The Cleveland Browns are executing a plan. Some things have gone well; some things haven’t. We all know the things that haven’t gone well because it smacks us in the face every Sunday. The asset collection, on the other hand, has gone extremely well. They have five picks in the first two rounds in 2018 which is pretty unbelievable and fortunate for any NFL franchise. Then again, the on-field results leave you wondering if the guys who executed so well in acquiring assets can execute to a good level regarding cashing in those assets and, you know, building a football team. It’s some existential stuff. Can you separate the plan from the planners? Maybe more importantly for the Cleveland Browns: Do they need to create that separation now by replacing Sashi Brown atop the org chart?
The Cleveland Browns look bad for passing on Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz at professional sports’ most important position. Then again, the reason they’ve amassed the assets they have is because they were willing to pass on those specific guys in the short run for the promise of more shots at other guys in the future. The idea is that when the Browns finally do take that shot at a high pick quarterback, he’s going to get to play with (or had the chance to play with) some of the following:
- Corey Coleman
- Shon Coleman
- Cody Kessler
- Ricardo Louis
- Derrick Kindred
- Jordan Payton
- Spencer Drango
- Jabrill Peppers
- DeShone Kizer
- Houston first-round pick in 2018
- Philly’s second-round pick in 2018
The problems come when you consider letting a front office execute a draft strategy that must include a top pick quarterback when their previous sense was to directly pass on Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson. I haven’t been in those meetings, and I haven’t discussed the Browns’ strategy with Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta, Andrew Berry, and (maybe?) Hue Jackson. We do know that the Browns didn’t necessarily feel that Carson Wentz had the potential to be a top 20 NFL quarterback. People forget the other part of that statement that Paul DePodesta made to Tony Grossi.
“But in this particular case, we just didn’t feel it was necessarily the right bet to make for us at this time. Again, it comes down to individual evaluation of a player. We will not always be right on those type of things.”
At this time… That’s a loaded phrase. I might even agree with him that it wasn’t the right time to take a shot at quarterback in the year of the tank. The Browns made other plans, including signing RG3, holding onto Josh McCown and taking a flyer on Cody Kessler. It wasn’t good in terms of results, but it was a reasonable attempt to get by for a year. The Browns followed that up by creating an offseason quarterback room of Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, and DeShone Kizer. Imagine the Browns as a professional golfer. Imagine that’s the tee shot the Browns hit in the final practice round before we need to place our bets on The Masters starting tomorrow. Are you going to put a Benjamin down on them to hit the important shots they need to hit to make the cut, let alone win? If the quarterback position is a 15-foot putt with a one-stroke lead to win the whole thing, are you betting on them? More importantly, is Jimmy Haslam betting on them?
I’m not going to tell you they can’t do it. I know that they haven’t really tried yet. I know that their calculation was to push the time off to the future – presumably the 2018 NFL Draft. For the Browns in their current state, every draft is the most important draft of their lifetime, but if this is truly the draft in which they will finally go for their quarterback, it’s so real that it’s “for real for real” this time.
So for the moment, let’s assume everyone’s on board with the plan and that this was the plan all along. The 2018 draft is the culmination of asset acquisition and concentrating on “rebuilding” as opposed to winning on Sundays. If that’s the plan, and you agree with the plan, given what you’re willing to grade this front office on, where is your confidence level at this point with Sashi Brown, Paul DePodesta, Andrew Berry and the rest of the Browns front office?
I know better than to think that I have a lot of insight into this. I know better than to think it would matter what I think even if I did have a lot of insight. I know even better-er to think that I have any insight on how Jimmy Haslam feels about this. Presuming you believe PFT’s reporting that Jimmy is starting to feel out the market for football executives – and I do – that should tell you all you need to know about how Jimmy Haslam is feeling about the current state of decision-making in Cleveland.
I don’t know what the Browns should do other than I know they need to use any and all resources to get the best possible quarterback prospect this off-season. We’ve even half-joked behind the scenes at WFNY about throwing picks at the Colts for Andrew Luck. I hope that Jimmy Haslam is putting that task in front of his front office and listening to their plans and deciding if it’s something he can live with. Then again, who says Jimmy Haslam is capable of judging anyone’s football team-building plans?
This is just the Cleveland Browns talking points circle of life.
Death Cab for Cutie – Plans
All this talk about plans led me to Death Cab for Cutie who has an album called “Plans.” As I search through the song titles, there are many that could be applied to the Browns. “Your Heart is an Empty Room,” “Someday You Will be Loved,” “Stable Song,” and of course, “I Will Follow You Into the Dark.” However, I’m not picking any of those for this Friday just based on musical reasons. Instead, let’s head into the weekend with “Marching Bands of Manhattan.”