Lerner Responds To Prez Questions

As the Browns struggle yet again, questions are already arising about the team's new organization. Could a structural change help? We asked, he replied.

There's been a growing crescendo in recent weeks that, with the lack of success thus far by the Mangini & Kokinis combo platter, the Browns are in need of yet another hire.

Not necessarily a new head coach, mind you – although a burgeoning segment of the fan base and media would argue that's exactly what's necessary – but rather the hiring of someone to oversee the whole of football operations, something that's been sorely lacking in the organization since its re-inception back in 1999.

At no point since the team has returned have the Browns had a single football executive who oversaw all of football operations. The Browns have had an inexperienced GM and head coach working for a business executive (Dwight Clark, Chris Palmer, and Carmen Policy), a first-time NFL head coach who was also the de facto GM (Butch Davis), and two supposedly "equal partnerships" of a head coach and GM (Savage/Crennel and Mangini/Kokinis).

None of these organizations, to date, have achieved much on-field success, and with the team's poor start this season, critics are already suggesting that the partnership between Mangini and Kokinis is not working out as hoped.

One possibility is to put an executive in charge of all of football operations, with the team's head coach and general manager reporting to him. That executive would have bottom-line responsibility and accountability for the team's football performance.

This role can have varying titles, like "President of Football Operations" or "Executive Vice President-Football Operations", and has been filled elsewhere with individuals like Bill Parcells (Miami Dolphins) and Ozzie Newsome (Baltimore Ravens).

Of course, the only person with the power to make that sort of organizational change is owner Randy Lerner.  And, at first blush, it seems to be an option the son of Al Lerner may consider.

In response to an email question from theOBR which asked if it made sense to consider hiring a president of football operations or an executive with similar authority, Lerner responded as follows:

"There is no question that the Browns need a credible, vocal leader that is accountable for all levels of performance. Regardless of the title, that person, whether they're in the building currently or not, is a priority."

You can draw your own conclusions as to what Lerner means by that statement, but it certainly seems as if something could be brewing in the upper levels of Berea this offseason.  And it's something that may not sit well at all with those currently holding the reins of power with a vice-like grip.


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