The 2-10 record that the Cleveland Browns own tells us that they’re not a good football team. The recent words from Coach Mike Pettine point to a problem that goes well beyond a poor win-loss record.
Pettine said a lot, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com but a few things jump off of the page.
“We have to be brutally honest with ourselves and brutally honest not just looking in the mirror but to other parts of the building as well because if you’re going to be successful, your building has to be unified. That’s a big part of it. That’s where the plan starts, and that to me hopefully will drive what changes need to be made.
Additionally, when asked if the building is unified, Pettine said:
“It’s hard to be at this point. It’s human nature. When things don’t go well, everybody has a tendency to kind of bunker in and get into that mode. …we need to make sure that we’re picking the best ideas and pushing those agendas moving forward.”
One has to believe he’s referring to Johnny Manziel as one of those “we need to make sure” ideas, given his apparent distaste for the second-year quarterback. He said Monday that he’s “not prepared to name the starting quarterback” for Week 14, even though everybody and their mother knows it’s going to be Johnny Football.
However, to an extent, Pettine is right. When the team isn’t winning, it’s difficult to be unified. But there are plenty of bad teams out there and you don’t really hear so many consistent reports of dysfunction from most of them. Reading Pettine’s words, it’s hard to believe that he is going to be coaching the Browns beyond this season.
The dysfunction explains the Browns record since 1999. If Pettine is fired, the new coach would be the ninth man (plus one interim) to lead Cleveland since they returned to the league. Personally, I think Pettine deserves a third year and that the front office problems are far more responsible for their record.
When an NFL team has a bad coach, they have a bad season or two and if they make the right hire, they’re good again within 1-2 years. Things happen that fast in the NFL. But when an NFL team has a bad, divided front office, they lose pretty much every year. When they replace a coach, they have a problem that goes much deeper.
Until the Browns develop a more unified front office with everyone pointing in one direction, they’re going to lose a lot more than they win, and there’s no coach out there good enough to change that.