Browns Drama: I Blame Kyle Shanahan


The Cleveland Browns drama from today is fueling continued narrative about a dysfunctional organization. While the Browns have struggled with consistency, today’s drama is not about the ownership, a curse or the front office. Today is all about Kyle Shanahan. He asked to be let out of his contract and the team obliged, also firing Dowell Loggains in the process.

But make no mistake this isn’t about an over involved owner. Even the reports about texting from the front office to coaches during the game has been blown up. Pretty sure coaches don’t have or aren’t checking their phones during the games. Instead it makes sense that a person in the organization shoots out a quick text so they don’t forget a thought they had. (I know my bosses give me feedback randomly.)

It also isn’t just about Johnny Manziel, who the ownership and front office were interested in seeing on the field. Much like the fans that we heard from during the season, many in the organization were interested in seeing what they had in Manziel, especially as Brian Hoyer struggled.

Instead, as reported by Lane Adkins of the Orange and Brown Report, great follow on Twitter, this was about Kyle Shanahan wanting certain things the way he wanted them. Lane’s tweets were many and long, but Ryan does a great job of summing them up for us:

You see Shanahan wanted things to go the way he wanted them to go. He wanted another receiver drafted, he wanted Charles Johnson kept and he wanted another veteran quarterback like Matt Schaub, sound a lot like most fans actually. Ray Farmer likely took in their opinions and then made decisions he felt were best for the team. That is his job as the General Manager but Shanahan and “offensive coaches,” likely Loggains, didn’t get what they wanted according to Mary Kay Cabot’s report:

"Among other things, Shanahan and other offensive coaches wanted the Browns to sign a veteran quarterback such as Matt Schaub for depth, hoped that the Browns would draft a wide receiver when Josh Gordon was suspended for marijuana use and were dismayed when the team let promising receiver Charles Johnson get away. The Vikings signed Johnson off the Browns practice squad on Sept. 20, and he emerged as a starting receiver in Minnesota."

Many of you may be thinking: “Well those are all great ideas so maybe Farmer is the problem!” If we were talking about the Head Coach and the GM butting heads we would have some of those concerns but from all reports Farmer and Pettine are pretty much lock step on most decisions.

Instead this is an example of Kyle Shanahan not getting what he wants, something he isn’t used to. Until this year Shanahan had never coached in the NFL outside of under his father, Mike Shanahan, or his father’s coaching tree, Gary Kubiak with the Texans. He learned under that system and even had power and control in many of those systems. A scathing article from CBS Sports near the end of the season where the Shanahan’s were in charge in Washington points to many of the issues with Kyle (entire article worth a read):

"As a former member of the organization put it: “Kyle bitches about everything, and then his father has to fix it. He bitches about the food in the cafeteria, he bitches about the field, he bitches about the equipment. He complains and then Mike takes care of it. Kyle is a big problem there. He is not well liked.”“Kyle knows ball, but he is just so petty and he picks fights and holds grudges over small stuff,” the source said. “He’s a mountain out of a molehill guy, and he’s got entitlement syndrome. That’s why we ended up hiring all of his close friends and buddies, so no one can challenge him. But it makes you worse in the long run, because there is no accountability. Ultimately, it’s his father’s fault for pacifying his son.”"

Sounds like the type of guy who would asked for his release to seek greener pastures when things don’t go his way? So instead of this being about Ray Farmer, Jimmy Haslam or the “Same old Browns” maybe this is about a coach who is used to getting what he wants not liking it when he actually has to follow orders.

Yet that is how good teams are built. Owners Own. GM’s GM. Head Coach dictates. Offensive Coordinator runs the offense. And so on and so on. Shanahan worked with his dad when Mike had power over both the team on the field and the roster. It seems, from the CBS Sports and MKC articles, that Shanahan expected to have the same kind of authority over the roster that he did with his dad.

There may be far more too it. Yes drafting Johnny Manziel was going to make things interesting and difficult for the team. Yes having Brian Hoyer struggle was going to put pressure on everyone to play the rookie. Yes Manziel showed he was unprepared. None of that is good enough reason for a professional to beg his way out of a situation, unless of course he isn’t being a professional.

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I lay the blame for today squarely on the shoulders of Kyle Shanahan. Haslam, Farmer and Pettine, who again all seem to be on, or close to, the same page on most things, didn’t want someone around that didn’t want to be here. Kyle Shanahan wanted the power to make decisions like he did with his dad.

We will see if the Buffalo Bills decide to give him that kind of power or will he have to fall in line behind Dan Quinn somewhere, who might give Shanahan autonomy over the offense so he can carry the defense. Then again he can always fall in line behind dear old dad.

The Cleveland Browns may not have a great history, and today doesn’t make next year any easier, but this was not about that tired narrative. It was about Kyle Shanahan not Browns drama.

Who do you blame for the Browns drama today?

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