Browns opt for a half measure

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Half measures never work.

It’s a lesson that was once communicated persuasively by Michael J. Ehrmantraut. And it’s a lesson that has been lost to date on ownership of the Cleveland Browns.

By firing executive V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown and committing to the 2018 return of coach Hue Jackson (who still may join Rod Marinelli as the charter members of Club Oh-And-Sixteen), Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have opted for a half measure, forcing the next person to run the football operation to work with Jackson for a year, even if that person would prefer to hire his own head coach.

That’s how it always works. G.M. wants his own coach. Coach wants his own quarterback. But whoever the Browns now hire as G.M. (or whatever title they give the next person) will be stuck with Jackson, for at least another year.

That necessarily will make it harder for the Browns to hire the best possible candidate, because the best possible candidate will opt for a team where the best possible candidate can hire his own head coach. It’s a point recently made here regarding what the Browns need to do. And, of course, they haven’t done it.

Chances are that they already know who they’ll hire, and that they know that the person they’ll hire is fine with Hue Jackson for at least a year (or, at a minimum, that the person they’ll hire claims he’s fine with Hue Jackson for at least a year). Browns fans should hope that’s the case, because that’s the only reasonable way out of the most recent maze of mirrors into which ownership has willingly placed itself.

It also meshes with the PFT report from October that the Browns had begun reaching out to football executives. Sure, they denied it. But they were doing it, and they presumably now know who they’ll be hiring, eventually.

If they don’t, and if they’re truly starting from scratch with a plan to hire someone who will have no choice but to work with Hue Jackson, Browns fans should get ready for more of the same in 2018.

Then again, maybe they should get ready for more of the same in 2018, anyway.

34 responses to “Browns opt for a half measure

  1. You could do a lot worse that Hue.
    Did Hue actually have a chance for success with the Haslams last hair brain GM hire, and the bushel of crap players moneyball brought in, or rejected?

  2. The Giants job (both the GM job and the HC job) is considered a marquee job, so the decision would be obvious.

  3. NYG a better situation with market and QB settled.
    CLE a better situation with draft picks and cap space.

    A top-notch GM could easily decide to tolerate Jackson for a year and use the draft picks/salary cap to set up his future first-choice HC with a slew of second-year players (this year’s draft class) and maybe QB of their mutual choosing (2019 draft class QB.)

    If next season goes awry you are guaranteed a top-10 pick (QB) and a new HC, which you’ve already “built around” with 2018 class.

    Not a terrible situation.

  4. Let the record show: the first, second and third priority of any GM needs to be “Draft a Franchise QB”

    Sashi had two years and let two future pro-bowlers slip by.

    You can’t strike-out looking in this league. Inexcusable.

  5. The Browns are a joke. Win one game in 2 years and still can’t figure out they need to clean house.

    And for the people who say “oh Hue hasn’t had the talent, he’s a good coach blah blah”, well he’s had a LARGE part in hand picking his offensive talent. The same guys who said Carson Wentz would never be a top 20 QB in the league while Hue boasted a washed up re-treaded Bob the 3rd as the catalyst to revitalize their offense for years to come. The same coach who thought a “fake punt” from his own 30 where the punter and long snapper lined up as tackles to block for an obvious direct snap was a genius idea. After it got blown up in half a second, Hue was standing on the sidelines looking dumbfounded like he couldn’t believe it didn’t fool everyone. The same guy who thought a flea flicker out of his own end zone was a good idea. The same guy who before playing the Pats didn’t preach “it’s a good measuring stick, see how we stack up with the best, excited for the challenge” but instead just said “this sucks, we’re gonna get our butts kicked”, the guy who will have lost 31 games in 2 years, THIS IS THE GUY who Browns ownership looks at and says “yeah, we couldn’t possibly do better than this guy”.

    This is how you change a losing culture? Hue hasn’t changed anything, he’s helped feed into hopelessness deeper than ever. Took a bad team and made them worse. And their solution to build a winning culture is to keep the biggest loser they’ve ever had. Classic Browns logic.

  6. Maybe you hire a GM who is able to adapt to working with different coaches, much like hiring a coach who adapts his system to his players’ strengths ala Sean McVey.

  7. I just can’t help but feel so bad for Browns fans, but in this case I think the change was warranted. Cleveland really needs to do better in the draft, they have had so many opportunities and do not have all that much to show. It would be nice to see the Browns elevate themselves from the doormat of the league status. Factory of Happiness- sounds strange, doesn’t it?

  8. Ever think that its easy to fire a GM after the trade deadline – but before the draft – but at the same time makes little sense to fire the head coach with 4 games remaining on the season, especially if you don’t have an internal candidate worthy of being the replacement?

    Lets see if he isnt also fired once the season ends without a victory…

  9. Hopefully the Cleveland Plain Dealer will use a tabloid type headline about the head coach that says “JACKO WILL BE BACKO”

  10. It’s going to be Marvin Lewis. He’s on the outs in cincy and he has had lots of GM experience because of how the bengals run things. It’s actually a solid idea if they want to become competitive in a short time frame.

  11. Anyone who thinks a “franchise qb” is the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd priorities
    shouldn’t be running an nfl team.

    Any idiots knows a quarterback is NOT EFFECTIVE when he doesn’t have time to throw.

