Browns' Lack of Leadership Fails Johnny Manziel
Drafting Manziel Contradicted Pettine's Vision for Professionalism
"You have a vision of what you want the team to look like, how you want them to handle themselves when they're out of the building"
This was a quote from Mike Pettine explaining his disappointment in Johnny Manziel for his actions over the bye week that led to his benching. This statement defines the lack of leadership and vision of this organization. There is nothing wrong with having the vision of a team of professionals. But when your coach has this vision, and the owner and general manager draft a potential franchise quarterback that completely contradicts the goal of this vision, that screams a lack of organizational oneness. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this is that the organization seems surprised that Manziel goes against the rules and parties too much. Here are some pre-draft analysis from credible sources:
"Has defied the odds and proven to be a great college-system quarterback, but still must prove he is willing to work to be great, adjust his hard-partying, Hollywood lifestyle and be able to inspire his teammates by more than his playmaking ability. Overall character, leadership ability and work habits will define his NFL career. Rare competitiveness and third-down efficiency could carry him a long way, yet he could be challenged to avoid a crash-and-burn scenario if he does not settle down and mature."
"As the saying has gone in personnel rooms for months, you're getting the full Johnny Football package. Don't be surprised if he oversleeps a meeting or gets photographed at a club on a game weekend."
"[Johnny has a ] boatload of off-the-field issues: charged with three misdemeanors in June 2012; it is rumored that he has excessively partied, drank too much and smoked marijuana; ongoing investigation into him being paid for signing memorabilia could jeopardize his eligibility. Commitment to football is questionable; he spent most of the offseason taking advantage of his celebrity status rather than being on campus and furthering himself as an athlete."
Jimmy Haslam's Structure Leads to Dysfunction
The lack of togetherness and a single vision falls on the structure created by Jimmy Haslam once he fired former CEO Joe Banner. Haslam's organizational flow chart is missing a central head. Because of this, the president (Alec Scheiner), general manager (Ray Farmer), and head coach (Pettine) are all equal to one another and only answer directly to the owner (Haslam). It has been clear over the last couple years that Farmer and Pettine do not see eye-to-eye. Need evidence? Pettine has final say on who plays on game day. Some of Farmer's biggest acquisitions are not seeing the field. Those include $9 million dollar free agent Dwayne Bowe, first round picks Justin Gilbert, Johnny Manziel, and Cameron Erving. Common sense will tell you Farmer is not in favor of keeping his picks off the field. This speaks to the disconnect between coach and front office.
It's Time to Choose One Vision for the Organization
Because the structure created has led to this, it is time that Jimmy Haslam steps in and fixes this problem. He has to define the vision for this team and select a GM, head coach and quarterback who fit it. Drafting Johnny Manziel proves the vision was never defined. If the organizational vision is to have a team of professionals on and off the field... fine. Then hire Mike Pettine, draft Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr, and don't even think of drafting the cornerback who has a reputation for bad practice habits and immaturity. If you have an organizational vision to be young, exciting, and risk-taking... great! Then DON'T hire Mike Pettine, draft Johnny Manziel and then embrace his off-field Joe-Namath lifestyle and build a young, fast playmaking team around him.
Drafting Johnny Manziel and not anticipating this "issue" is asinine and proves a serious lack of common sense from the decision makers and those who are in charge of developing him.