At least we won't have to talk about a head coaching change or a front office shakeup this offseason. Immediately following the Cleveland Browns' final game of the 2014 regular season, team owner Jimmy Haslam addressed the media and was firm that both head coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer will be back for the 2015 season.
Jimmy Haslam says absolutely Pettine and farmer will be back.— Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) December 28, 2014
The coaching and front office situation isn't the only thing Haslam addressed. He had strong words -- without naming names -- for players who have been extreme disappointments, including QB Johnny Manziel, WR Josh Gordon, and CB Justin Gilbert:
Haslam had strong words for Gordon, Manziel without calling them by name. Used "disrespect" twice; said it won't be tolerated.— Zac Jackson (@FSOhioZJackson) December 28, 2014
#Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said if those guys can't grow up & be responsible to team & fans, "then they won't be with the Cleveland Browns."— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) December 28, 2014
Per local media reports, Haslam indicated that the troubled players will not be released and that the team will give them a chance to grow into professionals. Haslam also commended the team for the Week 17 effort they gave despite having "one hand tied behind their back." Pettine said he will more specifically address Manziel, Gordon, and Gilbert on Monday. He had high praise for guys who do give effort, and guys like LT Joe Thomas, CB Joe Haden, and SS Donte Whitner, three vocal leaders on each side of the ball, had powerful words following the game:
Joe Haden was clearly sick in the locker room: I played with the flu because I wanted to lead by example. You have to give whatever it takes— Kevin Jones (@Mr_KevinJones) December 28, 2014
#Browns LT Joe Thomas on Josh Gordon, Johnny Manziel, Justin Gilbert being punished: "It's part of the #NFL. Everyone has bad apples."— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) December 28, 2014
Donte Whitner: "We’re going to get some guys out of here that don’t want to do it." #Browns— PatMcManamon (@PatMcManamon) December 28, 2014
Despite the issues that the three have had in 2014, each of them are under contract for 2015 and you have to give them a chance to respond. If they don't, then you can explore your options with them. Cleveland got by without contributions from all three of them the majority of the season, and were on their way to a playoff berth prior to the crippling injury to center Alex Mack. It's not a good idea to shame players right off the bat, but now it is warranted for these three individuals. Let's see how they respond, because if they do, they can be key contributors next season onward.