The Browns are 0-8 halfway through the 2017-18 NFL season, and are showing no signs of going up. Cleveland 19's Mark Schwab takes a look at why the team is such a mess.
5. Sashi Brown - You might think this is a bit hyperbolic, but I don’t.
Yes, they have been a disaster since 1999 and Brown has only been in charge for less than two seasons, but he’s also the reason we’re talking about this.
We’ve seen the Browns be bad for nearly two decades and we have never seen anything like this. We’ve never seen one Browns team nearly go 0-16.
We’re on our second straight year on the 0-16 watch. This is a whole different level of bad. Teams that contend do not go through periods like this. Yeah, the Cowboys of the 90's went 1-15 in 1989, they won seven games the next year. Teams that bottom out and rebuild still win three, four, or five games. This team isn't close to a four-win team! This is a historic level of terrible and we have no idea when it's going to improve. Sashi Brown has sunk them to levels lower than we ever thought possible.
4. Coming back too early - The 1999 Browns were an expansion team, but they would have been better off being an expansion team in 2000 or maybe even '01. The Browns went away in 1995, but they did not have three years to get this operation going. Al Lerner was awarded the club in September of 1998. That’s less than a year to get ready! Houston was awarded a franchise three years before the Texans took the field. The Panthers and Jaguars had a two year start-up. The Browns started training camp less than 11 months after Lerner was awarded the team. They were behind the 8-ball right away, and were always playing catch up. That 1999 draft was a disaster, in part, because of this.
3. The constant turnover - There are times it makes sense to fire somebody after two years, but not this often. Chris Palmer, Eric Mangini, Mike Pettine and Pat Shurmur were all fired after two seasons. Chud was canned after one season. The GM turnover rate is just as bad. Sometimes you have to do it, I think they need to do it with this front office, but not as often as the Browns have. They are seemingly learning a new offense every year.
2. Their drafting - Probably the most talked about issue of the Browns. The failures are well known. Whether it's the recent issues, like DeShaun Watson and Carson Wentz, or the embarrassment that was their first two picks in 2014 (Gilbert/Manziel), to all the other failed picks over the years. And part of this goes back to the continuity issues, these problems do overlap. Their drafting is so bad, a lot of people would probably rank it first on this list but I have one bigger...
1. The passing of Al Lerner - Lerner died at 69-years-old. By today's standards, that's not old. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2001, and he passed away in Oct. 2002. He was an entrepreneur, a marine, and a leader. Certainly some of the issues on this list happened under his watch, but it looked like things were getting fixed. Butch Davis had the team going in the right direction in 2001. They made the playoffs a year later. This fell apart after that, largely because of a leadership void that was created by Lerner's passing. Randy Lerner, a good man, was just not cut out for owning an NFL club. Under Randy's watch things just disintegrated. It's a shame he was put in that spot. I firmly believe and Al Lerner-led Browns franchise is nowhere near the debacle they are now.
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