today: #Browns made Hue Jackson feel they wanted him. Inspired hire for a franchise that needed inspiration.

Michael Silver of the NFL Network: Give Jimmy Haslam & the Browns credit. They went out and got their guy.

And finally Michael Freeman of the Bleacher Report: I know this is crazy talk. I KNOW THIS IS CRAZY TALK. But I think what Cleveland has done will work. I think it’s smart.

Pelissero nailed it best, calling it an inspired hire for a franchise that needed inspiration.

Haslam, after patting himself on the back for finally being decisive, should sit back after finding his new general manager and let his football people do their thing without any interference whatsoever. He has done his job. Now let them do their jobs. Let them succeed or fail on their own.

A new era in professional football has dawned in Cleveland. And the future, finally, has a glow that hasn’t been there for a very long time.

Indecision central

Apparently, there is something about Hue Jackson the Browns’ head coach search team doesn’t like.

Why would they interview the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive coordinator twice and not offer him the job to succeed Mike Pettine?

If they liked him and he liked them, why allow him to interview with the New York Giants? That’s like saying, “We’re not sure you’re our man, so go right on ahead and talk with the Giants.”

It’s just another example of the indecisive nature that pervades the Ivory Tower in Berea. It has plagued this franchise for way too long.

It continued a string of head coach hires who were not the club’s first or second choice. Or the third and sometimes fourth choices. If you want someone badly enough, you do anything to get him.

When you interview a candidate twice and still don’t offer him a contract, something is wrong. How much more can one learn about a person seeking a job in a third interview? First impressions must not mean much to Jimmy Haslam III and his minions.

If you can’t glean what you’re looking for, or if a candidate can’t sell himself, in two interviews, then thank him for his time and move on. Why bother to continue?

According to reports, Jackson is the only one of seven interviewees thus far who has been accorded a second sit-down with Cleveland. By not offering him a contract after No. 2, that logically indicates they either don’t want him or have serious reservations.

Jackson would probably be a better fit with the Giants, anyway, because they have something the Browns don’t have – a quarterback. Not just any quarterback, but one who owns two Super Bowl championship rings.

The Browns, on the other hand, have struggled for 17 seasons to find their quarterback and the prospects of finding him aren’t any more optimistic for next season with a weak group of college prospects.

In comparing the two teams, there is no question the Giants are the better team in just about every respect. They possess a quality the Browns have sought futilely since the resurrection in 1999. It’s called stability.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Jackson emerges with a contract to succeed Tom Coughlin after just one interview with the Giants. His reputation as an offensive and quarterbacks guru precedes him.

That’s also one of the main reasons he would be a solid fit with the Browns. This team needs an offensive-mined head coach who knows what he’s doing. They tried with Pat Shurmur and Rob Chudzinski a few years ago, but they weren’t ready to be head coaches. Jackson is.

He has already had one moderately successful stint in Oakland several years ago, but was the victim of a new general manager who wanted his own coach.

If Jackson winds up somewhere other than Cleveland and is successful, it will be just another case of the Browns screwing up once again and answering the question that has dogged them the last 17 seasons.

That question? “Where did we go wrong?”

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Blow it up

Some free unsolicited advice for Paul DePodesta as he plunges into what unquestionably will be the biggest challenge of his career.

Clean house as you have never cleaned house before. Lay waste to whatever system and culture exists at Browns headquarters. They haven’t worked for the last 17 seasons.

The team’s new chief strategy officer has no idea he is stepping into a minefield. It is littered with explosives all the way to the office of owner Jimmy Haslam III. It’s a gigantic mess.

As he evaluates the situation, he will encounter ineptitude the likes of which he most likely has not seen in his two decades of major league baseball.

He will see sides pulling in different directions instead of pulling together. The mind-set at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. is watch your back. The paranoia that has resided there has become toxic over the years. And it has filtered down to the field.

If, in fact, it is DePodesta’s goal to march in and clean house, more power to him. The culture that currently exists needs to be eradicated. The stench that permeates throughout Haslam’s billion-dollar team – on and off the field – needs to be fumigated.

If it is his intention to reinvent this organization, he definitely will leave bodies in his wake. But it clearly would be the correct move. If, however, he decides after evaluating that only a tinkering is required, it would only perpetuate all that is wrong.

The entire organization needs straightening out and that starts at the top with Haslam, who has failed time and again to surround himself with the right people, those who know – not think they know – know how to build a winning organization.

