CLEVELAND (AP) – Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar unloaded on the team’s front office, saying it lacks vision and switching to rookie Johnny Manziel “is a recipe for disaster.”
Cleveland’s best quarterback in the past 30 years and one of the most popular players in team history, Kosar delivered a harsh critique of his former team in an interview with WTAM radio Monday. Kosar, whose contract as a preseason TV analyst was not renewed last summer, condemned the Browns’ current regime.
“They don’t know how to lead and organize and set a culture to play winning football, to win in the NFL consistently,” Kosar said. “You can’t play football like this.”
Manziel made his first start Sunday and played poorly in a 30–0 loss to Cincinnati. Kosar, who led the Browns to three AFC title games, called the Browns’ constant rotation of quarterbacks – Manziel is the 21st starter since 1999 – part of a “systemic” organizational problem.
“They’ve been talking so positively like, 'This is the savior,' and that's what bad organizations do," Kosar said. "They set these quarterback controversies up and it kind of takes the heat off of them and it gives everybody a little glimmer of hope. You can't put these kids in these spots. It's almost abuse." The Browns declined comment. Kosar, who has longed to have a prominent role with the team, never mentioned owner Jimmy Haslam or general manager Ray Farmer directly. But he made clear he believes the problems are tied to the decision makers at the top of the organization. "I'm 51," he said. "At this pace, I'm going to die by 60 and for the last 25 years of my life, all I'm going to talk about is, 'Who do you think the quarterback should be?’ That’s all we talk about. And you can’t fix it until you fix it above it.”
Kosar said first-year coach Mike Pettine is not to blame. The Browns started 6–3 this season under Pettine but have dropped four of five and are virtually out of the playoff race.
“He was hired under this set of rules where everybody gets to giggle and laugh and talk about things and everybody is involved in everything,” Kosar said. “He was hired in a tough, tough spot in a culture above him that is not a football culture. It’s not a winning football culture. It goes above that.”