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It's Time for Jimmy Haslam to Take Back Control of the Cleveland Browns
Heading into their "min-bye week," the 2-7 Browns are trying to find answers to several questions. How are they going to fix their 2nd half collapses? How will they fix their 32nd ranked rushing defense? And then there's the perennial question every regime has faced since the rebirth of the team in 1999: what are they going to do at quarterback? In his Friday teleconference with the media following the 31-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Pettine reiterated that he is going to start the quarterback that gives them the best chance to win. He explained that he will not be inviting owner Jimmy Haslam or General Manager Ray Farmer to the meetings to make this decision since “those are coaching decisions."
The Browns are 3-13 over their last 16 games. Although not mathematically eliminated, the season has no hopes of a playoff birth. Haslam must know what we all know: all decisions by the current coaching staff are now for self-preservation and not what's best for the long-term success of the Cleveland Browns.
The season is virtually over. Poor decisions by the general manager and poor game management by the head coach are leading to the likely house-cleaning we all expect. The only constant in the future of this organization will be its owner.
"Winning a few more games this season with aging veterans will do nothing for the long-term success of this organization"
Haslam's vision and goal for this team has to be long-term success. Winning a few more games this season with aging veterans including a 36 year-old journeyman quarterback will do nothing for the long-term success of this organization. It is time for Haslam to instruct his head coach to play the youth of the organization. Ibraheim Campbell, Duke Johnson, Justin Gilbert, Cameron Erving, and of course Johnny Manziel need the chance to both prove they can play and develop on the field. Josh McCown might give the Browns a better chance to win next week's game. But that is the short-sided thinking that Mike Pettine must be ordered to cease. Winning games might help Pettine save his job but will not help with the precious evaluation of young talent. Playing McCown stunts the growth of the Browns first round quarterback. More importantly, it doesn't allow next year's regime a chance to know if quarterback should be their top priority in the 2016 NFL draft. That alone should not be Mike Pettine's concern. But if he's not going to be in Cleveland, then his concern is irrelevant. Haslam must take control of his organization and do what's best for the future of the Browns. The Browns must play Johnny Manziel for the remainder of the season. The Browns must play for next year.