A history of impatience with coaches, General Managers, and team presidents has caused Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to swing the other way when it comes to the current configuration of the football operation. With the team at 1-19 since 2016 and in grave danger of falling to 1-20 against the supposedly tanking Jets on Sunday, the pressure is mounting on the entire organization.
As one league source predicted earlier this week, a loss today to the Jets could result in major changes of some sort.
It’s unclear what those changes would be, especially with the bye still three weeks away, after games against the Texans in Houston, the Titans at home, and the Vikings in London.
Yes, London. The place where multiple NFL coaches have gone to get fired. Even if no changes are made following a loss today, an 0-8 start (1-23 since last year) capped by a nationally-televised loss in England could be the last straw for coach Hue Jackson. If the last straw even lasts that long.
If change becomes before then, it could happen elsewhere in the organization, like what the Lions did two years ago when firing G.M. Martin Mayhew and keeping coach Jim Caldwell during the season. When executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown said this week that the team’s rebuild is still ongoing, the intended audience possibly wasn’t fans and media who dubbed him Captain Obvious but ownership, which has bought in to a Crock-Pot process but which as some point is going to want to lift the lid and try the veal.
Some in league circles have pointed to the Browns’ obsession with stockpiling draft picks as a way to create the perpetual perception that the best is yet to come, thereby avoiding accountability for current struggles. At some point, however, those picks need to become players who can perform in a league full of parity. The “sorry, but we have too many young players” routine won’t work for much longer, especially with young players on which they passed (like Deshaun Watson) tearing up the league almost instantly.
A win today would at a minimum delay what could be inevitable at this point. Those repeated claims of a lack of dysfunction between the coaching staff and the front office are becoming less believable, and they’re starting to give rise to an even bigger question: If the Browns are 1-19 with a coaching staff and front office that are on the same page, how bad would this team be if they weren’t?