    Any idiot know a quarterback is NOT EFFECTIVE when he doesn’t have any receiving targets.

    Any idiot know a quarterback is GLARINGLY NOT EFFECTIVE when he doesn’t have BOTH.

  12. The Browns are 10th in the league in defense so there must be some talent on the roster. I’d say there’s at least enough talent to win one game. It’s hard to say that the head coach isn’t culpable in this too.

  13. I get it that folks want to pull the plug on Hue but Hue didn’t pass on Carson Wentz or Deshaun Watson. Hue didn’t screw up the trade for AJ McCarron. Hue isn’t perfect but the front office has too much blame for what’s happening now

  14. bigbeniswack says:
    December 7, 2017 at 12:17 pm
    I get it that folks want to pull the plug on Hue but Hue didn’t pass on Carson Wentz or Deshaun Watson. Hue didn’t screw up the trade for AJ McCarron. Hue isn’t perfect but the front office has too much blame for what’s happening now
    ————-

    Plus, Hue wanted Jimmy G. So that’s another one if he works out. Who knows, maybe Hue wanted to keep McCown this year as the mentor, too.

  15. doctorrustbelt – oh yeah, that’s how you build a winning culture. Pass on game changing franchise QB talents that are in your lap year after year. Great plan. Wait until the rest of your offense is loaded with pro bowlers then when you decide you’re ready, go pluck a QB from the franchise tree and you’re good to go, right? Because that’s how it works? Build an offense without the most important cornerstone foundation piece there is? Especially for a team that’s desperately been seeking a franchise QB for decades, passing on the ones that fall right in their lap twice in a row is how they build a winner, huh?

    Look around the league. Texans had the most predictable inefficient offense until Watson stepped in and single handedly made them one of the most explosive dynamic offenses in the game. Then he gets hurt and they’re right back to barely being able to score a TD. But a guy like that wouldn’t help the Browns, huh?

    The Eagles traded UP. The Rams traded UP. The Texans traded UP. EVERY ONE OF THEM DRASTICALLY IMPROVED AS A RESULT. Meanwhile year after year, the Browns trade DOWN and stockpile picks and subpar talents, and they go NOWHERE. You think that’s a coincidence?

    A quarterback is NOT EFFECTIVE when he’s not good enough to be a franchise quarterback, like Kizer, Kessler, Bob the 3rd, and whatever other half measure losers the Browns have tried to Moneyball into success.

    Your logic is entirely backwards. You build AROUND the quarterback, but you have to actually take him first.

  16. Well, they’ve tried the new front office and coach approach every two years already. It didn’t work either. At least they’re doing something new.

  17. Doc rustbelt –

    An idiot knows that you can get the things you need in later rounds and via FA to help a franchise QB much easier than getting a franchise QB via FA or late in the draft (post round 3).

    Until you know your QB and his strengths/weaknesses – you can’t build around him. Left handed QB? Might want a better RT than LT – type of thing.

    First priority is still a QB.

  18. Bill Belichick is still the last Browns HC to WIN a playoff game.

    That’s GOAT status in it’s own right.

  19. It’s hard to tell how effective he has been. The FO did a great job acquiring draft picks but their ability to evaluate talent has not been good. The decision to get rid of so many veterans kept them from being competitive and put them in this bigger whole. Who knows if Sashi or Hue had a bigger hand in picking talent? Are any of the young guys showing improvement. I guess ultimately Hue should be judged on player development. In the end, I think Hue is a great coach who’s presence improves team. I just don’t think he is a great HC because he needs someone to keep him in check.

  20. All this is nice, but as long as Haslam continues to be more focused on maximizing his profits by not spending the Money on talent, all else is moot.

  21. Even if the Browns go 0-16, and Hue joins the 0 for 16 group, by definition, he would not be a “charter” member since the group already exists.

  22. It’s not a totally doomed arrangement. Scot McCloughan joined Washington when Washington already had a coach in place. It actually went well including a playoff appearance. (Bruce Allen ultimately got jealous of McCloughan getting credit and fired him, but that really had nothing to do with the coach being in place.)

    The Carolina GM also inherited the coach and they’re probably going to be a playoff team.

    Not that Browns fans really want a baseball example, but before this most recent season the Minnesota Twins started a GM search with the requirement that the new GM keep the manager. They kept the manager, the manager won manager of the year, and the team made a 26 game improvement and a playoff appearance.

  23. Scott McCloughan. Been saying it for weeks. You won’t even have that problem since he’s never hired a coach or tried to win power struggles. He let that dummy Bruce Allen even throw him under the bus and just kept doing his job for context of how egoless he is. He’ll just fix that roster in a hurry.

  24. Just about every HOF coach in NFL history had their success when they had great QBs, but weren’t anywhere near as successful when they had lousy QB’s. If the Browns hire a guy with a good track record of evaluating QB’s, then I’ll be able to judge Hue Jackson. There is only one coach that I can think of that was truly a great coach without a HOF QB, and his name is Joe Gibbs.

  25. It’s not a half measure. The thing that wasn’t working was fielding a competitive team. Hue on offense and Williams have really long track records of being good coaches. Hue took a 32 ranked offense to 10th Williams took a team to the Super Bowl.

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