In what seemed like an inevitable decision, the Cleveland Browns officially parted ways with general manager Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine after two seasons following Sunday’s 28-12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The two compiled a 10-22 record during their time in Cleveland. This is the Browns 5th head coach and 5th general manager the Browns have fired since the 2008 season and all the coaches (Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, and now Pettine) have been fired following a season finale loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Many fans and members of the national media will criticize the Browns for blowing it up again for the 8th time since the franchise’s return in 1999 but I feel like this needed to be done. Farmer and Pettine didn’t seem to get along since their pairing together by owner Jimmy Haslam in February of 2014. While it looked like things were great between the two in front of the cameras, it wasn’t great behind the scenes. They couldn’t agree on roster decisions like the handling of Dwayne Bowe and they weren’t in lock step with some of the draft picks made. The quarterback position was also a center of controversy between the front office and the coaching staff over the two seasons. Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer explained some of those moves in an article he wrote on Saturday.
I have received several emails from fans who want to blame nearly everything wrong with the Browns on Farmer. They make it seem as if Pettine were an innocent bystander.
Well, I know for a fact that Pettine really wanted Gilbert in the 2014 draft. He loves cornerbacks.
He favored Karlos Dansby over D’Qwell Jackson. He believed (correctly) that Dansby is better at linebacker in the 3-4 defense than Jackson.
He also wanted Donte Whitner as a safety.
The big moves on defense such as drafting Danny Shelton this season, Gilbert in 2014 and the free agent signings were a product of Pettine and Farmer working together.
Not long after being hired, Pettine talked about his excitement about coaching Barkevious Mingo (drafted in 2013 by the Browns). He went on record on how he’d hoped Buffalo would draft Mingo when Pettine was defensive coordinator with the Bills.
I think ultimately the trust between Pettine & Farmer broke with the “Textgate” scandal when Farmer was texting coaches and other personnel making suggestions on playing decisions. I can understand Farmer was a former player in the league and felt like he could give his opinion on situations in the game but you need to let the coaches do their jobs, if he didn’t trust them then he needed to go to the owner and maybe Haslam would’ve made a change last season and let Farmer hire his own head coach.
I just hope that the “new regime” can get the coaching decision right this time around but I’m not getting my hopes up. I bought into Rob Chudzinski and Mike Pettine, three years later the Browns are right back into the same situation they were in when they fired Pat Shurmur. Jimmy Haslam needs to get the right people in place and give the people at least four years to build their vision. He can’t keep blowing it up every two seasons and expect to get better.