This is a great article. Surprisingly even keel, he blames both parties equally, and also senses that it isnt over, he thinks they can still pull out of this together.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Scribbles in my Browns notebook after listening to the press conferences of General Manager Ray Farmer and Coach Mike Pettine:
1. Farmer didn't hire Pettine. Farmer didn't even interview Pettine before he was named coach of the team. It was former Browns CEO Joe Banner who hired Pettine.
2. Farmer also was hired by Banner. He was named the Browns assistant general manager in 2013. He was away doing a lot of college scouting at places such as the Senior Bowl when Pettine and others were being interviewed for the Browns coaching position.
3. So Pettine and Farmer really didn't know each other when they were thrown together on February 11, 2014. That's when Owner Jimmy Haslam fired Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi. He then promoted Farmer to general manager. No one would suggest that was the ideal way for the owner to handle this situation. Haslam just fired Banner, who just hired Pettine.
4. Pettine was hired on January 23, 2014. So nearly three weeks passed before Haslam decided to shake up his front office with the firing and the promotion of Farmer. The point? Neither Farmer nor Pettine saw the shake-up coming.
5. Banner was CEO, all major business and football decisions ran through him. Banner received input from people on his staff in both areas. But he had the final say, and was accountable to Haslam.
6. With Banner gone, Haslam set up a new business model. Team president Alec Scheiner was put in charge of the business side. Farmer was placed in charge of player acquisition. He made trades, ran the draft and picked the 53-man roster. Pettine was put in charge of coaching, picking the 46 players to dress on game day and making all coaching decisions.
Browns' GM Ray Farmer: 'My seat is no warmer than the day I got it' Cleveland Browns General Manager Ray Farmer met with the media soon after the trade deadline passed with no activity and shared his view of the Browns at the mid-season point. Dave Andersen, cleveland.com
7. It is inaccurate to say that Farmer doesn't confer with Pettine. Consider the first pick they made together -- Justin Gilbert. Pettine absolutely loves defensive backs. He has at least 10 on his roster. That goes back to his days in Buffalo and with the Jets. So it's unfair to say that picking Gilbert at No. 8 in 2014 was solely a Farmer decision. Both men wanted the cornerback from Oklahoma State.
8. I'll never know exactly how the decision to draft Johnny Manziel was made. Farmer has said it was his call. I have no clue what Pettine thought about it. Obviously, Haslam was intrigued by Manziel. But the Gilbert pick was a pure football decision. Gilbert's failure to become even a trusted reserve defensive back should be blamed on both men.
9. As Tuesday's trading deadline came to an end, it was odd when Pettine said he "wasn't involved" in trade talks that he was "in game-planning meetings." If Pettine means he was not on the phone with Denver when Joe Thomas was being discussed, that makes sense. There should only be one voice negotiating with the other team.
10. Pettine later was asked if Farmer "operated independently with trades," and the coach replied, "No, not at all." Pettine also said "Yeah," when asked if he would be "consulted before a trade." I sincerely doubt that Pettine had no idea about trade talks, as some media people have speculated. He may not have liked the idea of dealing Thomas, but he was aware of the general talks.
11. When a team is 2-6 and has lost 11-of-13 dating back to last season, there will be tension. When two men were tossed together in a football version of a shotgun marriage (as is the case of Pettine and Farmer), there will be strain when a team is losing. That happens even in the classic GM/Coach relationships when things are going reasonably well.
12. This is Cleveland. The team is failing on two fronts. Farmer's first-round picks have not delivered talent immediately ready to play. Pettine's defense has been a major failure. It is much worse this season than a year ago, no matter what stats you use. Furthermore, more players (Tramon Williams, Danny Shelton, Nate Orchard) were added to the defense. Fans and media like to point fingers of blame at one party, but both have fallen way short of what should have been expected this season.
13. You can blame Farmer for signing receiver Dwayne Bowe (guaranteed $9 million). You can blame Pettine for taking Paul Kruger who had 11 sacks last season and moving him around to the point where the linebacker has 0.5 sacks this season. Kruger looks confused. Bowe looks slow and out-of-shape. If you look down the roster, you can find fault that points back to each man, Farmer and Pettine.
