August 15, 2014

Safe to say Haslam meant what he said regarding changes

Jimmy Haslam seemingly dissatisfied

Some may not like the fact that more change hasn’t occurred with the Browns since Jimmy Haslam took over, but Haslam did say he wasn’t going to change much before the end of the season. There’s obvious value in openness and honesty. When Jimmy Haslam said he wouldn’t make changes until the end of the year, many took a wait-and-see approach. Head coach Pat Shurmur’s continued situational struggles pushed the fan-base – and seemingly the owner – to their limits just to really test the new owner’s mettle. The “gotcha” TV shots of the owner scowling and convulsing in frustration were a strangely welcome sign to fans, but added velocity to the grumbling, fan-perpetuated rumor mill about interim coaches heading into the bye week. And here we are on Monday with the Browns presumably focused on preparing for the 4-5 Cowboys. Ironically enough, as Pat Shurmur remains, the only coaching rumors that are being propogated involve Mike Holmgren taking one last run at coaching with Jerry Jones’ money in his pockets.

Speaking of Holmgren, it is true that Haslam did bring in CEO Joe Banner before the end of the season, but at least on paper Holmgren wasn’t really fired, per se. He’s allegedly aiding in the transition of power between himself and Banner. No, I don’t really believe that either, but all things considered, Jimmy Haslam has mostly tried to keep things as they were for this season since taking ownership of the team. That meant no coaching changes and no changes with the GM. Despite the struggles of the team, I think Haslam’s handled everything pretty well so far in terms of inheriting a “de facto owner’s” regime.

It would feel much better in a lot of ways if Haslam had come in and just started chopping, but there’s no telling how much more painful that would have looked on the field. Currently, this Browns team can’t get themselves over the top to win games that they are able to stay in, but they’re still playing hard and in this day and age of the NFL that’s still saying something. I think most of us truly believe that massive change is inevitable by this point, but inevitable change isn’t any easier to look forward to when Terry Robiskie is coaching your team to its 9th straight loss while being outscored 124-51 to end a season 1-4. And consider that this “finish” was piled on top of a 3-8 “start.”1

The obvious difference was that Butch Davis gave the Browns no choice but to go with an interim coach. Some may say that Pat Shurmur is leaving the Browns no choice either, but that’s just fan hyperbole at this point. The team is bad and by almost all accounts underperforming their talent level, but they do seem somewhat organized at times2 and still giving effort despite their failings.

And in a way all of this is kind of refreshing in Berea. The losing still stinks and the waiting isn’t all that much better, but the honesty looks good painted on the walls. And just think. If Jimmy Haslam means what he says about his process, maybe, just maybe, his process will yield the desired results of putting competitive football in front of Browns fans on an annual basis.

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Footnotes:

  1. The fact that they won their last game against the Texans was a miracle. Lee Suggs went for 131 yards on 26 carries and Kelly Holcumb threw two interceptions. []
  2. Not enough, but at times. Simply pointing out that I think it could and would be worse. []
  • Harv 21

    This is really aggravating right now, like knowing you’re going to have an operation that’s going to hurt and take recovery time but you can’t do it now and get it over with because the surgeon hasn’t been selected and no one’s ready and you’re not even sure you’re going to be better with the surgery than without.

    I will say this though: win or lose it’s more fun for me to watch this season than the last few years because of the promising rookies and second year players. So much more entertaining than Mangini ball or weeks without touchdowns like last year. Since ’99 the best player on the Browns has often been Chris Gardocki, Dave Zastudil or Phil Dawson. That really says it all.

  • AMC

    Call me ridiculous, but I truly believe this Browns team is a competent head coach, a defensive playmaker, a reliable possession receiver and a free agent signing in the secondary away from actually being pretty good. I think it’s actually hard to overstate how much Shurmur’s incompetence hurts this team.

  • JHop

    Chip Kelly, Jarvis Jones, Danny Amendola/Wes Welker, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie/Jason McCourty

  • Ike

    I have to disagree that the Browns are under-performing to their talent level. The Philadelphia Eagles are under-performing their talent level, the Dallas Cowboys are under-perfoming their talent level. The Browns don’t belong in that category, because their talent level just isn’t that high. Maybe you could argue that if they were 0-9, but both their wins are against teams I still believe to be superior to the Browns. Sure, the Browns have commited self-inflicted wounds that have literally cost them games; but being inconsistent is a necessary evil of a young/inexperienced football team. The Browns roster is decidedly inferior to any other roster in the division and, in my opinion, every opponent they’ve faced thus far this season. That’s just reality. These guys are playing their tails off, though, and they’re certainly headed in the right direction; probably the main/only reason I continue to watch each Sunday.

  • Kildawg

    What if defensive playmaker is a draft pick that bodes well in the secondary (FS, maybe CB2 or NB (nickel back))? Right now our biggest weakness is the HC position. Why is Short-Bus Shurmur still our HC?

  • Harv 21

    agree. The HC may have cost them a win but as far as player performance can’t think of one who’s not doing as well or better than I expected at this stage. Mary Kay Cabot penciled in Greg Little and Joe Haden to the pro bowl, not me.

  • BenRM

    Chip Kelly is going to be an awful NFL coach.

  • NamedMyKidPrice

    No on Chip Kelly. No defense runs an offense that would not work in the NFL. Jarvis Jones yes. Amendola/Welker im over the moon. DR-C or McCourty equal major upgrades. I think if you replace Chip Kelly with Nick Saban and you’ve picked yourself a winner Bobby!