That hasn’t happened in Cleveland since the team that became the Baltimore Ravens in the mid-1990s left town. Many regimes have tried . . . and failed. From the days of Randy Lerner and Carmen Policy to the current situation, it has been one failure after another.

Only the names and faces change. The results have been consistently disappointing for a franchise that once was one of the proudest in the National Football League during the second half of the 20th century.

Not sure if DePodesta believes in the trickle-down theory. We’ll find that out soon enough. With few exceptions, it works. Strong front office and ownership produce strong teams.

Check out the 32 franchises in the NFL and notice the strongest front offices and coaching staffs generally turn out strong teams on a regular basis. Weak, dysfunctional teams that change direction every couple of years or so rarely make the playoffs.

Want to know how and where it works well? Cast your eyes about 120 miles southeast of Cleveland to a steel town where its NFL team has gotten it right for the last 43 seasons. Yep, the dreaded Pittsburgh Steelers.

Most Browns fans direct their venom at their archrivals in mean, often hateful ways. In juvenile fashion, they poke fun at them and the denizens of their city. Bottom line: They’re jealous. They would never admit it, but they would love for the Browns to play like the Steelers.

Can’t argue with Pittsburgh’s record over the last 43 seasons. The litany of success is staggering: Playoffs in 28 of those seasons; eight Super Bowl appearances; six Super Bowl victories; only three coaches since 1969.

Before that, the Steelers, who were established in 1933, won nothing. Played very much like the Browns have the last 17 seasons.

They made just one post-season appearance in their first 37 seasons. (They merged with the Philadelphia Eagles and then Chicago Cardinals in 1943-44 due the war effort). Never won more than nine games in a season and they did that only once.

Since 1972, the Steelers have registered double-digit victory seasons 23 times. Their road to success began when Chuck Noll, ironically a native Clevelander (graduated from Benedictine High School) who played for the Browns in the 1950s, was named head coach in 1969.

Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin followed and perpetuated the system laid down by Noll, continuing his winning legacy. And the Steelers have done it, for the most part, from within, with players they have drafted over the years.  Many of them have wound up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Now contrast that with the Browns have accomplished since 1963, the year after Paul Brown was fired. They have racked up just 12 double-digit victory seasons and 16 postseason appearances with one NFL championship in 1964.

When it comes to double-digit losing seasons, the Browns are the NFL’s poster child. Since the return in 1999, they have reeled off 13 of them. Losing became a way of life for the moribund franchise.

The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the great rivalries in the NFL now reduced to nothing more than two teams headed in opposite directions.

It has been said many times that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. After what the Browns – and their fans – have been through the last 17 seasons, maybe it’s time to admit the Pittsburgh way works a whole lot better than the Cleveland way.

Perhaps that’s something into which DePodesta should look. He’s an analytical guy. Analyze the Steelers over the years and find out what makes them tick because what makes them tick seems to work a whole lot better than what fans have been subjected to in Cleveland.

Revealing statistics: They don’t always tell the whole story, but the following Browns  stats this season sure do.

They scored 28 touchdowns, third-worst in the NFL to San Francisco (24) and Dallas (26). Their -154 net-points differential was the league’s worst. They were one of four teams that won only one road game (Jacksonville, San Francisco and San Diego). They were the third-worst scoring team (278 points) behind, you guessed it, San Francisco (238) and Dallas (275). Only Tennessee had a worse conference record (1-11) than the Browns (2-10). Only New Orleans (476), the New York Giants (442) and Jacksonville (448) gave up more points than the Browns (432).

Notice a common thread? None of the teams mentioned made the playoffs.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Moneyball NFL style?

If nothing else, Jimmy Haslam III sure has turned around a lot of heads in the National Football League with his latest move.

When the owner named Paul DePodesta, a highly respected baseball man, as chief strategic officer of the Browns the other day, it grabbed the attention of Haslam’s 31 fellow owners and elicited a variety of responses from observers on both sides of their respective sports aisle.

From “it’s like putting lipstick on a pig” to “this one is clearly outside the box” to “no question it’s an act of desperation,” Haslam has turned the national spotlight on a team that has languished out of that spotlight, it seems, forever.

In choosing DePodesta, the Browns’ owner, who has encountered all kinds of problems trying to straighten out his dysfunctional franchise, has gambled on hiring the established baseball man and then creating a position for him.

And now that he has boldly decided to buck one of the age-old trends of the NFL, the owner needs to take at least two giant steps back and let DePodesta do his job. No interference whatsoever. Let the man succeed or fail on his own. Get out of his way.

