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Tag Archives: General Manager

More Changes for the Browns

More Changes for the Browns

Out with the Old…

Another offseason and yet another overhaul for the orange and brown.  That is not surprising, considering what the franchise has become over the past few seasons.  I remember a younger version of myself where I used to think “now they have it right with (enter new general manager, head coach, etc)”.  However, I cannot get hyped anymore regarding changes with this team – at least until they can show consistent winning – and deep playoff runs.  Nevertheless, let’s look further into a few tweaks to the members of the franchise.

New Guys in the Front Office

Following the replacement of Sashi Brown for John Dorsey – they also added Alonzo Highsmith (for the role of Vice President of Player Personnel) and Eliot Wolf (as the assistant General Manager).  The Browns are putting together a front office that is full of “football guys” after years of having members without much experience with the league or football in general.  They don’t have to do much to improve upon their predecessors and can trip and fall over that low bar.

Turnover in Coaching Ranks

Looking at the offensive side of the football, Ken Zampese replaces David Lee as the Browns’ quarterback coach.  Zampese has worked multiple years with coach Jackson in Cincinnati – but was ousted as offensive coordinator last season amid a struggling offense.  That position remains open for the orange and brown and many are wondering if coach Jackson is willing to give up play calling duties.  Stayed tuned to see what route the Browns take for their 2018 campaign and beyond.

After spending seven years under multiple coaches and general managers, the special teams will no longer be headed by Chris Tabor.  I wish him the best as he seems like a nice guy and a passionate coach – but they Browns were not winning games because of this aspect of their team.  I would be surprised (and disappointed) if the special teams takes a step back under their new coach.

Next Steps

The new front office will be busy over the next few weeks attending several collegiate all-star games across the country.  It’s well-known about their assets in the upcoming draft; it would be nice to see the men selecting draft picks actually take franchise-changing athletes who can significantly improve this team.  Five selections in the first two rounds does not come around every year, thus the Browns must take advantage.

Conclusion:  The anger, frustration, and parade are fortunately over for the 2017 Browns and I am moving forward.  I look for a strong increase in talent and play next fall, but many correct decisions must be made by John Dorsey and Company before that happens.

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Can’t Get Excited This Time Around

Can’t Get Excited This Time Around

Struggling to Find Hope in the Cleveland Browns

Historically, I have been excited about the prospect of a new head coach and general manager search for the Cleveland Browns.  The optimism that the new hires will “get it right” and have the franchise was typically apparent for me – no matter if it was Romeo Crennel/Phil Savage, Ray Farmer/Mike Pettine, heck even Eric Mangini/George Kokinis.  However, yesterday’s firings and Haslam’s press conference led me to a poor understanding that the right guys will likely never come along.  I have finally come to terms to accept this.

There’s no hope on the horizon for the Cleveland Browns.  In a matter of days or weeks – there will be a new guy hired to be the general manager and another for the head-coaching gig.  Both will hold a press conference – while they will appear likeable and know what they are doing.  Positive stories will be written in the media about how Jimmy
Haslam may have struck gold.  I hate feeling like an utter pessimist, but I just cannot get on board this time.  For beginners, the new regime will have to prove some semblance of knowledge, including drafting the right guys (most notably a franchise quarterback) in the spring.

Meanwhile, it would be a good thing if we could acquire a coach that has experience and can actually provide us with an edge in tight competitions. I understand that coaches have to cut their team somewhere, but I infuriated with settling for guys who frankly don’t deserve the opportunity.

However, the likely scenario is that one or both of these guys will be unknown (or unwanted) by most teams in the league.  The Browns (and their media) will spin it as a great job by the hiring consultants and Haslam and that the team is revolutionary and trend setting.

As far as the power structure goes; with the coach reporting directly to the owner and Sashi Brown having final say with personnel decisions, I cannot laud nor laugh at this setup.  The Browns are more than welcome to set up their chain of command as they see fit.  I can only go on the past however, and remember that men in the same roles have
failed to execute.  At this point, I do not want to lie to myself and say that it can change in the near future.

