Besides not having a quarterback, change has been the only real constant for the Cleveland Browns over the last decade or so. The Browns have gone through Front Offices, Head Coaches and top assistant coaches like I got through bacon on a Sunday brunch buffet. (I LOVE bacon, just in case you wondered how much that was.)
Yet yesterday Jimmy Haslam made it clear that he wasn't going to blow things up after the season. Instead, he clearly stated that he thinks Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine are the right guys for the job and that the team's record would not decide their futures. He stopped short of guaranteeing their return next year but was very positive about their futures in this media time yesterday:
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What if what Jimmy Haslam said yesterday comes true? What if, when we reach the start of the off-season next year, Farmer and Pettine are still in place and Haslam is proven to be telling the truth yesterday?
Quite a few things actually:
- Pettine will be the first head coach since Romeo Crennel to get three years at the helm. Crennel led the team from 2005-2008 with a record of 24-40. Pettine's 7 wins puts him 2 behind Pat Shurmur and Eric Mangini and two ahead of expansion coach Chris Palmer, all of whom made it 2 years with the team. This Pettine should move into 3rd place, only 4 more wins, in wins since the Browns return. Butch Davis and Crennel, who both at least started 4 seasons as the Browns HC, lead the way tied at 24.
- The 12 draft picks from this season plus the 8 second year players that were brought in last year, will get a chance to flourish under the same coaching staff. Those 20 players are both the foundation of the present as well as the future for the Browns.
- As Kevin Jones pointed out, only 22 players remain from the roster that finished the 2013 season. That means, in camp, Farmer and Pettine have brought in 68 players for their 90 man roster. Another year of Farmer/Pettine means we don't have to have that seismic turnover so quickly.
- The Browns defense, which was great against the pass but bad against the run last year, will get at least a third season in the same system. We expect, with added talent and another off-season in the system, the defense to take a major step forward next year. Switching systems, from 3-4 to 4-3, or just verbiage, would set the strength of the defense back once again.
- John DeFilippo, a first time NFL Offensive Coordinator, would get a second off-season to implement his game plans and indoctrinate the offense in the nuances of his system. For a young coordinator this will be huge for growing his offense the way he wants it.
- Pettine can develop Johnny Manziel at whatever is the best for the young QB, instead of feeling pressure to try to save his job by either playing him or not.
- Would be free agents, like Alex Mack, can be confident that stability is important to Haslam for the Browns. Losing and constant change wears on players and they are likely to look for a way out instead of buying in to the unknown.
- Free agents from other teams are more likely to see Cleveland as a viable option. Obviously losing and the weather has impacted the free agent chase, the former far more than the latter, but wondering if the coach and GM will be around for more than 1 season, based on track record, is very concerning.
For me, this statement (if it becomes true at the end of the season) means this season for the Browns is already a success. While a winning season and the Playoffs are still something I believe is possible, knowing that Haslam believes in Farmer and Pettine is far more important for the long term goals of this team. Hitting the reset button once again just sets us back years and years.
Obviously the Browns need to win, getting a QB that GM, HC and OC all agree on would help, but building around the straight forward and relatively success Farmer and Pettine is key. (Relatively successful: Most predicted 5 or less wins for the Browns last year. They went 7-9.)
It tells you how bad and how much turnover the Browns have been and had that I'm excited about the main decision makers getting a third season. That is where we are and for now I'm going to celebrate Haslam's press conference yesterday. Hopefully his words hold true for next season.
What do you see as the benefit of Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine getting a third season running the Browns?