  • mgbode

    No defense? you haven’t watched Oregon much. despite being down 5 DL right now, they are still doing allright. yes, they give up yards/pts as their offense keeps them on the field, but on a per play basis their defense has been pretty good.

    it’s all speed & disruption based much like their offense.

    —————————

    now, can he adjust his offense to the NFL? that I do not know. i’m open to the idea though because I like new ideas and expanding the horizon’s (that is how you jump from really bad to good. Paul Brown and Bill Walsh changed how the game was played – I’d love to have a coach who did that here again).

  • mgbode

    hate to not show numbers to back up what I say:
    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/fei-ratings/2012/fei-week-10

    Defensive efficiency is right with LSU, SoCar and UCLA. Behind teams like ND, Bama, KState, Florida and Florida State. Ahead of teams like Oklahoma, Ohio State and way ahead of Georgia, A&M and Nebraska.

  • NamedMyKidPrice

    I dont know about Chip Kelly in the NFL. Would rather see Saban. Just my opinion. Kelly could be the next great mind in the NFL but I just dont see that offense working in the AFCN.

  • mgbode

    the exact offense he is running now? no, it wouldn’t. the question is if he can utilize alot of the concepts and adjust it for the NFL-speed and discipline.

    i have read many good things about his organization, time-utilization (big key in any coaching), etc. things that go beyond just Xs and Os and something we need.

    as for Saban, I don’t think he’s coming back to the NFL. he seems comfortable with the level of control he gets in the college game.

  • http://twitter.com/NG_Travis Travis

    NO NO NO NO NO…. No to Chip Kelly and a BIG FAT NO to Nick Saban. I want a coach who is a proven winner in the NFL, not a proven winner in the NCAA. You saw what Saban did to Miami right? And we all know that Chip Kelly won’t last in the NFL.

    Give me Bill Cowher or John Gruden and it won’t be long before the Browns will be battling in the playoffs.

  • http://twitter.com/DavetheFlash Dave Sholtis

    I love Oregon and Chip Kelly. I think he is a great college coach. He is smart, takes chances and is able to identify talent that can prosper in machince-like system. WIth that said, I want to see him in Eugene next season, not in Cleveland. I believe it is too much of a jump to the NFL for a coach that has zero NFL experiecnce. What he does is not gimmicky, but built to excel in college not in the NFL.
    I do agree, Oregon’s defense is not that bad, the 52 pts for USC is not a good barometer for them. Not to mention, the defense is on the field every game more than the offense. More opportunity for the other team to gain yards and score, especially in blowouts against young player. Sorry I’m rambling.

  • Shrewdness24

    Bill O’Brien or David Shaw… both are leaders who we can build franchise around. O’Brien has the lunch pale mentality that exemplifies Cleveland and Shaw is a more intelligent Tomlin that players will love. Both have NFL experience and come from proven systems (Bellichek and Harbaough)

  • taz

    CHIP KELLY CHIP KELLY CHIP KELLY CHIP KELLY!
    Scott Frost for OC.

    The fact that his offense is completely different than anything in the NFL is THE BIGGEST REASON WHY HE WILL SUCCEED. Chip Kelly is playing football in 2012, where college offenses have slowly rolled together nearly all the successful offensive schemes of the past into a delicious casserole of yards and points. The old boys network of the NFL is largely playing football in the 80s and 90s, only worse: The two-back smashmouth, one back zone run and west coast short passing offenses (and now even some rudimentary spread offense concepts) have all piled together into an amorphous blob of crappy, directionless offense. Few teams have any ‘identity’ on offense and only a tiny handful of elite drop-back quarterbacks can overcome the fact that the schemes are sub-optimal.

    Meanwhile, and perhaps more damning: In a league where the majority of teams are desperate to improve their Quarterback play, wildy talented playmakers who “don’t fit the mold” are either being wholly dismissed out of hand (Tim Tebow?) or unsuccessfully shoehorned into a box (the ‘pocket’ quarterback) that only serves to constrain their talents and reduce their teams’ chances to win. This ‘pocket’ quarterback definition fits Tom Brady and Peyton Manning like a tailor-made suit; And, with some alterations, can be made to drape very nicely on guys like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. The problem arises when Tebow, or Cam Newton or Mike Vick goes to try it on: the clothes clearly don’t fit. Sure, the supreme talent of a Cam Newton might have you momentarily convinced that he can pull off that Peyton Manning suit; until Cam turns to the side and you see his special talents bursting through at the seams, and worse: the fit of the suit is drawing unwanted attention to some of Cam’s ‘less flattering’ features.

    It’s ‘Moneyball’ all over again, with an entire league of “experts” lining up to naysay the guy brave enough to try something different, while silently fearing for their jobs just in case the mad-scientist suddenly makes them all look like dinosaurs. Meanwhile: perfectly good players are watching their talent go to waste because they are ‘undersized’ or ‘played in a gimmicky offense’ or ‘have poor throwing mechanics’ or whatever other meaningless pile of scoutspeak that someone has used to seal the NFL fate of a player who didn’t look the part.

    So yeah, cast my vote for Chip Kelly. We’re the Cleveland Browns. We’ve had 1 fluke winning season in 10. In the 13 seasons since the re-launch, we’ve averaged just over 5 wins a year. AND that is after factoring in the two outlier above .500 seasons! We honestly can’t get any worse… It took the lions 3 seasons to go from an 0-16 nightmare to the playoffs, while Browns fans would celebrate 7-9

    But hey, maybe I’m wrong, maybe Chip Kelly will spectacularly fail in the NFL. But ask yourself this: after more than a decade of consistent uninteresting, uninspiring, difficult-to-watch Browns football, we’re already a failure. Wouldn’t you rather we be a spectacular one?