I (obviously) hope that I am wrong and the team actually can secure guys who can make this a successful franchise.  Clearly I am still a fan of the team and am intrigued by their each and every move – however it’s past the point where I can trust that any personnel move made was a wise one.  I am not putting down the new hires and am willing to give them a chance, as they have not black marks.  I simply need to see some positive results before I get some faith.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2016 in NFL Season

 

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Browns Finally Catching a Break

Browns Finally Catching a Break

NFL Finally got One Right

The league finally handed down their punishment on the Browns’ General Manager this week.  In the end, the team was docked $250,000 and Ray Farmer will be suspended for four games next fall.  Surprisingly, the team will not lose any draft picks as a result – something that was speculated to occur from some media members.  More surprisingly, I actually agree with the league’s decision on something.  Let’s delve into who why this matter was handled properly by the NFL.

Untouched Draft Board

It was the correct move not to hurt the team during draft weekend. Granted, texting down on the field during games is not a wise decision – but it did not give the Browns any sort of advantage over their opponent.  In fact, you could argue it hurt the team – causing infighting, hurt feelings, and the departure of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (allegedly).  Hopefully what comes from this is that the
general manager makes the most of the team’s ten selections in a few weeks.

Hefty Fine

This should not be a shock to anyone, seeing that the team will forfeit a quarter of a million dollars.  While the only one hurt, monetarily at least, is Jimmy Haslam – you can bet that this will be in the back of his mind should Ray Farm make a poor decision regarding personnel.  I am hoping that in a few years the Browns are an
excellent franchise with many All-Pros and this fine is water under the bridge.  We are pretty far from that being a reality, however.

Four Weeks of Vacation

Another aspect of this ruling is that Farmer will be cut off from all team contact during the first four games of the 2015 regular season. Therefore, not only is he expected to draft exceptionally well but he must also have his “ducks in a row” once the exhibition season ends. The Browns’ final roster heading into the 2015 campaign will likely not be tinkered with for at least one month.  They cannot afford
injuries, and Farmer might want to tell Bill Kuharich and his scouts about a few athletes he has his eyes on (provided they are released during the suspension).

Conclusion:  Many Browns’ fans should feel relieved that their favorite team did not foolishly surrender any selections during the upcoming draft.  Although, the franchise’s general manager will have many eyes focused squarely on his moves this upcoming offseason.  Like many signal callers that have donned the orange and brown in the past decade and a half, the guy in charge might be on a “short leash”.  The franchise is more than due for a guy in that scenario to actually become successful at his job.

 

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Got a Warm and Fuzzy Feeling…Browns’ Scouting

Got a Warm and Fuzzy Feeling…Browns’ Scouting

First-Time Feeling Confident in Scouting

While there are changes (again) to be made to this coaching staff, for the first time in quite a while the general manager and his scouts remain intact for the Cleveland Browns.  Regardless of who is on the field, there are many men in charge to choose the best (former) collegiate athletes to bolster this roster.  There were several seasons where the team was partially represented or not at all during all-star weeks.  Fortunately that is not the case in 2015, and that makes me content with Ray Farmer’s plan of action.

East-West Shrine Game

The perceived “lesser of the two” contest between some of the better athletes occurs at St. Petersburg, Florida.  Typically, these guys are not drafted too high in April – but it would be wise for the Browns’ front office to still study this pool of guys.  The later rounds of the draft and free agent pickups are usually where these football players are selected.  Just looking at last season; Isaiah Crowell, Taylor Gabriel, and K’Waun Williams are three guys who the Browns scooped up following the draft.  All three were integral to the team’s success at different parts of the 2014 campaign; can Farmer make note of some under-the-radar guys and have them don orange and brown in the fall of 2015?

Senior Bowl

Mobile, Alabama is typically where most of the NFL travels to in late January.  Coaches, general managers, and television outlets (i.e. NFL Network) all converge to see which top college seniors can improve a professional franchise.  These athletes can be chosen anywhere in the draft, from the first round to a free agent acquisition.  A huge part of scouting centers on understanding the personality of a young athlete – specifically how he treats football.  Is the game a nine-to-five job where the guy is looking to collect checks?  The Browns’ roster has been saddled with those types of players over the
years.  Or, is football a passion and desire of the NFL prospect? Will the athlete study the sport (especially when few others are) and work hard to be the best in the world at his position?  Does he make good decisions, both on and off the field?  I do not want to see any more Johnny Manziel-type of players on this roster; a guy who emulates Russell Wilson would be a tremendous start.

