The worst team in pro football.

Leon+McFadden+Cleveland+Browns+Rookie+Camp+yTOQtkUX2t3x

If you’re an impatient football team owner, the 2013 draft was a complete failure.
Therefore… fire the coach?

I got busy with some of the “all is well” people in the WFNY comments1 the other day when it dawned on me:

The Browns are the worst team in the NFL.

It was the realization that, since Dennis Allen wasn’t fired, Oakland now has more continuity than the Browns.  Oakland now has more forward momentum.  You still think Oakland’s worse?  They had the same number of wins in a much tougher division.  They have a head coach and system in place.  They enter 2014 with $66.5 in cap space.  They have great weather.  And they don’t have any jackasses screwing with perfectly classic uniforms which are as close to English heraldry as there is in North America.  No, Oakland —OAKLAND— is in better shape than Cleveland and that’s even allowing for the possibility that they could announce a franchise move tomorrow.

rolandsymons011sample

Banner’s focus group says these need to be updated.

You think Jacksonville’s worse?   They get Joeckel and Blackmon back next year plus the #3 overall pick (Clowney?  Barr?  Bridgewater?) returning to a stable coaching staff and system that showed real improvement at end of season.  We’re likely losing two All Pros and are an unattractive landing spot for free agents with choices.

Houston is drafting in front of us, maybe they’re worse?  No.  They are better.  Here’s way too much info on how Houston is next year’s Kansas City.   The Redskins?  I think we’re in the same boat with them but after we trade both this year’s #1s and next year’s #1 to the Rams to move up two slots to get JFF because Jimmy Haslam wants you to know he doesn’t tolerate losing… then we’ll be behind.

We’re the worst.

The worst team on the field and trending backward.
The worst front office in talent eval and acquisition.
And saddled with small men in charge.

              
“Impatient” or “building through the draft” or neither?

I noticed something while doing Cheddar research for this weekend’s games:  seven of the eight teams have at least one impact rookie.2  Check it out:

  • Saints:  starting LT Terron Armstead (3rd round) and starting WR Kenny Stills (5th round);
  • Pats:  starting LB Jamie Collins (2nd rd);
  • Colts:  starting guard Hugh Thornton (3rd rd);
  • Niners:  starting FS Eric Reid (1st rd);
  • Panthers:  starting NT Star Lotulelei (1st rd);
  • Broncos:  starting DT Sylvester Williams (1st rd);
  • Chargers (actually four starting rookies this weekend):  Starting WR Keenan Allen (3rd rd).

Call me crazy but shouldn’t your effing personnel department be able to come up with one effing starter in the effing draft?  What are you paying those guys for?3 I swear I would do a better job and I wouldn’t even pay for premium draft-wonk sites.

keenanallen455674787-1

Third round rookie. So it is possible.

It’s almost impossible NOT to hit on someone unless you’re trying not to get a hit (e.g., trading this year’s picks for magic beans next year’s picks).  Let’s leave the idiotic Mingo pick aside for the moment.  Let’s even credit this draft with Josh Gordon in the second round although you know perfectly well Joe Banner would never in a million years have selected Josh Gordon in the second round, ever.

Let’s just look at the smartest-guys-in-the-room’s pick of short cornerback Leon McFadden.  And let’s look at the balance of the picks in the third round.  For all the players selected AFTER Leon McFadden, I’m going to guess that more than half made more of a contribution to their teams than McFadden.  I’ll use McFadden’s snap count of 206 and I will take the over:  more than 50% of the rest of the 3rd rounders selected after McFadden saw more action.  And… it’s a tie.  14 had more than McFadden’s 206 snaps (Marquis Goodwin, Jordan Reed, Duron Harmon, John Jenkins, Kayvon Webster, J.J. Wilcox, Logan Ryan, TJ McDonald, Terrance Williams, Brian Winters, Tyrann Mathieu, Mike Glennon, Hugh Thornton, Keenan Allen); 14 had less (Sam Montgomery, Dallas Thomas, Shawn Williams, Jordan Hill, Will Davis, Zaviar Gooden, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Brandon Williams, Damontre Moore, Corey Lemonier, Terron Armstead, Markus Wheaton, Knile Davis, Stedman Bailey); and one was on IR.