If Haslam even thinks about interfering, regardless of how poorly next season’s team might play, we’ll be talking about the same problems three years (or sooner) from now. All it will do is add to the dysfunction.

Haslam, who seems to have a difficult time making correct decisions with regard to his billion-dollar investment, is a hands-on owner who needs to keep those hands to himself. He sees where interfering has gotten him the last three-plus years.

It’s obvious by his unusual – and very progressive – hire that he wants to dramatically change the culture of his team. Shape a new image. Chart a new path to success. That’s how the newest front office member gained his reputation in baseball. And now, he has been presented with a new challenge.

DePodesta, whose use of the principles of Sabermetrics helped the Oakland Athletics become the fabled turn-of-the-millennium Moneyball team, has no substantive pro football experience unless you count one year as an intern with a team in the Canadian Football League.

But he will have a strong voice in selecting the new coach to replace Mike Pettine, new general manager to replace Ray Farmer, as well as player development, personnel decisions and analytics.

There is no question Haslam has surrounded himself with brilliant people in DePodesta and Sashi Brown, the new vice president/football operations. Both men are Harvard graduates, which gives the Browns arguably the brainiest front office in the league.

The only problem is Brown also has no pro football background in personnel and the Browns are woefully short of qualified football people to compensate. That apparently is one of the areas where DePodesta is expected to make a major difference.

He is basically an analytics guy who obviously loves the challenge of bringing that approach to the NFL and succeeding where no one has previously. Unlocking the mystery of why they haven’t yet worked in the NFL very well could be one of his goals.

He has gained a solid reputation for being one of the brightest minds in all of Major League Baseball. That’s probably what enticed Haslam to look in a completely different direction in an effort to change his club’s culture.

What qualities did DePodesta own that attracted the Browns’ owner and what in the world does a chief strategic officer do? And why, for goodness sakes, a baseball man?

“His approach and ambition to find the best pathways for organizational success transcend one specific sport and his experience as a high level sports executive make him a terrific addition to the Cleveland Browns,” Haslam said in a statement released by the club.

It was an obvious nod by Haslam that the Browns need direction, a silent admission the team under his guidance had wandered in way too many different directions to have a chance at success. He is seeking a new way to remove the dys from his club’s dysfunction.

As for DePodesta’s duties, Haslam said his newest hire “will be responsible for assessing and implementing practices and strategies that will provide the organization with the comprehensive resources needed to make optimal decisions,” adding he “will add a critical dimension to our front office.”

The new CSO is clearly being entrusted to shape the Browns in his own image. Structure it the way he envisions. Radical for the NFL, but you can be certain many other clubs will be paying attention.

Haslam knows a turnaround won’t happen overnight. He has come to grips with the notion there is no such thing as a quick fix in the NFL. It might take as long as two or three seasons. He needs to put a clamp on his impatience, which will be hard to do because the club is starting to lose some of its fan base due to the constant losing.

At first blush, this appears to be a good, albeit curious, hire. After all, Haslam has nothing to lose. How much worse can this team get? The situation in Berea certainly can’t get any worse than it is right now. The Browns are coming off their worst season since 2000, a year after the resurrection and expansion football.

Yes, Haslam is rolling the dice. Some have even called this latest move an act of desperation. But if DePodesta can somehow translate his Moneyball magic into gridiron magic, this is one roll of the dice that could pay off handsomely.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Don’t let the door . . .

It’s time for the Browns to grant Johnny Manziel’s unasked wish and get rid of him. Any way they can. Trade him or just flat out cut him. Get him outta here.

When – not if – when it happens, consider it addition by subtraction. He is an embarrassment to his team, fans of the team and the city of Cleveland.

In spite of the words of contrition that tumble out of his lying mouth whenever he gets into trouble, Manziel is not a changed young man. He is still the fun-loving, party-going, booze-swilling young buck who is years from sewing his wild oats.

His latest night-before-the season-finale-Billy Manziel-Las Vegas Casino escapade might very well be the see-ya moment to his controversy-filled tenure with the Browns. The hits just keep on coming with him.

He claims football is his main focus. He wants to become a great professional football player after hogging the spotlight for two years in the collegiate ranks and winning its highest award.

It might happen for him some day. Growing up eventually gives us a different perspective of what is and what is not important in life. Some people, though, never grow up. Manziel might be one of the exceptions.

His behavior off the field is so erratic, it is virtually impossible to monitor unless someone is assigned to watch him 24 hours a day. The Browns, those woeful stepchildren of the National Football League, are the unfortunate victims.

