Z Files: Pettine had to go, team regressed

Z Files: Pettine had to go, team regressed

Mike Pettine now has another thing in common with Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur and Rob Chudzinski. Like his predecessors,
Pettine, too, was fired following a season-ending loss to the Steelers, this one a 28-12 defeat that left the Browns 3-13 for the season, and going back to 2014, losers of 18 in their past 21 tries.

Pettine also has this in common with his fellow members of the ex-Browns' coaches club: He also failed to turn things around in a short, almost unreasonable amount of time. Like Mangini and Shurmur, Pettine only got two seasons, hardly enough to establish any consistency, especially with a staggering lack of talent on the roster, which, as expected, cost Ray Farmer his job on Sunday as well. Chud lasted only one year, but Romeo got four, thanks in part to his 10-6 run in 2007, the only winning season any of these not-so-Fab Five could produce.

Which is why I said 'almost' unreasonable amount of time. Continuity is important, unless you're continuously bad, and the Browns were not only continuously bad, they regressed under Pettine and his staff, especially defensively.

Despite Jimmy Haslam's vow prior to the season not to shake things up, the Browns owner had no choice. It's tough to find one area on this team in which they actually improved under Pettine. Sure, their quarterbacks put up a few 300-yard games, but they weren't nearly as close to being even a .500 team as they'd have you believe. Eight of their losses were by at least 14 points. Most of the games, even while close for a while, never seemed in doubt. And even more to the point, Pettine and his staff never found a consistent rhythm. Not with their lineup. Not with their identity. Not with their game-day decisions. In short, they simply seemed to be in over their heads.

Pettine handled his final weeks as the Browns head coach as well as could be expected. With a calm, almost resigned manner, and even a sense of humor, at times. Maybe he'll resurrect his career with a defensive coordinator position, and someday land another top job, with a general manager in his corner (and on the same page), a better roster, and more experience.

In the meantime, the Browns had to make this move. Landing a top coaching contender won't be easy. The situation in Berea is considered toxic around the NFL. But what was taking place, on and off the field over the past year and a half, took the Browns to new lows. And as Crennel, Mangini, Shurmur and Chud could tell you, that's saying something.

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