They're at it again
As unbelievable as it seems, Dee and Jimmy Haslam III, the clumsy owners of the comically dysfunctional Cleveland Browns, keep topping themselves.
From the team that brought you two head coaches fired after one season and a third who was retained after compiling a 1-31 record over two seasons comes this little nugget.
Taking the trope “the more things change, the more they remain the same” to a level well off the charts, the Tennessee billionaires fired General Manager John Dorsey Tuesday, a mere 48 hours after dismissing head coach Freddie Kitchens.
It was couched as a “mutual parting of the ways” after the Haslams sought to reduce Dorsey’s power and relegate him to a lesser role in the front office. Stinging from his unfortunate choice of Kitchens to head the team a year ago, he naturally declined.
In other words, he was fired after losing what appeared to be a battle for power with Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta, who heads the analytics arm of the franchise.
Ever since purchasing the Browns from the Lerner family in 2012, the Haslams have rewarded Browns Nation with six double-digit losing seasons, eight single-digit winning seasons and a 33-94-1 record.
They have been searching for the right culture now for eight arduous years and keep hitting all the wrong notes. In that time, they have fired six coaches and five general managers, a pace that should send up warning signals to anyone seeking those positions.
The Browns are currently in the midst of interviewing candidates to replace Kitchens. DePodesta, who has a strong baseball background, is believed to be a part of that search with the Haslams, who yearn for stability but don’t practice it.
Given what has transpired over the last few days, if not the last eight years, you have to wonder who in his right mind would want to become the head coach of this slipshod franchise? Probably someone just desperate enough to take the job no matter what because he would become a member of an exclusive club, that’s who.
Josh McDaniels, one of nine (at last count) candidates the Haslams seek to interview, is reportedly the favorite to become the new head coach. The Canton native has been the highly successful offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots for many years.
The New York Giants and Carolina Panthers, teams with stable managements, decent personnel and strong ownership, also want to talk with McDaniels. Why would he want to step into the quicksand Cleveland job?
The only possibility that comes to mind is he might want to replicate his time in Denver in 2009-10 when he bombed while in compete control of the Broncos. Working so long for Bill Belichick, who runs a similar operation with the Patriots, might embolden him to try it again.
The son of legendary Ohio high school coach Thom McDaniels is a graduate of John Carroll University in the eastern Cleveland suburb of University Heights and is said to be interested in returning to his home area.
Others on the list of candidates are Robert Saleh, Mike LaFleur and Mike McDaniel, all assistant coaches with the San Francisco 49ers; offensive coordinators Eric Bieniemy, Brian Daboll, Kevin Stefanski and Greg Roman; and veteran NFL coach Mike McCarthy.
Even though he is expected to get an interview, don’t look for McCarthy to venture beyond the first round, not with the dysfunction whirling furiously around 76 Lou Groza Blvd. He has been around long enough to know the next stop should not be Cleveland, where coaches (and general managers) go to die.
Dorsey departs a shade more than two years since signing on with the Browns. He took an awful roster and craftily made it respectable with numerous savvy moves in less than a year. He drafted wisely, judiciously signed free agents and swung a few good trades.
But then he slipped badly on his first shot at appointing a head coach in Kitchens, a journeyman position coach who sort of auditioned for the job, as it turned out, with a strong eight-game stint as interim offensive coordinator in 2018.
What he did not take into consideration was how ill prepared Kitchens was for a job that required a whole lot more than Xs and Os. He was overwhelmed at almost every turn and never recovered. He just didn’t know how to be a head coach.
The Haslams correctly blamed Dorsey for his strange choice and overacted as they have done so many times in the past. They also need to look inward and start putting a lot of the blame on themselves for this fecal show.
Culture, it is said, begins at the top. The trickledown in Cleveland has had a deleterious effect on this franchise for the past eight years. And there does not seem to be any relief in sight.