But wait:  Terron Armstead has won the LT job in New Orleans; Knile Davis had two TDs in a playoff game last week.  When you factor in that McFadden’s playing time came at the end of the year in garbage time and was forced upon the coaching staff4 , it’s pretty clear that the dartboard would have been more effective draft methodology.

Rob-Chudzinski-in-high-school

The young scapegoat.

For a management team who is so impatient and so not accepting of excuses, shouldn’t a GM be getting whacked over whiffing on this entire draft?

What’s that?  You say we can’t judge this year’s draft until next year’s picks come in?  So you want to be patient?  But wait Jimmy says no one is more impatient than him.  He just fired a damn head coach he’s so impatient.  But when it comes to acquiring talent we SHOULD be patient.  Because that’s Banner.  Not Chud.  Sorry if I’m confused…  

Wait.  I’m not confused:  this whole off-season was a failure.

  1. The draft (no starters);
  2. Free-agency (overpay Kruger, sign heart condition, allow two All-Pros to become UFAs, piss away 12M in cap rollover);
  3. Coaching hires (all gone);
  4. System implementations (starting from scratch with new guys and new systems again);

–> Banner delivered zero.

Apparently Haslam is patient with Banner and impatient when wanting to demonstrate losing intolerance so…

Jacksonville Jaguars v Cleveland Browns

A healthy MJD doesn’t suck, Jimmy.

           
Let’s fire the coach to demonstrate how impatient we are.

Jimmy wants us to know he was furious about the Jags game (I thought the Jags played damn hard and healthy MJD is really impressive and that they would have beaten a lot of teams that day.). Jimmy stormed out of Heinz Field in the fourth quarter of the finale (Our third string QB playing a with half dozen inactive starters and we lost an away game to a should-be playoff team.  Hell, Haden sat and McFadden started.  What the hell did you expect t0 happen?  Steelers -9 vs. Browns was the walk-over bet of the entire year.  And you’re storming out of Heinz Field to demonstrate your intolerance and/or impatience?  Grow the eff up.  What a drama-queen.).

So Jimmy wants us to know he’s a man of action who “won’t tolerate losing.”

Not for nothing but see the section on the draft above and here:  the time for not tolerating losing was in April and the person to hold responsible for not losing was your diminutive scruffy-bearded interior decorator.

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 9.12.01 AM

You know how Jimmy doesn’t like to read ‘same old Browns?’
That’s not all he doesn’t like to read.

But, dang Jimmy:  you fired Chud without a replacement lined up.  I seriously, really doubt that a PFJ Truck Stop would fire a manager without a replacement identified.

Pretty embarrassing.  Pretty impulsive.  Joe Thomas will tell you as much.  Devastating is his word.5

How did you get there?

This season ticket holder gets to nub when he presumes that you “surround yourself with yes-men and sycophants who would not dare tell you how ridiculous they think you and your actions are.”

(The season ticket holder’s email is epic and could have been a post in itself.  Click image to enlarge.)

The view from here is that Banner forced Chud to play McFadden and then fired him for not winning.  I mean, in a nutshell, that’s typical of the horseshit management style coming from Berea.

Horseshit.

What else can you call a boss who can say this:

“I’d be hard-pressed to think that in nine weeks a first-time head coach can do any better or any more than he’s doing,” Banner said. “All of the measurables that you’d look to come up with, if you even wanted to create a yardstick of measuring at this moment, I just think he’s doing an outstanding job.”

And then fire you a month later.

You call them:

            
The Shabby Browns.

In addition to failing in the draft, failing in free agency, and failing in coaching hires, the Banner-Haslam combo have plumbed new depths of shabbiness.  A class-less meanness never seen here before.  A combo of back-channel assassinating and off-the-record leaking communication methods that (to their great miscalculation) has allowed their petty smallness to show through out without filter.

