Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Quotes to Note: A Cleveland Browns Confidant Speaks on Front Office, Coaching Tensions

A confidant in the Cleveland Browns organization spoke with the OBR, giving us exclusive insight into the tension between the team's front office and coaching staff and how that's impacted the Browns on the field

-- On the disappointing performance, record issue of the Cleveland Browns in 2015.

"We can sit here and evaluate it all we want. You have talent that isn't playing to the level they are capable of or have, you see common mistakes, it comes down to coaching and personnel. Either the coaching isn't good enough or players are playing as well as they can and have, which leads to an issue as to why the problem exists within that locker room, that coaches room."

-- What has been the determining factor for players, such as Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert in not getting the opportunity to play.

"Simply, how can you limit a guy that has talent but doesn't get reps, not even in practice, no excuse other than an issue that is not due to production. There are many in this building that believe the HC gets too personal, too invested in his beliefs and immediacy to take necessary steps with some younger talent which may not be what he wants."

-- When you note, 'may not be what he wants', can you clarify?

"Pettine never wanted Manziel from day-one, he certainly didn't want him, did not want to deal with bringing him along after Manziel's issues in his first season. Pettine was directly involved in Gilbert being here, was turned-off rather quickly, didn't like how immature the young man was and he's never been too receptive in seeing the young man through. You see this type of issue throughout the 'playing' roster. 

-- What are the factors on how the roster is constructed and who is responsible for game-day playing decisions?

"Ray (Farmer) is responsible for the roster, he secures the talent and has done so in/with discussions involving Pettine and the personnel department, but Farmer has control of this specific. Pettine is responsible for the active game roster, who plays, who does not and how."

-- Is there a disconnect, an issue between the GM and HC regarding the utilization of talent?

"Pettine plays who he wants, when he wants and how he wants, which is within his rights -- some within these walls don't believe that may not be what is in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns as an organization overall. Some in this building believe Pettine has made some playing decisions to spite Farmer."

-- To spite Farmer, such as?

"The refusal to play Manziel, the questionable manner which he accepted Dwayne Bowe when he came in and how he was treated, especially after legitimately injuring his hamstring, questioning the toughness of Barkevious Mingo -- those are just three examples."

-- But, should these guys be playing? Are they better than the players we see gaining reps on game-day?

"Bowe and Mingo should be playing, both have plenty to offer. We are size-deficient at WR, Bowe didn't simply forget how to play the game. As for Mingo, he is the best SAM on this roster and it's not close. The HC plays the guy he wanted (Nate Orchard), the key word here is "he".

-- You failed to mention Manziel, is there a specific reason as to why?

"Last year was a complete lost season for him and it rolls down to everything we see today. He doesn't get meaningful reps with the first team unless Josh McCown is injured, he does scout team work which is entirely different in many cases in comparison to what we do here. He is basically a rookie that is supported by his position coach and offensive coordinator, he gets up close and personal work with them, and in the QB room, but you can only be so prepared as an inexperienced player in watching film, you have to live it, learn it at some point and that isn't realistically occurring."

-- Should Manziel be getting the work, the reps, the opportunity to play on game-day?

"Within the question is yet another question. Try and win now with McCown, which the head coach has attempted to do, unsuccessfully or take your lumps going forward knowing the odds of winning decrease but enhance the development properties of a young player(s). Many within the building want to see, know if Manziel, if Austin Davis have the tools to be a successful NFL QB, we simply do not know with any degree of certainty."

-- Is Jimmy Haslam aware of the situation that is brewing within his organization?

"Yes, he has been increasingly active and vocal. He (Haslam) has been rather animated, in a questioning manner with Pettine of late."

-- What steps has the organization taken to resolve the conflict?

"Team president Alec Scheiner has been closer to the situation than anyone had been, he has the most influence with/on Haslam within the organization.

-- Speaking of Mr. Scheiner, is he making personnel decisions as many within the ranks are speculating?

"Alec (Scheiner) is not making personnel decision, though he has actively been close to the offerings within the entire front office, including the personnel department and has had the pulse of what is going on the coaching side."


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