CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – It’s over. The marriage has failed again and another divorce is inevitable.
In less than 22 months after Hue Jackson walked into the building to a heroes welcome and pledged to “chase greatness,” the Browns are going to have to blow part, if not all of it, up again. They have no other choice.
In spite of their pleas publicly and privately that all is well between the front office and the coaching staff and that their processes are working in perfect harmony, we learned Tuesday that is all a facade.
Forget failing to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots, or the fact the front office failed to upgrade the worst receiving corps in the league before the trade deadline for an 0-8 team that is drowning or that we now know DeShone Kizer isn’t the answer at quarterback thanks to this little snafu, the botched trade with the Bengals told the world what we already knew: the Cleveland Browns remain a bumbling, stumbling mess of incompetence, ineptitude and dysfunction – on and off the field.
There is no version of reality that has Paul DePodesta, Sash Brown and Hue Jackson remaining together beyond Dec. 31, 2017.
That is not speculation, hyperbole or innuendo. It is fact.
Since taking over as executive vice president of football operations Brown has executed nearly 20 trades. The Harvard law graduate knows exactly how it is done. So the dog ate my homework or I forgot to hit send or the Bengals sent in the wrong copy excuses simply don’t fly.
The Browns did not submit the proper paperwork to the league office, in time. Period. End of story.
Maybe the Browns had second thoughts about sending a 2018 second- and third-round pick to Cincinnati for AJ McCarron. That’s completely understandable and they should come clean instead of coming up with some ridiculous story that the Bengals forgot to send the league office the right copy of the paperwork, which Cincinnati has – on the record and not via “league sources” – flat out denied.
This wasn’t an accident. It was maleficence. It was sabotage.
And for that, someone must pay the price.
Jackson can’t win with the roster Brown has given him. When players like Demario Davis and Joe Haden are simply thrown away, how on earth can Jackson feel that the front office has his back and is doing everything in their power to help him do his job? More importantly, how can he trust them?
What little trust that may have been left evaporated Tuesday at 4:01 p.m.
Jackson has to wear 1-23 or whatever he finishes come the end of December for the remainder of his coaching career, which has been forever stained thanks to the Browns.
Jackson isn’t blameless in this either. His game management, which would stand to reason is compromised from the outset with the lack of talent he’s working with, leaves a lot to be desired. His alleged choices in quarterbacks do too – see Robert Griffin III and now AJ McCarron.
So what now?
Multiple league sources have indicated that there won’t be any in-season changes. All involved will be given a fair opportunity over the next 9 weeks to prove that they are capable of turning it around, together. It just doesn’t seem possible it can happen. Not after Tuesday so let yet another power struggle begin.
Regardless, what took place Tuesday afternoon is the final nail in someone’s coffin.
The problem the Haslams face now when it comes to making more changes is this: over the course of the last 5 years they have burned bridges, alienated executives and coaches across the league while unintentionally doing irreparable harm to their own franchise.
76 Lou Groza Blvd. is the NFL’s version of Chernobyl.
Once again the Browns have to wipe the mud off their face and frantically search for more lipstick to slap on the pig, but they’re just wasting time and energy.
Forget cracks in the foundation, once again the organization is caving in from within.
If you have any doubts about the veracity of that, just look to Tuesday.