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 10.46.53 AM

Okay Mary Kay, we get it.

Just off the top of my head here are some examples of Banner-Haslam’s cynical media manipulation:

You can see wheels spinning:  Uh-oh we’re getting bad press.  Text our story to MKC but don’t go on record.  We don’t have to own it and she feels like she has a scoop.

It’s gross.

            
Five all-pros?  26M in cap?  I guess Heckert had a plan after all, Joe.

Of everything Joe Banner has done, I still find this quote to be the most laughably wrong, horrifically arrogant statement ever made by a “football man:”

Everybody talked about a long-term plan, but when’s the last time the team traded for a future draft pick? When’s the last time the team said, ‘We may not have position ‘X’ with the best player this year because there’s nobody in the marketplace who’s that good, and we don’t want to waste all the future cap money just so we win six games instead of five?

Five all pros Joe.  None acquired by you.
Five all pros Joe.  Two of them are UFAs now, good call to wait-and-see before signing them (lol).
Five all pros Joe.  You had the most cap space in the league.
Five all pros Joe.  And just six holes to patch.
Five all pros Joe.  And you’re playing in a down division.
Five all pros Joe.  You’ve got a super soft fourth place schedule.
Five all pros Joe.  You pissed it away and won’t have that core again.

This was the year to go all in.  That was the ‘long-term plan’ that ‘everyone talked about.’

But since it wasn’t YOUR PLAN, you couldn’t see it.  Since it wasn’t your plan you not only punted it, you ridiculed it.

Welp.  That’s all gone now.  More holes to patch, another set of coaches and systems to install.  You were 100% wrong in your plan for this year.

You failed.  And then you fired your coach.

.

So whaddaya think gents… five years for your long-term plan sound right?  Oh wait, you’re impatient… so four years then?

As the season ticket holder wrote and with which I sadly agree:

You do not have an urgency for success, and you are not committed to building a winner. You are not creating a winning culture nor are you creating a culture of accountability. You will not create a consistent and winning NFL franchise, and you will not make us proud.

You’re the worst organization in football.

Please sell.

                 

  1. I uncovered and shared a sad data point on how every other coach has fared since the Shurmur hire.
    Rivera, Carolina, playoffs;
    Garrett, Cowboys, .500;
    Fox, Broncos, playoffs x3;
    Frazier, Vikes, playoffs;
    Jackson, Raiders, .500;
    Harbaugh, Niners, SB, playoffs x3;
    Munchak, sub-500, one 9 win season. [back]
  2. Only Seattle does not.  But they are the best team in football and did not have a first round pick last draft. [back]
  3. GOOD THING YOU KEPT KLOSTERMAN OUT OF THE WAR ROOM OR ELSE SOMEONE WOULD’VE SCOOPED JAMORIS SLAUGHTER!!! [back]
  4. is there any doubt that Banner instructed Chud to play McFadden to make his draft look better?  is there any doubt Chris Owens was waived to get McFadden more snap count?  is there any doubt that forcing Chud to play McFadden while simultaneously crowing about lack of improvement is an allegory on how business is done in Berea? [back]
  5. Chudzinski’s players were bewildered, angry and defensive when confronted with questions about his looming firing after the game.  “I’d be very surprised if they made a change,” seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle and offensive captain Joe Thomas said. “And I’d be very disappointed.  You look at the great franchises. They don’t fire your coach after the first season. You can’t do it.”

    Thomas said Chudzinski’s dismissal would not only be the wrong move, but it also “would be devastating” for the Browns, who have had six full-time head coaches since their expansion era began in 1999. Chud­zinski was the fourth since 2008. The Steelers, who barely missed out on a playoff berth after beating the Browns to finish 8-8, have had three head coaches since 1969.

