Monday, January 8, 2018

Cleveland’s Pit of Misery

John Dorsey once traded for quarterback Alex Smith. In doing so, he turned around a struggling Kansas City Chiefs franchise just like that.

The new Browns general manager now has a chance to do it again, but this time the task will be much more difficult.

If Dorsey hopes to pry Smith loose from the Chiefs, who most likely will wait no longer to install Patrick Mahomes as their main man at the position, he will be operating from a position of weakness.

As long as Hue Jackson is his coach, he has no chance whatsoever to convince Smith that Cleveland and its Pit of Misery (dilly, dilly) should be his next stop.

Yes, he has more draft capital with which to entice the Chiefs to part ways with the 12-year veteran in a trade. And yes, Smith still has one more season left on his Chiefs contract

But the whole idea of playing for a coach whose very name elicits thoughts of losing, a coach who has somehow convinced his owner that he can erase the dys from dysfunction, does not paint the accurate picture.

The losing culture that has plagued the Browns, especially the last two extremely forgettable seasons, resonates negatively around the National Football League. Who would want to play in Cleveland? The only way that happens is they overpay you.

The toxic nature of professional football in Cleveland needs to be cleansed more than just getting rid of a de facto general manager and hiring an honest-to-goodness one.

Smith will have other suitors to be sure, teams that are much stronger than the Browns, much more competitive than the Browns and able to surround him with the kind of talent with which he would be much more comfortable.

Dorsey’s ability to sell his new team to Smith will be challenged with Jackson lurking in the background. That, of course, is assuming he is in the GM’s crosshairs. And why wouldn’t he be?

Smith is coming off his best statistical season, throwing for 4,043 yards, 26 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Known for his ball security, he has thrown fewer picks in the last three seasons (21) than DeShone Kizer tossed this past season (22).

He has been a 60% or better quarterback the last seven seasons from an accuracy standpoint and has single-digit interceptions for each of those seasons. His touchdowns-interceptions ratio over that span – 132-43.

Smith would be the perfect bridge quarterback to whomever Dorsey selects with the top pick in the college draft in April. He know what that’s like, having been in the draft room when the Green Bay Packers took Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 draft.

Rodgers sat, watched and learned from Brett Favre for three seasons before taking over in 2008. Whomever Dorsey picks this year will be afforded the same opportunity as the new GM rebuilds the team.

His current team needs an injection of new faces, new voices, new attitude, new just about everything and that will not – and cannot – be provided by a coach whose very presence screams losing.

There will be nothing new about this team if Jackson remains in his current position. And the fact Dee and Jimmy Haslam III stubbornly refuse to take off their blinders only exacerbates the problem.

There has been some pushback from the fans, but obviously not enough to cause the Haslams to budge.

If they want to get a feel from their fan base, it would behoove them to give that base a platform from which to vent one way or the other. Plug into the dwindling season ticketholder consistency. Canvass them. Give them a voice.

Dorsey right now is operating with one hand tied behind his back with Jackson still around. He needs a better shot at doing the right thing as he launches his effort to replicate in Cleveland what he did in Kansas City.


  1. Spot on Rich. But, what else can we fans do but hope Dorsey is successful?

    1. The word "hope" is not in the Browns dictionary!

  2. I look forward to seeing some 'magic' from Hue Jackson, in 2018. Perhaps he could throw himself under a virtual bus and then disappear?