BEREA—Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer said earlier this season that there wasn’t a disconnect between them. Farmer said that he and Pettine were singing out of the same hymnal.
However, when it comes to Dwayne Bowe, it appears that the two were not on the same page of the hymnal that they were singing from.
Bowe, 31, was supposedly Farmer’s top free agent signing as he brought Bowe in from Kansas City with a two-year $12.5 million contract, which included $9 million guaranteed for this season. Brian Hartline was also brought in as a free agent and Farmer used just one pick in the draft on a wide receiver in the two year’s he’s been in charge of the draft.
Pettine explained that the reason Bowe has been active in just five of the 13 games is basically due to his ability to play just one of the wide receiver positions.
Pettine explained that Bowe plays only the ‘X’ position due to his body type.
“Just from a body-type, skillset standpoint, he is primarily an ‘X’, and that is what he has played,” Pettine said.
He then explained that Travis Benjamin plays the ‘X’ position and that has kept Bowe on the sidelines.
“A big part of it is that (Bowe) only plays the one spot, which is the ‘X’, which Travis has occupied that spot and played at a high level for most of the year,” Pettine said. “Our other guys know multiple positions. Again, it is tough.”
Although, it is true that Benjamin has played at a high level, the two receivers don’t seem to have the same body type at all with Bowe at 6-2, 222 pounds, while Benjamin is listed at 5-10, 175 pounds.
Pettine said Bowe’s problems go back to training camp when he suffered a hamstring injury. There were rumors that Bowe was in danger of being cut and had to show something in the season finale against the Bears.
Pettine refuted that Bowe was in danger of being released, but he has seldom been used this season.
When the Browns lost Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel to concussions, Darius Jennings was elevated from the practice squad and played a big role in the Bengals game, while Bowe was a healthy scratch. Jennings was released on Wednesday. Last week, Terrelle Pryor was active over Bowe and it appears will continue to be.
Recently, Bowe talked about how frustrating this season has been to him.
“There is frustration I am sure on both ends that it hasn’t worked out as we had hoped, that he did fall behind,” Pettine said. “As I have said, each week is a separate story line, a separate set of circumstances that we evaluate. In more weeks than not, he was not in the group of receivers that we were going to have up.
“I know he is frustrated that it hasn’t worked out,” Pettine said. “That is a week-to-week decision that we make. We hit the reset button and talk about who are the guys that we are going to have up and what spots they are going to play. Usually, it is multiple spots. Then I always use the phrase ‘we backfill’ from a special teams standpoint.”
Bowe has been a lightning rod all season for questions to the coaching staff because he was signed to be the projected number one wide receiver, but has just three receptions on the season for 31 yards.When asked about the return of Bowe to the field throughout the season to Pettine and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, the answer has consistently been along the lines of ‘It is a long season’ or ‘He will get his chance’.
The Browns season is down to three games and it appears that Farmer and Pettine were not in lock step—particularly on the move to bring in Dwayne Bowe.