    “It sets everything back,” Thomas said. “You just hit the reset button. Anytime you hit the reset button, it severely damages the organization, and it lengthens the amount of time that it takes to get back to the playoffs and turn the team into a consistent winner. … I think that this organization needs continuity and that’s the only chance that we’re going to have to turn this team into a consistent winner.” [back]

  • PML

    I think you can add trading for Rasta McDropsies to “mentor” Josh Gordon to that steaming pile of turds you mentioned above.

  • This is your best post since the first Modell one.

  • Dave Kolonich

    Like I suggested back in August, the Browns are going to enter 2014 with the exact same roster holes as they entered 2013 – plus a few more. And just wait for some more bungling of players – Rubin will be released, Haden and Taylor will walk away in free agency, Jordan Cameron, etc.

    While Kanicki is mostly spot on in his analysis of how the front office’s pettiness will prevent any real coaching talent from inheriting this mess, I’ll go one further. The main allure of the Browns’ HC job is essentially guaranteed money. A candidate has to know that there is a great chance they will be fired in a year or two, thus being able to sit at home and collect paychecks for a substantial period of time.

    Sadly, this is the incentive to coach the Cleveland Browns in 2014.

    And with Banner and Lombardi only taking one year to fire a HC in order to distract from their own ineptness, this is a near certainty.

  • maxfnmloans

    We’re going to lose Ray Farmer to the Dolphins so that Banner can keep his “GM” under his thumb while he calls the shots. OHHHHH YEEEEAAAAHHH!!!

    (Any chance Haslam jettisons LomBanner and keeps Farmer? I think we might be better off)

  • Tron

    At this point there is no point complaining. Seriously. I’m not trying to be a dick. The present is so dark and the future is so bleak all we can trust is a non-reality based fantasy. I would suggest clinging to this non-reality based fantasy or to choose to see past the shadows and start rooting for the Steelers. Or the Patriots.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      “The present is so dark and the future is so bleak all we can trust is a non-reality based fantasy.”
      Tron, you have a natural aptitude as a motivational speaker, or perhaps a mentor for children.
      Drink.

      • GRRustlers

        “The present is so dark and the future is so bleak all we can trust is a non-reality based fantasy.”

        Everyone has their own way of starting their Cheddar Bay essays next year. I now have mine.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          GRRRRR, Game, Set and Match n the repartee play!
          I shower you with “likes”

  • Mad_Elf

    And all of it foretold by the same folk that had “Go Find Another Team To Root For” shouted at ’em. Best part? The “Believers” will all forget this by June (really, by the time the time we are on the clock in the first round) and we’ll be Right Back There…AGAIN!!!

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Two first round draft picks, that never happens, it is a cannot miss proposition! The Browns are Super Bowl bound next year.

    • Dave Kolonich

      No truer words have been spoken. When the Browns trade up to draft injured Zach Mettenberger (because he’s a SEC guy!!!!), it’s like none of this ever happened.

  • Guest

    And all of it foretold by the same folk that had “Go Find Another Team To Root For” at ’em. Best part? They’ll all forget this by June (really, by the time the time we are on the clock in the first round) and we’ll be Right Back There…AGAIN!!!

  • Mad_Elf

    “Kanick”, I hope this doesn’t come across as ‘creepy’, but I Love You, Man!

  • To add on, Marla Ridenour at the ABJ actually made a good point in this column that the Browns may be in the process of losing Ray Farmer, a person that NFL people, not media types, actually think is the real deal all so they can keep Lombardi: http://www.ohio.com/sports/browns/marla-ridenour-browns-need-to-promote-ray-farmer-not-let-him-leave-1.458234

    I have been through so many coaching changes over the years with Cleveland teams (eight alone in the past four years if I’m counting right) but this is the first one that I just want to be over with and the one that might finally break me. It is just so exhausting hearing the same recycled names that we just went through last year.

    I know it is not necessarily a popular opinion, but the biggest mistake the Browns made was letting Heckert go. He didn’t hit on every pick (who does?) but he hit on a very high number, but because he was lumped in with Holmgren and Shurmur he had the guilt by association. I think people are now finally starting to realize what talent the Browns do have on the roster, outside of Thomas and Mack, is thanks to Heckert.

