Ask The Insider

Questions about the Browns' front office issues are on the front burner with fans

Question: I hope it's safe to say all these issues — Jimmy Haslam interfering, Ray Farmer texting — were discussed at the retreat.

Also the Alec Scheiner, Haslam sitting in on watching film does not bother me. More of a getting an understanding?

Lane Adkins: I would believe they addressed these incidents. I don’t have an issue with the film, if that is where it starts and ends, anything else is troubling.

Q: We know that the NFL is investigating inappropriate texts from the front office to the coaching staff.

My guess is that the NFL would have to know what exactly was texted, to know if the text message was inappropriate by conferring a "competitive advantage".

Questions:

1) Is there an assumption that the text messages are definitely retrievable, and that the NFL is already in possession of the text messages? Or is the investigation relying on testimony alone?

2) Do the messages have to be proven to have actually conferred a competitive advantage, or only that was a possible if highly unlikely result of the texting.

3) Is the NFL intending to disclose the exact wording of the texts, or is there any reason to believe that the NFL would have a reason to disclose the exact wording of the texts? (This is assuming that they have the exact wording of the texts.)

4) Has Shanahan the younger been interrogated by the league?

LA: I am told the Browns have approved the release of phone messages to the NFL.

Do not have to be specific to competitive advantage, the act of sending/conversing will suffice for the league.

I am told the league is not compelled to release such information. Shanahan has talked to the investigators.

Q: How do the players feel about the past few days with what is going on?

LA: The players aren't overly concerned, they are sitting back, enjoying their time off and hearing reports like most.

JIMMY HASLAM

Q: @NateUlrichABJ: #Browns owner Haslam on drafting Manziel despite red flags: "I don't know how much of Johnny's personal life was known by everybody then."

Is he serious?!?! Oh my Holy Lord...

LA: Haslam has the ability to say the incredible.

Q: So is Haslam more meddling than what Banner was? Is the environment created considered better than without Banner, the same, or even worse?

LA: I'd day we are getting closer to the Banner stage — Haslam's influence on personnel (Manziel) has proven his meddling or influence, the only difference being Banner didn't hesitate on picking players, whereas Haslam hasn't taken that gavel, though he and Alec S have more involved/questioning/learning this area.

Q: So when does Haslam go into rehab for his impatience?

LA: If impatience were the only issue with Haslam, the organization would be in a better place today.

The more I learn about Haslam, the less feel compelled to respect or believe anything coming from him.

Q: I am going to take the other route and defending Haslam as I tried to put myself in his shoes. Haslam spent $1 billion for the Browns. He wants to win and he is also made himself like us a fan. We know we are impatient ourselves. I would in his position having invested the money in owning the team, I would want to be involved also. I would want to learn the inner workings of the NFL team and even learn enough to participate. I may even want a certain style of a team.

It's the owners prerogative to make that choice. Haslam maybe letting his emotions getting in the way of others and may not realize yet what he is causing. I cannot blast Haslam in being aggressive in wanting a winner, and I am sure many others want a winner also.

If Haslam gets us a winner I wouldn't care about the mistakes he has made during his process of learning to run the team. The media needs to stop their witch-hunt.

I believe it's 75% their opinion and 25% fact, with sensationalism thrown in. If the media didn't exaggerate and sensationalize their articles or radio programming, and stayed strictly with the facts, they would be dull and boring and unreadable and un listenable.

In any work environment, there are always an employee or two who don't get their way, they become trouble and that could be happening in Berea. We should want an owner who really wants to win, and cares.

We were critical of Randy for being standoffish concerning the team, which way do we want it?

Haslam has the right to put his stamp on HIS team, as long he is making an effort to make this team winner. That is what I care about.

LA: You hire people to do specific jobs within the organizational structure. You don't have people attempting to do the jobs of others, especially when the qualification is not established.

You're right, this is Jimmy Haslam's team and he has basically done what he has wanted. Haslam has not stabilized the organization as a whole, though the continued dysfunction we see and heard about is likely to minimize with the hiring of people believed to be trustworthy.

Q: Lane you stated in an earlier post:

"The more I learn about Haslam, the less feel compelled to respect or believe anything coming from him."

I just can't buy into all the slants from Jason LaCanfora and the retread articles coming out from just about everyone in the country but coming from you I take

this as a serious statement.

Can you give us a little bit more about what it is that makes you feel that Haslam is untrustworthy and a person you don't respect?

Also from the Fast Lane - I get that there was pressure from the FO that Manziel should play, but, Hoyer was so bad at times at the end it seemed like

we almost had to give the kid a try. He failed miserably but Hoyer was just slightly better. Was Pettine still trying to make a case for Hoyer to start after

Week 14 and he caved do to the FO pressure?

LA: My belief is Pettine was reluctant, but came to the conclusion that it was possible he was missing something on Manziel -- through he did not believe so and hoped Manziel would show much more than he did on the practice field.

Q: So do you believe Haslam is just too much in the way and is too much of a meddler to allow this team to grow?

I get that he got in the way last year, but was he also overcompensating for having Banner run the show (do to the Flying J mess) and mess up the FO/coaching

staff relations (not to mention the FO/player relations) in year 1?

I mean if I trusted someone to run my business while I was away and they F'ed it up I would definitely be more hands on after that. Is trust the issue with Haslam or is he just another Dan Snyder?

