Jimmy Haslam continues Browns' cycle of change

CLEVELAND -- "Change and upheaval" summarizes the Browns' past 16 years -- and the three years of owner Jimmy Haslam's tenure.

Haslam blew up his football leadership team again on Sunday, firing GM Ray Farmer and and coach Mike Pettine after a 3-13 season. Those two got two years to prove themselves in their jobs, an eternity compared to the one year Rob Chudzinski got.

Now Haslam starts over.


Evidently what the owner meant to say in training camp was that he was not going to blow it up if things were rough in 2015 -- unless he changed his mind.

Here the Browns go again, with yet another restart in a cycle of restarts that started in 1999 and seems to have no end.

Over and over again, the Browns change their coach and/or GM. Over and over again they expect it to change the end result and lead to success. Except the system is set up to have it not succeed. Because change leads to the inevitable. The new coach and GM want their assistant coaches, their systems, their players, which means restarting in almost every possible way.

With the Browns change leads to struggles which lead to more change which leads to more struggles which lead to (surprise) more change. The newest hires will make six coaches and six general managers in eight years. Continuity, anyone?

There are arguments, of course, that this past miserable season warranted change. Teams don't go 3-13 by accident.

But perhaps the biggest mistake made this season was actually believing that a flawed roster with a flawed approach could actually be truly competitive without a legitimate quarterback. In the end, the quarterback played better than expected, but so many other areas of the team imploded.

When a defensive head coach has a defense that struggles, it's not good.
 When a GM has four first-round draft picks in two years and they're not a foundation, it's not good.

There were issues.

Time might have fixed them, but Pettine and Farmer join Pat Shurmur, Tom Heckert, Chudzinski, Mike Lombardi and Joe Banner as folks not given time by Haslam, who in three years and three months as owner will have had four coaches, four general managers and three team presidents/CEOs.

The Browns haven't become a laughingstock of professional sports for no reason.

Where Haslam goes from this point will be interesting.

Who does the hiring? Do Haslam and team president Alec Scheiner have enough of a football presence to lay out what they want in a culture and then find someone to fit it? Or do they cast about for a candidate and hire the best option?

More important, would a credible and experienced coach and GM want to work for this team and in this environment, where failure permeates the very building?

The Browns reap what they sow. They have, as Joe Thomas pointed out, set themselves back simply with the changes. And the changes may in the long run cost them Thomas, who is so weary of the constant upheaval that he said he will wait to see what happens before deciding what he wants to do after this season.

This is a team that doesn't seem to merely grasp the notion of the definition of insanity; it lives it.