The Browns’ Status

Ray Farmer and his scouts have now gone through an entire calendar year in their current roles with the team.  They should have a good feeling as to whom to look at and which guys should be avoided in the next few weeks.  Of course this is an inexact science, but I have faith that the general manager has the tools and resources to make sage decisions during draft weekend.  If the Browns allow him to “take the bull by the horns” and run this draft, Farmer should be able to secure solid athletes consistently.  One can debate the value of his two picks in the first round in 2014; however 2015 allows him two more shots to redeem himself (meanwhile Gilbert and Manziel still have time to improve).  All that said, I feel much better at this time than I have since 1999.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Offseason, Players

 

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A New-Look Draft for the Cleveland Browns?

A New-Look Draft for the Cleveland Browns?

How the Front Office Turnover Impacts the Draft

After hearing about the change in leadership (from Joe Banner and Michael Lombardi to Ray Farmer), my vision of the Browns’ draft board changed significantly.  Envision an Etch a Sketch with a finalized picture on it and then shaking it to erase everything (that may be a little extreme, but that’s where I am at).  Many media outlets had the draft selections pegged under the old regime; the same cannot be said under Farmer.  A major reason is due to his inexperience as a general manager and the minute information many have about him – including the types of players he supports, dislikes, etc.  Let’s see how the draft weekend will be different now for the Cleveland Browns than it would have been under Banner and Lombardi.

Free agency may affect the draft more this year:

The previous regime did not have to deal with several expiring contracts for top-tier free agents, as well as whether to keep or release multiple tremendous athletes.  With the statuses of Alex Mack, T.J. Ward, and (to a lesser extent) D’Qwell Jackson unknown, as well as decisions to be made surrounding Davone Bess and Greg Little – Ray Farmer will have a tough time in the next month.  He will have a larger assemblage of both solid options to re-sign or acquire and underperforming guys to release.

Having said that, whether the general manager re-signs veterans or not will force the team to alter their draft selections based on the team’s needs.  Will Farmer try to sign several free agents in dire areas or use the draft?  Additionally, could he replace athletes he got rid of with other free agents or go with some fresh out of college?  It’s safe to say that the choices made in February and March will greatly affect what the team tries to accomplish in May.

The fourth overall selection is a wildcard:

If you have been reading my previous articles, you sense my strong impression that the team will no doubt select a quarterback with their first draft pick.  Following the front office overhaul, that still may be true – but I am far from confident about what the franchise is thinking (which is probably a good thing).

The new general manager, ironically, reminds me of coach Pettine; a no-nonsense, detail-oriented, hard worker who is focused on the team concept.  Clearly the franchise needs their future signal caller, but both men in charge strive for the best athletes possible – regardless of position.  That is my speculation after hearing the general manager’s interview on “Cleveland Browns Daily”.  I anticipate some tough, physical guys (on both sides of the ball) will be selected by the Browns during the draft.  Which guy, especially with the fourth-overall choice, continues to be a mystery.

Trades could be plentiful, but in different ways from last year:

In 2013, the Browns were a part of a few trades during the draft weekend.  Two of which were surrendering current selections for future ones, and while those were successful (securing an earlier-round choice as a result), I do not expect that to occur again in 2014.  However, I could still envision moving up to obtain a talented athlete or dropping some spots in order to gather additional options.  There were rumblings that those in the league would be more open to “work with” the Browns now that a change was made in the front office.  Assuming this is the case, the odds are likely that there will be movement by the Cleveland Browns.

The odds of hitting on late round picks increased:

This is not a knock on the past regime, but after listening to the new general manager and others who have met the guy, Ray Farmer comes across as a passionate football guy who eats, sleeps, and breathes the sport.  Much has been made of the Senior Bowl week and how he was the lone representative for the organization there.  Being with the Browns for an entire year, he should have a good handle on what the team needs as well as the value of draft prospects.  Granted, last year’s draft was smaller due to trades but the team only got one guy (Armonty Bryant in the seventh round) who made an impact during the season.  I have an extreme amount of confidence that the new guy in charge can pull some playmakers in the later rounds – they may not be day-one starters but should definitely help the team.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Front Office/Coaching, NFL Draft

 

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