    As bad as it currently is, it could get a lot worse if the Browns do something stupid like trade up in the draft. I know everyone is hyper-focused on the quarterback position, but this team has so many other problems that to sell out with too many high picks to make a deal with the Rams would just set things back even further.

    I’ve written about it, and I’m probably over-blowing a small comment from almost 16 years ago, but I’m starting to prepare to not be surprised if the Browns wait until later in the first round (or even later) to pick a quarterback this year. It is likely that at least 2 of the QBs will be off the board when the Browns pick at No. 4, so it would be easy for them to claim they don’t like the options and there is some obscure QB that only Lombardi has the skills to see being a success story that they can “steal” later in the draft. Get ready, Browns fans – the smartest guys in the room are here.

    I want to go through your points and make a counter-argument but … I really can’t. I could probably make a case that there are some other teams worse off than the Browns, but that would probably be the fan side talking.

    This is all a good lesson for Browns fans to be careful what they wish for. After complaining for so many years that Randy Lerner “didn’t care,” the team now has an owner who at his introductory news conference said “I haven’t ever done this before, so I don’t want to pretend to be an expert. I think we’ll just have to learn as we go. I don’t have anything set in mind because I’ve never done this before.”

    Apparently one year on the job was enough time for Haslam to figure things out. Which is probably not a good thing.

    • on the draft, i’m all for waiting to pick a qb. more precisely, i’m all for not missing on picks and all for plugging holes. thus, for me, it’d be mike evans or anthony barr, high probability long-term impact players at positions of need. hell i’d probably go for a gabe-jackson-type guard in the 2nd round because there you plug the hole at guard and also improve two other positions (RT and C).

      they were bona fide assholes to ignore holes last year holes and go for a splashy aggressive (redundant) pass rusher pick. they were maniacally committed to be smarter than everyone else with the mcfadden pick.

      i see no reason to think they won’t go splashy and smarter again and i’m not kidding when i foresee them giving up three #1 to move up to take manziel. they’re going to be running scared and panicky and will swing for the fences instead of methodically plugging holes. they’ll be the redskins with a worse line and their huge investment will blow his ACL earlier.

      • If they give up the mother load for Manziel we’ll know Haslam is truly calling the shots. Say what we will about Banner, I don’t think he makes that trade if is his decision.

        This whole thing makes my head hurt.

  • humboldt

    To channel my inner Ray Horton, the Browns are led by small men who can’t run (an organization).

  • GRRustlers

    The million dollar question for me is this:

    Who is really in charge Haslam or Banner?

    I’m not even trying to be funny here. I just start to wonder. We know that Banner was hand selected by the league to be a part of this franchise and team with Haslam. We know that Haslam has a few legal problems at this point. Would Haslam even have the authority to fire Banner or is there something behind the scenes with the NFL agreement to purchase the team that prevents it?

    We are talking about a franchise that tells you they never thought to have their GM even present at press conferences.

    A franchise that removed a few thousand seats to install new scoreboards begging the city for money that is almost equal to the amount they left on the table in free agency.

    Name me a worse team in the NFL than the Browns…I have a few friends who will still insist the Lions are a bigger joke (after all I think they still have identical records since 1999) but at least there is a glimmer of hope there.

    I’m also calling a ceasefire with all other Browns fans. I’m too tired to fight anymore and just want to win and have no confidence in this group of men to do that. Seriously. They fired their coach because they thought they had Josh lined up. They failed on an epic scale. Now about that baseball team…

    • Bluedog93

      I’m sure Haslam has the authority to hire Banner — he wouldn’t have spent the money if he didn’t — but I really hate the structure the Browns have, if you could even call it a structure. One of the more morbidly amusing parts of the past few weeks has been the sudden revelation that it was Chud who was responsible for cutting Bobby Rainey, even though before he was fired everybody thought Banner had final say over the roster, except that Lombardi technically had final say over the roster. Well, I ranted about this already, below. My point is that the organization seems to have been put together on the principle that nobody outside the organization knows who is responsible for what, which just means that when things go wrong there’s a scramble to assign blame and when things go right there’s a scramble to take credit. Or there would be, if things ever went right. It’s a terrible structure. It might work, if the people involved were more committed to organizational success than they were to protecting their own jobs, but they’re not.

