Browns owner Jimmy Haslam probably won't speak with the media until the end of the season, at the earliest. He must be steaming about his 3-6 Browns.
If I owned the Browns …
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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.
If the 39-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins didn’t mathematically eliminate the Browns from post-season jostling, it crushed their spirit. Certainly, it crushed the spirit of their fan base.
The Browns are 3-6 this season and 5-11 over their last 16 games. The record of the perfectly-aligned triumvirate of Paul DePodesta, Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski has sunk from 11-5 in 2020 to 8-9 in 2021 and to 3-6 in 2022.
One more loss in Jacoby Brissett’s two remaining starts at quarterback means the Browns would have failed to keep the season afloat for the return of Deshaun Watson from NFL suspension.
Even Myles Garrett dismissed the one-game mentality cultivated by Stefanski when he said after the debacle in South Florida, “We have to win the next two games” for any chance of giving Watson a belated run to make things interesting over his six games.
To not even be a relevant contender when the $230 million Watson was reinstated from his 11-game NFL suspension was the Browns’ worst nightmare. It is one loss to Buffalo or Tampa Bay from happening.
You wonder what Browns’ ownership is thinking.
The Haslams don’t figure to make themselves available to media until after the season, which concludes, forebodingly, in Pittsburgh – the graveyard of Browns head coaches -- on Jan. 11.
I don’t know what the Haslams are thinking. I suppose they are steaming. I know what I’d be thinking and doing if I were them.
If I owned the Browns, I would:
* Have a stern talk with Stefanski and say, “You know that opening script of plays that’s been treating you right? How about coming up with something that works in the second, third and fourth quarters?”
* “And another thing. Remove that Cheesecake Factory-sized menu of plays from your face and watch the game and manage the whole team throughout the game. We hired you to be the head coach, not the offensive coordinator.”
* “One more thing. Backup quarterbacks are backups because they don’t make a lot of plays. Why are you asking Brissett to do so much?”
* “And by the way, use the preseason games next summer to get your starters ready for the regular season. I don’t care what every other coach is doing. Get your team ready to play. Don’t worry about the backups.”
* Summon DePodesta’s enormous analytics staff to a conference room and demand, “Don’t give me any statistics that I have to Google to understand. If it’s that complicated, eat it. And from now on, sit in the stands during games. I don’t want anybody in the coach’s booth but coaches.”
* Meet with Andrew Berry and tell him, “Our best players were acquired before I hired you as GM. None of your draft choices will make a Pro Bowl during their rookie contracts. Explain, please.”
* “By the way, why didn’t you talk me out of this crazy Watson deal? Part of your job is to keep me from doing something impulsive and stupid.”
* “One other thing. You know that idea about making the defense lighter and faster? Flush it. Get some linebackers who can tackle a running back. And get a defensive tackle who doesn’t get blown off the snap of the ball.”
* Last thing. “Whomever was the person responsible for M.J. Emerson, promote him/her. I trust it’s not the same person who discovered Anthony Schwartz.”
* Pull aside Nick Chubb from practice and tell him, “I’m really sorry, man. Hang in there.”
* Pull aside Myles Garrett from practice and tell him, “You’ve never received a vote for defensive player of the year. Quit talking about it. And you know about Pro Football Focus naming you the top-rated player in the league? We canceled our PFF subscription because of it.”
* Pull aside Cade York from practice and tell him, “That 58-yard field goal in Carolina in Game 1 saved me a lot of severance pay for fired coaches.. Thanks.”
* Have a talk with Watson and tell him, “If you had settled these unsavory lawsuits months earlier you probably would have been suspended only six games. So, you owe us. It’s payback time. Win five of your six games and we’re good.”
* Invite Brissett to the Bratenahl mansion for dinner and say, “Hey, man, thanks for your service. You’ve been good. Take the next two weeks off. I want to give [Josh] Dobbs a chance. I liked what I saw from him in preseason. Don’t take it personally.”
* Stop Grant Delpit walking on to the practice field and ask him, “What the hell has happened to your game?”
* Instruct our equipment staff to do a thorough mock-up of a white helmet with a brown/orange stripe on the crown and engage discussions of making it the permanent helmet – not just an alternative.