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Different performers, same old song and dance

December 30, 2013 - Shaunna Dunder Hershberger
Apparently, among the "improvements" made by the new Browns front office in 2013 was the installation of a revolving door to the head coach's office. Well, check that. I think that door's been there for a while.

Different front office, same season-end result. But this time the Browns didn't even give first-time and first-year head coach Rob Chudzinski the opportunity to right the ship in his second year. They fired him a mere five hours after the Browns season ended. Don't let that revolving door hit your backside on the way out!

Cleveland's current front office regime is run by characters of questionable morals. Owner Jimmy Haslam, when he's not fighting off lawsuits around his Flying J franchise, seems barely interested in football. He just happened to have an extra billion dollars laying around, woke up one morning and thought, "You know what? I think I'm going to buy a football team."

CEO Joe Banner did not bolt Philadelphia on the best of terms, and GM Mike Lombardi served as nothing more than a glorified secretary to Al Davis and was a football analyst/sports writer before being plopped into an important front office position for the Browns. Does it seem to you like we've just got a bunch of "good old boys" running a team because they thought it might be fun? Three buddies who have nothing else to do except throw money around and experiment with team management at the sake of an already hexed franchise?

And so, we've written another woeful chapter in Cleveland Browns history. The "factory of sadness," a popular moniker for the franchise, is the punchline of every NFL joke. Is it any wonder? Since returning to the league in 1999, the Browns have had SEVEN head coaches: Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Terry Robiskie (although he only coached half a season after Davis resigned), Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur and Rob Chudzinski. The next new coach will be the eighth head coach in 15 years.

The current longest-tenured head coach in the NFL is, no surprise, New England's Bill Belichick. Billy-Bob has been in this gig for 14 seasons. The second longest-tenured active coach is Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis, who has been with his team for 11 seasons. Tom Coughlin with the NY Giants squeaked in at the 10-year mark with the conclusion of this season. Belichick led New England to 12 playoff berths, 11 AFC East titles and 5 Super Bowls (he won 3 of those 5). Couglin led the Giants to 5 playoff berths, 3 NFC East titles, and 2 Super Bowl titles. Lewis led the Bengals to 5 playoff berths and 3 AFC North titles. Consistency. Something lacking in the vocabulary of the Browns front office.

How can a core group of players expect to hit the reset button year after year? It takes time to learn a new offense, a new defense... it certainly takes at least more than one season. Even Pat Shurmur, who barely looked conscious on the sideline at times, was given two seasons in Cleveland.

Clearly, Chudzinski was a placeholder for that "big name" guy Haslam and Co. couldn't reel in last off season. They wanted Chip Kelly. Chip Kelly flirted with them but ultimately chose Philadelphia. The Eagles, if you're keeping score at home, won the NFC East this year.

The fact that Chudzinski was able to win 4 games with the cast of characters he had in place with only one real skilled position threat - Josh Gordon - is downright unbelievable. This man should be knighted for sainthood if he can manage a win with Brandon Weeden at the helm. Brian Hoyer looked promising at quarterback until he suffered a season-ending injury. Weeden came in that game to seal up a win, and that was the last time the Browns tasted victory in 2013. And, oh yeah - about those quarterbacks. The Browns have had 20 different starting quarterbacks since 1999. Consistency? Not so much.

Chudzinski also pulled the trigger on the then controversial but now smart looking trade of Trent Richardson. The only problem there was the Browns had no backup plan - there was no real running game in place. However, they did add another first round pick to their slate of 10 total draft picks. That's great, but that's also banking a whole lot of faith in one draft class.

Browns fans know the phrase "next year" very well. We've heard it ever since the dramatic exit of the team to Baltimore in 1995, when for a while, we weren't even certain there would BE a next year. My patience is thin. I'm wondering when the front office and players are going to adopt the phrase "this year"? Next year certainly appears to be a rebuilding year - again - so I guess we're already going into the 2014 season saying "next year." And we're going to keep saying it until we've got some consistence across the board -- front office and field.

This franchise is so messed up, they would probably fire the great Paul Brown. Oh....wait.....


Article Comments



Dec-30-13 7:52 PM

Pretty tough on the Browns organization. The current owner, Jimmy Haslam, certainly has invested a giant sum of money and has a background of interest in football. the coaching choice last year was an error and clearly, the Browns need a high profile and highly successful head coach. Making the move now will position the Browns for the future. Be calm, be supportive, and this will likely be the move to truly advance the Browns.


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