"Woe Is Us" - the new regime sucks
While I am still sticking to my minority opinion that Jimmy will survive the PFJ scandal, there is no doubt that this issue has stained both the NFL and the Cleveland Brown franchise. First, it is scummy and small minded. Second, just stupid and unnecessary for multibillion dollar organization to cheat their way to an extra few million a year. There are basically three "end game" scenarios.
1. Jimmy is not indicted and gets through this difficult period.
2. Jimmy is able to step away and create a trust or other favorable ownership structure that could encourage continuity if things are going well.
3. There is a forced sale, and the resulting tumult is second only to the departure to Baltimore in recent Brown history.
Regardless, this issue is very disappointing, the potential negative impact is huge and therefore I award the "Woe is Us" crowd a full 15 points on this issue.
The draft has come and gone, and many of the "Woe is Us" crowd feel that the significance of this draft is heightened by the departure of the most beloved 14-34 GM in NFL history. And there is some ammo here. First, their first selection looks more suited for the Cavs team photo than the Browns team photo. Secondly, they made a decision to forego a couple of picks to "maximize assets", then drafted a guy with a torn Achilles and another who is basically a drug trafficker. 2 things come to mind. First, I would feel better if Max Assets were a healthy free safety out of LSU. Second, you have to understand that the draft is to the Cleveland faithful what the playoffs are to the New England Patriots. From my personal standpoint, maybe being patient will payoff huge. For sure this was a really weak draft at the top, and that missing 2nd round pick caused some issues. Still there is enough here to confirm some worries and I am awarding 5 points on this issue.
There was some noise about the Chip Kelly hire. Some of the naysayers felt it was a huge setback for the new regime. I personally think that if Chip knew that his punishment for paying street agents to bring Texas RBs to Oregon would make a slap on the wrist seem Draconian – he would have never left the Ducks. While I do not see a huge loss here, I will award a single 1 point on this issue.
Finally, many of the "Woe is Us" group felt the change meant that everything was going to be blown up. All good players traded, Weeden gone. Gordon gone because Lombardi didn’t like him etc. I think the new regime has handled this admirably so I am subtracting 2 points for fear mongering.
Final total = 15 + 5 + 1 – 2 = 19 points for the Woe is Us team.
"Change is great"
WWHD? One intriguing hypothetical that I have is what would Mike Holmgren have done? Mike did not over communicate, but one thing he said was that we will be better than 6-10 a lot better, and the organization understands that. (paraphrase too lazy to look up quote) So I am guessing that Big Mike was anticipating right around an 8-8 season with upside to 9-7. Mission not accomplished. Would he have tried to make a scapegoat out of Chilly or QB coach and keep Shurmur? Would Heckert stay and if so would that reinforce the perception of a lack of accountability out of the brass? Was Mike so married to the bland WCO we had installed that he would have kept that structure in place? I do not know the answer to these questions, but I am awarding 4 points to the "Change is great group" for the quick and decisive measures that they took in dealing with the old staff.
The new team completed the rebuild of the coaching staff. I was happy with the process. First, they didn’t hire the nephew of their favorite assistant coach of all time. And Chud did have significantly greater success as an OC, and showed much greater innovation than Pat. They then avoided the buffoonery and hired a fine new OC, and didn’t overload a first year HC. Horton seems like a good hire, and I do think we needed that change to be competitive in the AFC North. The next Browns playoff team will have a dominating defense that uses the elements as a huge home field advantage. Bend but don’t break guys need not apply. I award 6 points for the construction of the coaching staff.
One weakness of the Browns over the past several years was their inability to add talent through the FA process. While I do not think that the old regime or the new regime want to build primarily through FA, there were some real head scratchers. Jake Delhomme was a terrible signing. They would have been much better off finding out about Colt a year earlier. A washed up Fujita?. I like the philosophy of Banner and all of our FAs have a chance to still be good if an when we are good. It just seemed like the old guys did not have this simple concept completely understood. It is really important to add talent through this channel, as you cannot live on the draft alone. Look at the first draft. You basically have a very good CB, a lousy backup RB, a good SS when healthy, a subpar G. So basically you have 1 reliable and very good starter. The math doesn’t work. I award 3 points for this year’s FA class.
I like how quickly the new regime cleaned up the QB situation. Got something for Colt, which should have been done on the first day of the 2012 draft. Brought in Jason Campbell, who adds a very nice fall back option, and Hoyer is an excellent 3rd QB choice. Prolly the only 3rd string QB in NFL history to garner a tender. I think Weeden has been treated fairly, and even the Woe is Us crowd would concede that he seems much better suited for this offense. Weeden himself feels so, and it was obvious he felt trapped and ill suited for the 2012 debacle of an offense. I award 4 points for this accomplishment.
I have to be honest, I really love what the new regime has done with the non-football field organization. Hiring bright, successful people. Infusing significant amounts of capital to improve the game day experience, the facilities, stadium upgrades, the food, it is just obvious that there is a vision of being a better organization from top to bottom. I may be mistaken, but I get the impression these things were not on the radar under the old regime. For this elation I award 4 points to the change is great crowd.
Finally, I want to take 2 points away from Jimmy for his initial quotes and response to the PFJ scandal. Weak sauce (however the comments minimized the issue so much that it is a big reason why I believe he was not that close to the scandal as people think. Think he was lied to by sales snakes yet again)
Final total = 4 + 6 + 3+ 4 + 4 - 2 = 19 points.
Well that leaves with 19 to 19 so that did not help much, guess we will stick with our preconceived ideas for a little longer.