Browns continue to operate in their own bizarro world
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns continue to exist in their own bizarre version of the NFL, which is going to become even more evident in the coming months.
The NFL regular season came to a close late on Sunday afternoon, which makes today what has become to be known around league circles as Black Monday.
It is a day when disappointing head coaches are asked to leave and so far Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Caldwell of the Detroit Lions, Jack Del Rio of the Oakland Raiders and John Fox of the Chicago Bears have been removed. (The New York Giants, being a model franchise and in no way a dumpster fire, got a jump on things by firing head coach Bob McAdoo a few weeks ago.)
Then there are the Cleveland Browns, who seem to be the lone occupants of a bizarro version of the NFL.
The Browns, who closed out an 0-16 season on Sunday and posted 31 losses in the past two seasons — the most in a two-year period in NFL history — will retain head coach Hue Jackson.
Almost everyone knows this is a bad idea. The fans know it, some of the local media who cover the team know it, and even the players know it, as cornerback Jason McCourty and running back Duke Johnson spoke after Sunday’s game about how there is more than enough talent on the roster that 0-16 should never have been a possibility.
But despite having a schedule that included games against the Houston Texans, who finished 4-12, the Chicago Bears (5-11), the New York Jets (5-11), the Indianapolis Colts (4-12), and the Green Bay Packers, who were playing without Aaron Rodgers, the Browns could not find a single victory throughout the season.
Through it all, Jackson has never missed an opportunity to point the finger of blame at the previous front office and the players on the roster, and remind everyone that there is simply nothing he could have done to alter the final record.
On Monday, during his final post-game press conference, Jackson reiterated again, without any actual facts to support his claim, that he remains the right man for the job, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
"“I think at the end of the day I’m the leader of this, part of the leadership group of this, and I’ve been very disappointed in all of it. But at the same time we’re going to fix it. Jimmy and Dee have given me the support needed in order to feel that we’re moving in the right direction and I think that’s what we’re gonna do.”"
For everyone’s sake, Jackson better be right. The Browns are about to embark on a potentially franchise-altering offseason, one that has them in possession of around $100 million in cap space and five selections in the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft – including the first and fourth overall picks.
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Of course, there are already reports surfacing that general manager John Dorsey will clean out a large part of Jackson’s coaching staff and replace them with his hires. And that Dorsey will hire an offensive coordinator, something that Jackson disputed on Monday, but vowed to “consider” in the coming weeks.
There was also a little nugget dropped by Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column that Dorsey is fixated on Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen with the No. 1 overall selection because, well, it has something to do with Carson Wentz but other than that is all a bit murky.
It hasn’t even been 24 hours since the regular season came to a close and the Browns are already set up for an offseason of conflict, with a general manager possibly hiring a coaching staff for the head coach and possibly drafting a quarterback that the head coach most likely does not want.
Next: Browns: 3 takeaways from a long day in Pittsburgh
And with both Dorsey and Jackson reporting directly to Haslam, it will be up to the owner to hash it all out and make sure everyone is working toward the same goal. And given everything that has gone on since Haslam purchased the Browns, why would anyone feel comfortable with that scenario?
Just another day in the bizarro world that is Cleveland Browns football.