But it’s also their own fault. They knew what they were getting when they selected Manziel in the first round of the 2014 college football draft. The Legend of Johnny Football wasn’t exactly a bulletin.

The Browns knew Manziel loved to have fun and the attention he received as a darling of the TMZ and YouTube crowd. And they no doubt believed they could harness that wild behavior and turn him into a solid pro.

When you are young and popular and enjoy the fame that comes along with athletic brilliance (using the term loosely here), it is easy for Manziel to be seduced by that fame and its non-football rewards. But that is entirely different when those rewards hinder future growth.

If – not necessarily when – if he matures, Manziel some day probably will look back at his two years in Cleveland with a modicum of regret. The regret being how poorly he misplaced his priorities, stunted his growth and cheated the fans..

There now seems little doubt Manziel and the Browns was a marriage that was doomed almost from the beginning when the brash young kid from Texas implored Cleveland to select him in the draft so they could “wreck this league.”

Instead, Manziel appears to have gone on a crusade to instead wreck himself and establish the kind of a reputation reserved for those whose flight through life is nothing more than a joy ride.

At the time of the 2014 draft, it was rumored Dallas Cowboys egomaniac-in-charge Jerry Jones had given serious thought to selecting Manziel early in the opening round but was talked out of it by his football people.

Conspiracy theorists now are floating the story that Jones still covets him as the eventual successor to Tony Romo, whose body has betrayed him the last few years, and has suggested Manziel do everything he can to make it happen.

Manziel’s erratic behavior has ticked off the Browns to the point where he has become so toxic, it isn’t worth the wait to find out if he can (1) reform and (2) be the kind of quarterback they expected.

Going back to Texas just might be the best tonic for Manziel, who would be closer to a family that hopefully cares for his welfare and well being. Then again, wouldn’t it be fun to watch Jones find out what Cleveland found out about Manziel and be unable to handle him, too?

No one knows for certain where it went wrong with the young man. Perhaps it was his incorrect belief that adapting to the more regimented and disciplined professional game was going to be easy. It has been anything but.

Because he made significant strides during the recently concluded season, at least according to his coach (Mike Pettine) at the time, he was given enough rope to hang himself. And that is exactly what he did. He just did it one misbehavior at a time.

Time to move on for the sake of what hopefully will be a new culture for a team badly in need of a radical change.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Right moves, wrong moves

Jimmy Haslam III made two correct moves Sunday when he fired General Manager Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine.

Then the Browns owner, at least on the surface, turned around and made a colossal mistake by promoting Sashi Brown from executive vice president/general counsel to executive vice president of football operations.

Unless Brown is some secretive football genius who has been stashed away in the dark dungeons in Berea, this moves totally baffles.

“Sashi, I believe, is the right person to do this for the Cleveland Browns,” Haslam told the Cleveland media after disposing of Farmer and Pettine. “He has been in the NFL for 10-plus years, has been involved in the (salary) cap and has been heavily involved in our football administration and operations for the last year or two.”

In other words, he knows nothing about the football end of the business outside of negotiating contracts and handling other matters of business and yet he is being placed in charge of the 53-man roster. A lawyer is now in charge of one of the most important football positions on the team. Wonderful.

“He’s very smart, very organized, good at systems and processes and an outstanding team player,” said Haslam, who further explained the new general manager will work under Brown and his “primary job will be in talent acquisition.”

The owner, who vowed at the beginning of last summer’s training camp that he would “not blow things up again,” finally declared what most of the fan base already knew. “I think this is a several-year rebuilding program,” he said of his talent-poor team.

To make matters worse, Haslam and his select committee will first name a new coach to succeed Pettine and then a new general manager. Apparently, he did not learn his lesson that a general manager should be given the opportunity to hire his own head coach.

Whoever gave him that piece of advice either wants to see Haslam continue to fail or has no idea what they are talking about. General managers generally hire coaches with whom they are compatible. Farmer was named GM following Pettine’s hiring and the two reportedly grew further and further apart as the recently concluded season of misery progressed.

The new coach – and there are plenty of names already being bandied about in the Twitterverse – will be part of that select committee, which will consist of Haslam, his wife, Dee, Brown and Jed Hughes, a former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back who works for a search firm that will help hire the new coach.

Why in the world does Dee Haslam have a say in who the next coach is? That makes no sense. Then again, if you’re the owner’s wife, it doesn’t have to make sense.

