After the firings of general manager Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine, the Browns are once again restarting their rebuilding mode. They’re searching for their 9th head coach since the franchise’s return in 1999 and ultimately could be searching for their 25th starting quarterback. A lot of decisions need to be made this offseason but do they have the right people to make those decisions?
Front Office: Jimmy Haslam made a shocking promotion Sunday night promoting Sashi Brown to Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Brown has been with the Browns since 2013 as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. Owner Jimmy Haslam said Brown will have final say on the 53 man roster as well as dealing with the salary cap which Brown was already doing. Brown will also be apart of the search for the new head coach and general manager along with Jimmy & Dee Haslam as well as a search firm that the Haslams have hired who has had success with other NFL teams such as the Seattle Seahawks in hiring Pete Carroll and the Kansas City Chiefs in hiring Andy Reid. I’m concerned with Brown getting such a large promotion when he has no background in football decisions. He worked with the cap so that’ll be good when it comes to negotiating with free agents as well as extending contracts of current players on the roster. But he has no track record of scouting or drafting players. Now, Haslam did make it clear that the general manager will essentially be scouting prospects and setting up the draft board and will report directly to Brown. Now in that scenario, I believe it could work because the general manager could also help teach Brown more about evaluating talent but as of now this doesn’t look like a great idea for the Browns. Brown is big on analytics which is trending towards a major criteria with the advent of Pro Football Focus and other analytical sites but I don’t think analytics can ultimately judge talent on the football field, Brown’s eyes should ultimately be the judge when evaluating talent.
Head Coach: With the new structure in place with the front office, it would be hard to imagine that the Browns will be landing a big name head coach. Someone like a Chip Kelly, Sean Payton or Jon Gruden would likely want to have final say on the roster. Now, Jimmy Haslam told reporters the head coach will report directly to him so that could mean Haslam has already found someone that has agreed to the structure already. Only time will tell on that. Some interviews have been lined up already for the head coaching search, former Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone will interview on Tuesday according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated. Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will interview sometime this week according to NFL Network. Austin would clear the Browns of fufilling the “Rooney Rule” which requires NFL teams to interview a minority. Other names attached to the Browns include Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase and former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
Quarterback: Once again despite it not being the biggest problem on the 2015 Cleveland Browns, the quarterback position is a major question mark heading into the offseason. Josh McCown came in and was a great veteran quarterback both on and off the field but he’s not the answer for the long term future. Austin Davis struggled when he was on the field and despite signing a two year extension earlier this season, I don’t see him being on the roster next season. And then there’s Johnny Manziel, he took some huge strides on the field from where he was in his rookie season. But off the field, the 23 year old still doesn’t seem to get it. We all know about the videos popping up on TMZ and that Johnny Manziel lied to the coaching staff when asked how old the video was which led to his suspension. He returned to the lineup and had a strong performance against Kansas City, making plays to keep the team into the game and spiking his helmet as time expired showing the frustration that he didn’t get one more play to potentially win a game. He allegedly suffered a concussion during the game which kept him out of Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh. On Saturday night, rumors swirled that people seen Johnny Manziel in Las Vegas. Johnny Manziel was required to see the team doctors at the Berea training facility this morning but he never showed up. Peter King from Sports Illustrated reported the Browns are done with Manziel and Manziel wants to play for the Dallas Cowboys. I think Manziel will be cut or traded as soon as possible this offseason and the Browns will be in the quarterback market once again. Notable free agent quarterbacks could include Kirk Cousins, Brock Osweiler, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III. But the Browns have the 2nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and will have the chance to select either Memphis’ Paxton Lynch or Cal’s Jared Goff. The Browns will once again searching for a franchise quarterback this offseason.