The Browns will hold a press conference at 11:30 am E.T. to discuss the unexpected changes to the front office that they announced on Tuesday morning.
Ray Farmer is replacing Mike Lombardi as the team’s general manager while CEO Joe Banner will be stepping down in the next two months as the organization continues the housecleaning that started with Rob Chudzinski’s ouster as head coach after one season. We’d expect many of the questions at the press conference to be a variation on “What in the world is going on here?” and owner Jimmy Haslam got the ball rolling on explaining the moves in a statement.
“First of all, we wanted to capitalize on the knowledge, experience and character we’re fortunate to have in Ray Farmer,” Haslam said. “Ray has a tremendous football IQ, he’s compelling, and he understands the types of players we need to acquire and develop in order to win in Cleveland. He embraces his partnership with Mike Pettine, which is critical in helping build the right team. Ray will provide excellent leadership in our front office. … [Lombardi] is an experienced and creative NFL executive with a unique ability to see the big picture. He has tremendous instincts and I know he’ll be a valuable addition to any NFL organization. We simply wanted to give Ray this opportunity that he’s earned. We wanted to move forward under his leadership and capabilities. The purpose of these moves is to unify our team with one, unequivocal goal: Provide our fans with the winning organization they have long deserved.”
At the moment, it would be easy to believe just about anything is possible for the Browns except for that outcome. That’s not to say this isn’t the right move for the Browns in the long run, but teams that lack stability don’t tend to be consistent winners in the NFL.
Banner also released a statement, calling his departure from the team “bittersweet.” Confusing would be another word for it, especially after Banner and Lombardi were part of the team’s search for Chudzinski’s replacement. Coming up with an explanation that also explains how this puts the team on the path toward that winning organization would be a good way for Haslam to battle the growing perception that dysfunction is the only thing functioning in Cleveland at the moment.