14. The team's top picks have not performed well. Since 2009, the first-rounders with the team are Alex Mack, Joe Haden, Barkevious Mingo, Danny Shelton, Cameron Erving, Manziel and Gilbert. Trent Richardson and Phil Taylor are out of the NFL. Brandon Weeden is a backup in Dallas.
15. The above paragraph is a list of 10 first-round picks since 2009. They were drafted by four different front offices. The only ones starting for the Browns are Mack, Shelton and Haden. That's why Browns fans are so incensed and impatient when first-round picks flounder. They have seen so many recent disasters.
16. In case you missed a big point, there have been FOUR different front offices running the last EIGHT drafts.
17. Farmer drew the venom of some fans and media when he said: "How do we fix it? We continue to do exactly what we have done..."
18. That's all some people heard. It sounded like he meant to continue doing the same things wrong, over and over. I doubt that was his meaning.
19. Farmer continued that sentence by saying, "work hard, put in the effort, the time and the energy ... unearth better players ... unearth better opportunities for our guys and try to grow it as we see it."
20. I do wish Farmer and/or Pettine had said: "We have the bye week coming up. We plan to look at every weak area, on the field and off. Where we need to make changes, we will make changes. We know there are problems. We know we've not gotten everything right."
21. Neither man said anything close to that. The failure to admit the obvious hurts them in the eyes of the public. The record is 2-6. The top draft picks have not been productive. The defense has been one of the worst in the NFL. Changes in approach are needed.
22. About the trade rumors, Pettine said: "All that does is add to the adversity that you have to deal with as a team ... the equivalent of throwing a grenade into the locker room."
23. The "equivalent of a grenade," really? He later went on to talk about it being "part of the business," but it came across like an excuse. Well, the news came out before the game. The Browns were so decimated by it, they took a 20-7 lead against the Cardinals. They played one of their best first halves of the season. They were outscored 24-0 in the second half. I don't think the rumors had anything to do with the collapse since the Browns looked so sharp in the first half. Pettine has to know that.
24. I'm glad the Browns didn't trade Joe Thomas. Denver is desperate for a left tackle. The Broncos reportedly have tried to trade for him before. Does anyone think getting a couple of low first round picks in 2016 and perhaps 2017 would produce another Thomas, who is under a reasonable contract through 2018?
25. Listening to Farmer and Pettine, there is a sense that both men are stunned that the record is 2-6 at the mid-point of the season. I'm not surprised the coach and general manager are saying the team is "close" to turning the season around. They say that for the sake of their players. They don't want the players to think the season is a hopeless case.
26. But the second-half of the season does look grim. And the fans feel a sense of gloom. The Browns have been outscored, 58-26, in the last two games. That's the recent reality. As many fans said, "We have seen this movie before." They were talking about Farmer's movie references. Every new front office and coaching staff inherits the weight of the decades of losing that happened before they arrive. It has been like that for years.
27. Neither man had anything close to a good day when facing the media (and fans) on Tuesday. Pettine sounded exhausted. Farmer was on edge. No one in Browns town was happy about anything.
28. Both men know they are fighting for their jobs. They know the history of firings and impatience. They know so much of what they have planned has not worked out. They also should know that it doesn't take much success for the fans and media to embrace them. Just remember a year ago when the Browns beat Cincinnati and moved their record to 6-3. Everyone loved everything about the team. But it's been so hard for the fans lately, losing 11-of-13 dating back to last season.
29. The national media covering the NFL desperately wants the league to act like baseball and basketball near the trading deadlines, when lots of deals are made. The NFL never does make many deals during the season.
30. Rob Chudzinski has just taken over as offensive coordinator for the Colts. He was the Browns head coach in 2013. Pat Shurmur (2011-12) is offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. Eric Mangini (2009-10), is defensive coordinator in San Francisco. Romeo Crennel (2005-08) is defensive coordinator in Houston. So the last four Browns head coaches are all coordinators with different teams.
Much better than anything he has written as of late. I dig it. I highlighted parts I found interesting or that made a point.