According to the new organizational chart, the new coach will only coach and report directly to Haslam, while the new GM will concentrate on talent only and report directly to Brown.

Nowhere, it would appear, is there going to be a tried and true National Football League lifer with a plethora of winning on his résumé working for the Browns. This seems a convoluted way to replace Farmer and Pettine.

Whoever is fortunate to negotiate the numerous Berea hurdles to be the new Browns coach will be club’s sixth head coach since 2008 in what has become a graveyard for coaches. Unless and until the culture is changed, any high profile coach or front office type would be reluctant to come to Cleveland.

Only those desperate enough to take such a job – like Pettine, Rob Chudzinski and Pat Shurmur, for example – would seriously consider making the move to the North Coast.

“The blame for the franchise doing so poorly lies right here with me,” Haslam acknowledged, admitting his leaning curve did not jibe with the ultimate results. “I will quickly say this has been much harder than we thought it would be.” No kidding.

And now, he is taking steps he believes will eventually rectify the situation, but his unorthodox tack in naming a new coach prior to naming a new general manager and elevating a non-football man to the top football post is concerning.

By heading in what appears to be a completely different direction than most NFL teams seeking to make changes, I’m not really certain what Haslam hopes to accomplish in his attempt to turn around this dysfunctional franchise.

At this point, all we can do is sit, wait and watch as the story unfolds. Names like Josh McDaniels, Adam Gase. Doug Marrone, Chuck Pagano (maybe), Chip Kelly and Jon Gruden will be thrown around by the media.

Haslam hinted the naming of a new coach won’t happen overnight unless one of their main targets surprises and accepts the job right out of the chute. “I have no idea if that’s going to take two weeks or two months,” he said. “. . . We’re determined to find the right person.”

The longer it takes, though, means most of the primary targets most likely will be gone once a decision is made. That happened in each of the last three coaching decisions. 

The owner went on to call Cleveland an “unbelievable football town, great fans. . . . I still think this is a very attractive job and I’m excited to go out and find the right person to do it.”

He spoke all the right words with regard to the fans and how the city still embraces the team despite its annual losing ways, but he’s kidding only himself if he honestly believes coaching the Browns is a very attractive job. He embellished by adding: “ . . . I think for the right person this is a great job. I absolutely do.” It sounded as though he was trying to convince himself.

That’s the kind of blowing smoke that turns off a certain segment of Browns Nation that knows when they are being smooth-talked. Sometimes, it’s best the owner keep certain opinions to himself and not attach hyperbole to them.

This is one of those times.

Bottom line: Haslam has not learned from his past mistakes. Thus, he was doomed to repeat them. That's exactly what he did Sunday. And for that, the fans will continue to suffer.

Time to clean house

If Jimmy Haslam III does not make any moves – drastic or otherwise – after what he witnessed Sunday in the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, then he needs help. Mountains of help.

He needs someone to tell him – no, make that scream at him – that his billion dollar investment, a.k.a. the Cleveland Browns, are perhaps a worse football team now than when he purchased them in 2012.

After the display of ineptitude that led to the 28-12 loss to the Steelers, there is no question Haslam has only one direction to head and that’s to lop off the heads of those at the top of the food chain who are responsible for the 3-13 record.

To wait is to delay the inevitable unless, of course, Haslam is satisfied with the progress this team has made the last 17 weeks. And if he does, it begs a singular question: Why?

It’s not as though the owner needs to sit down and break down the season, game by game or quarter by quarter. No deep diving into the whys and wherefores. There is only one conclusion that can be reached after playing 16 games.

The Browns finished 3-13 because they deserved to. There was nothing fluky about it.

It’s as simple as this: The roster is not nearly as talent-loaded as the front office believes. The draft record of General Manager Ray Farmer, especially in the high rounds, is abysmal at best.

Mike Pettine might be a good defensive coordinator, but he was hamstrung as head coach of the Browns with a roster sadly devoid of the kind of talent that helps win games. There were few playmakers on either side of the ball.

More often than not, you could count on the Browns to come up short whenever a play was needed. Be it the coaching or the players, those plays were rarely made and contributed heavily to the losing.

It’s the responsibility of the coaching staff to maximize the talent on board and put it in a position to help win games. The record accurately reflects the belief the coaching failed in this respect. It’s a losing culture that needs to be gone.

This is not the prescription to take into a third season and expect positive results. If no progress is made between years one and two of a coaching-GM regime, what logical reasons are there to warrant another chance?

