Mike Pettine didn't announce a starting quarterback on Monday, but then again, he didn't have to. Whether it's a return to Johnny Manziel, or a third straight start for Austin Davis, it's very apparent that the problems go far beyond the quarterback situation.
Beyond the team as a whole, even beyond the head coach, the numbers certainly don't support a third season for Pettine. The issues go all the way to the top, to an absentee owner, a meddling team president, and a general manager who has missed on far more than he's hit.
So the question isn't 'do' you make the move when it comes to Ray Farmer, it's 'how soon'? The Browns, as I reported at the time, began quietly looking around the league for their next GM in October. But as Bernie Kosar reiterated to me on the "SportsZone" on Sunday night, they'd better be sure they have the right guy lined up before they act.
"I don't like to make moves for moves' sake," Kosar said on Cleveland 19. "Like, if I have a plan, if I have somebody better, then yeah, if I have somebody better, yes. But if I don't, if I'm just doing it to bow to public pressure, then no, I wouldn't do it."
So who does have a plan? Former head coach Sam Rutigliano, who led the Browns from 1978-84 and was the 1980 NFL Coach of the Year, spoke out on the "Fifth Quarter" post-game show on Sunday, and targeted two former NFL executives who built Super Bowl winners, in Indianapolis and Green Bay, respectively.
"Here's my point: Go to Bill Polian and Ron Wolf, and take the bank with you, and say 'I want you to come here for three years.' Because that's how long it will take, and then once you do that, you'll have a Jon Gruden or a Bill Cowher," Rutigliano said.
And Rutigliano said he'd act immediately, "The sooner you make a statement, the sooner you'll have people that you want available."
Pettine and the Browns have lost 15 of their past 17 games, and have been blown out in five of the past six, losing the past six games by an average of 19 points per game. Changes are coming. The only question is, when? Kosar, like many, hopes it's the final shake-up we'll see for a while.
"We have watched this drill now for 16 years and 13 weeks. This is unbelievable that it's still materializing like this. We really must be insomniacs and masochists to be watching this and talking about it still, after all this time."
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