The Browns fired Hue Jackson. Finally. Praise be.
With that, just one question comes to mind: What the hell took so long? What is this organization doing? Does this hurt Baker Mayfield? WHY IS THE ORANGE ON THEIR HELMETS MORE ORANGE??
Ok, so maybe more than one question. But here's the most important one: What kind of business are Jimmy and Dee Haslam running here?
Yesterday, I was explaining to my girlfriend why the Haslams are terrible owners of a sports franchise. She doesn't know anything at all about sports, so I had to get creative. This is the analogy I gave her:
Take Wal-Mart, for example. At the bottom of the chain, you have cashiers, stockers, and the people that weirdly greet you at the door when you walk in. Then you have your managers, who are in charge of overseeing the day to day operations and making sure everybody is doing their jobs. Then you have the store owners.
Imagine everybody individually reports directly to the owners. Oh, looks like the floors haven't been mopped properly and somebody noticed they were dirty, report it directly to the owner. The owner comes back to the manager, "Hey, did you know about these floors not being properly mopped?"
"Well, no," the manager replies, "It was never brought to my attention." And everybody looks incompetent as a result. The manager isn't happy because somebody went over his head and reported an issue that could've been handled within the store. The owner isn't happy because his floors aren't properly cleaned. Now, you have a rift in the building and a lack of trust.
The Haslams lead a power structure that is unique and dysfunctional. The head coach, the GM, and the team president all report individually, separately, to the owner. You have Hue Jackson in press conferences after close loses, talking about a lack of talent and having to work with the hand he's been dealt (last year). Who do you think he's talking to? Does that seem like a recipe for a winning culture?
The Browns had every opportunity to start this whole thing over:
Picture this: It's January and the organization has just fired Sashi Brown, the latest in a laundry list of Browns' general managers since 1999. They have the 1st overall pick in a draft filled with elite quarterback talent. Perfect time to blow this thing up and start fresh.
Seriously, take the dynamite you have, then double it, douse the building with gasoline, and light a match. Light all of the matches you have. Boom. Goodbye. 1-31 over the past 2 seasons. 1 win out of 32 games. That's 1 more win than I have.
So the Haslams decide they want to hire a GM, but on one condition: You must retain your historically bad coach.
I'm sorry, what? Al Saunders will become the 5th head coach of the Cleveland Browns since the Haslams bought the team for $1.05 billion in 2012. They paid a hefty price to have this sort of decision making. It's their business to run right into the ground if they please to do so. And make no mistake, they have done everything in their power to do just that.
But why? This is the 4th head coach they've fired in 6 years, shouldn't it be time to take a look in the mirror?
When you hire a veteran, accomplished GM such as John Dorsey (the architect of the juggernaut that is the Kansas City Chiefs), it's ABSURD to do so with handcuffs, especially considering the Haslams have gone through 4 head coaches and their latest, Jackson, went 1-31 over a 2 year period. They're lucky that Dorsey accepted the job at all.
The other angle is Baker Mayfield. If you're not fully invested in a coach, which, if you fire him after 8 games, you're CLEARLY not, why subject your rookie cornerstone to a dysfunctional situation and power struggle?
There is a lot of hope and promise surrounding Mayfield and the entire team right now, even after only winning 2 of their first 8 games of the 2018 season.
But as long as Jimmy and Dee Haslam continue to meddle with decisions that involve football operations, there will always be distrust and dysfunction surrounding the Cleveland Browns.