While I've always been a fan of the Cleveland Browns, at least since I've lived in Ohio, I have never claimed to be an expert on one of America's favorite sports. Therefore, I don't plan on becoming one anytime soon. Nevertheless, I do recognize that something must be done, and done quickly, to put the Cleveland Browns back on track before we witness a re-occurrence of what happened in the mid 1990s.
I'm not implying that the owners will be moving our beloved Dawgs to another location such as what Art Modell did back then, but let's face it. Three years of not having a Dawg Pound again from which to cheer is asking more than any red-blooded Buckeye can tolerate.
Like me, you knew a change was coming. However, you may not have thought much about how it would happen. After the head coach and general manager were dismissed of their duties in the name of progress, I suddenly realized it wasn't necessarily when, but rather how. Like other times, it all started in reverse.
Hours after being soundly defeated by the lowly Cincinnati Bengals to the tune of 33 to 23 in the regular football season's last game, I wasn't surprised by the actions of owners Dee, and her husband, Jimmy Haslam, but instead, the order in which it was done. Head Coach Freddie Kitchens was fired first, and then the next day they parted ways with General Manager John Dorsey. Isn't that putting the cart before the horse?
By the time you read this, a new head coach may have been named. But let's face it, Kitchens was in way over his head. That was no secret. He had never been a head coach at any level; kids football, high school, college, semi-pro, none. Yet, here he was being offered the head coaching job of a storied professional football team. What would you do? Dreamily accept? As like most of us, so might I. If we wouldn't, then we're either daffy or not true NFL football fans. But since we know that dream was unlikely to happen, it's immaterial.
What actually happened was, the next day, Dorsey, the man who engineered this “can't lose” football team from which we were all led to believe great things would come, had agreed to step aside. We're told that neither he nor the Haslams could agree on another position for him in the organization.
Sadly, this was done in reverse. It is Dorsey who should have been relieved of his duties first. After stocking the team with star studded players, the likes for which other NFL teams would have offered an open checkbook, it was Dorsey who put this well built oceanic vessel into the hands of a steamboat pilot.
Kitchens had all the fine tools available to him. But what good were they if they were not properly used? Or worse, if he didn't even know how to use them?
With Kitchens out first, the owner made sure the GM couldn't give his head coach another chance to grow. It was too late.
I'm not saying that Kitchens should not have been let go. I'm saying, just like everything else the Browns seem to do, they did it backwards. And the Haslams seem to continue running this circus by announcing just last week that they would be hiring a head coach first, and then a GM; thus preventing the new GM from picking his own head coach.
They don't seem to understand the leadership structure of sports. It's the GM's place to hire a head coach and thus to fire one, not the owners'.
If the Haslams thought the Dorsey/Kitchens leadership was lacking organizational skills, they certainly aren't showing any progress by launching a new regime again in reverse.
In doing so, the Haslams are as much at fault for the poor record of the Browns as any of the leadership they've employed.
Particularly, with Jimmy Haslam. His problem seems to be that he wants to have the final word on all decisions. If that's the case, he doesn't need a new GM or a head coach. He already has them. Himself!
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