When thinking long and hard, there are no compelling reasons, logical or otherwise, to keep Farmer and Pettine around. They have got to go. The sooner the better.

Because to wait, as Haslam and his brain trust did after firing Rob Chudzinski a couple of years ago after a similar last-game loss to Pittsburgh, only delays the procurement of high profile – and hopefully qualified – people to replace them.

The culture of this team needs to change. Pronto. Pettine’s motto “Play Like A Brown” has taken on a new and extremely distasteful meaning. To play like a Brown now means playing arguably the worst football in the National Football League.

It was a motto Pettine thought would work psychologically. It was a miserable failure as the Browns many times this season couldn’t get out of their own way.

Sunday’s loss was a perfect example of their futility and inability to play clutch football.. It led to some moments that served as microcosms of how it went this season for the team that plays its games in the appropriately named Factory of Sadness.

For example, the Browns ran 76 plays (to Pittsburgh’s 55) in the game, an astounding 42 of which were in Steelers’ territory. The best the offense could come up with were four field goals by Travis Coons.

The Steelers tried giving the game away with four turnovers – a couple of Ben Roethlisberger interceptions and two fumbles – three of them in Pittsburgh territory and the Cleveland offense said, “No, thank you. We’ll take the field goals.”

Of those 42 plays, 19 were snapped in the red zone. And on those 19 snaps, the Browns gained exactly 35 total yards. Austin Davis, who showed all afternoon why he is nothing better than an NFL backup quarterback, put the ball up 13 times in those 19 snaps with just four completions, a sack and a pick.

One of those microcosms that reflected the season-long futility of the Browns this season took place early in the second half with the Steelers clinging to a 14-9 halftime lead.

On the Steelers’ first possession of the third quarter, Browns linebacker Craig Robertson picked off a Roethlisberger pass and returned it to the Pittsburgh 8. Three plays later, veteran Steelers linebacker James Harrison stepped in front of tight end Gary Barnidge at the goal line and picked off Davis.

That right there best describes what has happened to the Browns this season. That one sudden turn of events encapsulates the frustration fans have felt all season. From joy to abject sorrow in less than a minute.

Pittsburgh fans would argue their team’s transition defense after those non-costly turnovers was the reason the Browns couldn’t take advantage. Browns fans might win that argument by noting that stopping the Browns neat an opponents’ goal line is no big deal.

The Cleveland defense lived down to its maligned reputation by allowing Roethlisberger, now 20-2 lifetime against the Browns, to play pitch and catch with Antonio Brown all day. The wide receiver wound up with 13 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown.

The Cleveland pass rush never got close enough to Big Ben to determine what deodorant he uses. His uniform was as pristine at the end of  the game as it was when he initially put it on. Cleveland linebacker Karlos Dansby was charitably credited with the only quarterback hit all day.

The Cleveland offensive line, meanwhile, provided so little protection for Davis, who must have felt like a piñata while dropping back. He did so 49 times and his inability to escape the pass rush resulted in seven sacks for a whopping 63 yards in losses. Meeting at the quarterback became a party for the Steelers’ defense.

The Browns lost this one despite winning a couple of important battles. They owned the ball for nearly 36 of the 60 minutes and won the turnover battle, 4-3. Teams that win these two categories generally win the game. But when you consider it’s the Cleveland Browns, all bets are off.

It was one frustrating moment after another this season from the opening-game loss to the New York Jets to the finale against Steelers. In between, the Browns bumbled and stumbled helplessly and hopelessly as fans began staying away in droves.

That they knocked off the Tennessee Titans (by two touchdowns), Baltimore Ravens (by three in overtime) and San Francisco 49ers (by two touchdowns) means nothing. Those teams totaled 12 victories this season. Cleveland’s only consolation, if you can call it that, is the No. 2 pick in the next college football draft.

Sure, the Browns were riddled with injuries. So were most teams. They were hurt more by the lack of depth backing up a lack of talent. No one came off the bench and made a significant contribution.

So unless Haslam is a glutton for punishment and shockingly wishes to continue next season with the current crew, look for a complete change in all matters football at 76 Lou Groza Blvd.

The black cloud that hovers over Browns headquarters in Berea has lingered there long enough. It’s now up to Haslam to get smart, listen to the right people (hint: pay no attention to Alec Scheiner) and reward his rapidly dwindling fan base. Those long-suffering fans deserve a break after all their years of loyalty..

This will be the owner’s third shot at getting it right. If he is unsuccessful again, there’s no telling what damaging effect it could have on the franchise’s future in Cleveland.