  • RatDizzle

    Since 1990 fucking 9… pretty much this.

  • Bluedog93

    Dear Mr. Kanicki,

    Obviously, you don’t understand and are just pushing an agenda here. The front office has a long-term plan when it comes to creating a successful team, and by definition the progress of a long-term plan cannot be evaluated before it is completed. Also, you can evaluate a long-term plan after a short amount of time if you conclude that every move they have made has been brilliant, and in fact every personnel decision made by Haslem, Banner and Lombardi has been brilliant, without exception. Sure, there were some bad personnel decisions made, but those decisions were made by the coaching staff, which you didn’t know had authority to make personnel decisions until Haslem, Banner and Lombardi decided to blame the coaching staff for not having shown the success in the short amount of time they had, which, as I’ve said before, was not enough time to properly evaluate the front office’s performance. So yes, the coaching staff did have authority over personnel decisions, but only the bad ones, as the good ones were the decision of the front office, even those decisions (like drafting Gordon) that technically were made before they even got here. Also, the decision to hire the coaching staff was a bad decision, but it isn’t a decision that you should use to evaluate the front office on, you should only evaluate the performance of the front office based on their history of making decisions, and hiring Chud et al was so recent you really can’t call that history, it’s really more of the recent present, which is of no use to you in evaluating the front office’s ability to hire a coaching staff today, just evaluate them based on their real history of hiring guys like Andy Reid, if they really were involved in that decision or even if they weren’t, but not based on their non-history or drafting people like Jamarcus Russell, because that was obviously the fault of the owner or the coaching staff because it wasn’t a good decision, and these guys only have a history of making good decisions once you find the excuse or a scapegoat for the bad decisions. Finally, just remember that everybody who thought that the decisions made by various Browns front offices in the past that proved to be terrible who had predicted that they were terrible are only pushing an agenda and thus you shouldn’t believe their analysis, because they have no record of correctly predicting that past decisions like hiring Mike Holmgren or drafting Brady Quinn were brilliant decisions. The only people whose judgment you should trust are those who are objective, and the only evidence that a person is an objective judge of Browns front office moves is if they have a history of predicting that every decision is a brilliant one. Hater.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Huh?
      You lost me at “Dear Mr. Kanicki”
      On another note, I still believe that Brady Quinn could be a good QB in the NFL, Weeden too.

      • Bluedog93

        Sheesh! All I’m saying is that (a) absolutely nothing went wrong for the Browns in 2013, (b) plenty went wrong for the Browns in 2013 and it’s all Chud’s fault, (c) it’s way too early to have enough information to conclude that it’s the fault of Haslam-Banner-Lombardi, and (d) it would be absurd to claim that it was too early to blame Chud. If you can’t believe those four things simultaneously just because each is inconsistent with the other three, you’re a hater and not a real fan — because a real fan would believe in the front office unconditionally, and there’s no way to believe in the front office without accepting that all of these things are true.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          Of course Blue, we should always believe in our leaders unconditionally! Shall I run the gamut of historical points where this resulted in a near end to civilization, or shall we just admit that right now is always a good time to at least question authority?

          • Bluedog93

            Please! If the last 14 seasons has taught Browns fans anything, it has taught then that blind faith in whatever person is temporarily in charge of the organization is always, without fail, rewarded with multiple Super Bowl victories!

          • actovegin1armstrong

            My apologies Bluedog, you are absolutely correct. What was I thinking?

  • Petefranklin

    So is the 12 mill officially pissed away or is there some miracle re-upping that can still be done?

Skip to toolbar