Another question is are we going to make a real play for Hoyer in FA? He met with DeFilippo and puts us at the top of his list in FA. I would personally be ok with this for the right money. Then we sign a couple key FA's, resign a couple of our FA's and build through the draft making our defensive and offensive lines strong and leaning heavy on the run game.

Seems like an age old but solid plan for many teams. Then maybe we can draft and DeFilippo can develop a QB over the next year or two while Hoyer holds

down the fort and the team as a whole gets better. It's not sexy, but a solid culture can grow with that. And would Jimmy even have the patience to live with that

plan?

LA: I believe the next few months, heading into the active 2015 season will be telling on Haslam. Hassle talks a good game, but the actions and words haven't meshed to date, that concerns me.

The Browns are interested, for the right price. As it stands, the Browns don't want to pay Hoyer much more than he made this past season -- which won't get a deal done in CLE.

FARMER

Q: I thought the NFL had strict rules requiring management approval for negotiating with coaches currently under contract. Will the Browns file a complaint about Shannahan with the League office?

LA: Hard to prove and they simply want done with him and unlikely to pursue.

Q: In another answer, there was the phrase that the fact that Farmer was the one who texted speakers volumes about the roster, OC, etc. I’d like to tease that out a little more. I guess Manziel would have been one player, but whom else? It really just seems like Farmer is a bit delusional about the state of the offense.

LA: I am told this happened prior to Manziel playing and when he did.

The feel I have gotten from most of this is Farmer's issue was with the OC on a few fronts.

Q: Could Farmer after allowing Haslam to influence the draft, stand up to Haslam and explain why (Farmer’s) way would work best for the team versus Haslam’s mindset, without repercussions to his position?

So many in the media state he must grow some cojones in order to be the GM he was supposed to be, yet it is a delicate line since Haslam does sign his paycheck.

LA: I am told the two men basically had the discussion regarding securing personnel and enabling the GM and staff to do their work.

Q: Is Farmer the fall guy for Haslam for the Manziel debacle and texting during the games when we are to believe Farmer texted on his own when Haslam is sitting beside him during the games without the owners consent or direct instructions?

LA: I would say Jimmy Haslam had knowledge of what was transpiring.

Q: Lane,

1)What are your feelings on Farmer. Or is it to early to judge?

2)Could he be fired after this comes out? Scapegoat or real goat?

3) One short year ago, Farmer was hot, no? But I guess Gase was too

4) Or this is a Haslam issue??

LA:

1. Too early to judge, has done some good, has done some boneheaded things.

2. He could, depends on exactly what is uncovered and what he has admitted to. If the investigation uncovers more, he may be fired.

3. True.

4. It is definitely a Haslam issue, but you simply cannot do what Farmer did -- whether what he did came from his boss or not.

PETTINE

Q: What are/were Pettine's views on the following people/topics:
- KS effectiveness as OC and loyalty to the organization
- Relationship with Farmer
- Alec Scheiner
- Haslam
- Manziel as the QB of the Browns
- Hoyer's use of the no huddle and his return
- DeFillipo and O'Connell

LA:

- Pettine and Shanahan didn't always see eye to eye.

- Pettine and Farmer have a solid working relationship, nothing exceptional, nothing bad.

- I have been told he and Scheiner are OK and doesn't mind explaining the finer points with him.

- I don't know how Pettine feels on Haslam, but do know Haslam likes Pettine plenty.

- Simply does not believe he is ready, his effort must improve and doesn't care for his life-style.

- Thinks highly of Hoyer and would have no problem with him coming back. Believes new OC would be more open to the strengths of the QB.

- In hindsight believes he should have went with his gut and hired DeFilippo last year. As for O'Connell, I have not heard anything yet.

Q: I like Pett. Do you think he gains more say in decisions now? can't wait to hear you Sat. Lull is pretty balanced unlike some Cleveland radio personalities

LA: My understanding is nothing has changed within the organization.

SCHEINER

Q: Does Schiener's involvement into football issues look like the beginning of a play to gain more power in the organization? These moves have happened elsewhere in this league. Thanks for all you hard work.

LA: Some within the organization believe this to be the case, others note he is attempting to gain knowledge of all facets of the game.

Q: Any chance JH has plans for Scheiner eventually becoming say, President of Football Operations in addition to his current duties so that JH himself can be more free to go back to ruining his other business like before? There seems to be a grooming process going on with him on the football side.

How well do Farmer and Pettine get along with Scheiner?

Could this turn into more of a chain of command thing under Scheiner, instead of everybody reporting to a meddling owner?

Is any of this doable, and would you consider this a possible way to upgrade the current calamitous situation by buffering JH from meddling?

LA: I think anything is possible, but Scheiner is the business guy, not the football guy. If they were to place someone in charge of football ops other than Haslam, would rather see a football guy

JOE BANNER:

Q: So our boy Joe gets his dream team in Atlanta with Quinn and Shanahan.

I just think it's odd.

LaCanfora conveniently does a piece, more is leaked. Browns look bad. Atlanta get their guy. I know the kid was unhappy but this sounds a bit like a Banner special to me - or the media orchestration part does and Kyle gets his way out.

Win/win for them and we look bad.

Am I crazy?

And I know it's mostly true but the packaging is what I am questioning....

Probably just me huh?

LA: Nope, not crazy and a Bannersque type move.

MARIOTA

Q: The Browns "cannot" get in trouble with O'Connell tutoring Mariota, Right?

He is just giving his two-month notice!!

LA: Nope.


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