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Monday, January 13, 2014

The Great Browns Head Coach Search of 2014: Just Win Baby!

Rumors abound regarding who is – and ISN’T – on the list of candidates to be the new Cleveland Browns Head Coach. Fans and media members alike are speculating and there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on one guy. The front runner was Josh McDaniels, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that he’s not interested.  His loss.  We didn’t want him anyway. (Mature, I know, but that’s me).  Whether you like Denver OC Adam Gase, Seattle DC Dan Quinn, or Green Bay QB Coach Ben McAdoo, there are folks who will argue for or against your guy.

 As for me, I’m more interested in the criteria the Browns are using to find their next Head Coach. Let’s face it – how many of us outside Seattle are familiar with the defensive scheme and talents of the Seahawks?  Anyone outside of Green Bay or the Packers' organization know how much influence Ben McAdoo had on Aaron Rodger’s play or the decision to not keep Matt Flynn?  I have no clue.  Instead, it’s not the name or the experience that a guy brings, but the attitude, the philosophy that matters. Does he THINK about football the way the three guys running the Browns THINK about football… because they must be on the same page if he will have any chance of surviving past year one. 

I reached out to a few of my contacts with the Browns and asked them that very question… What qualities does the perfect candidate possess? What is most important for the team going forward?  And the answer I got was surprisingly simple... Just Win Baby.

"We’re looking for a coach who gives us confidence that we can win. We’re in search of a coach who can see our team as a group that has a strong nucleus, and work together with our personnel staff to determine how to best utilize the assets we have going into the offseason, and take us to the next level. The best individual that can help us achieve those goals is the person we’re after. “ – Zak Gilbert, Director of Communications, Cleveland Browns

Seems simple, and yet, when you look at it, that’s the beautiful part. It opens the door to a wide variety of coaches and focuses on the one thing that matters:  Winning. They are not locked onto a defensive style, offensive plan, or anything else... Just Win Baby.  And after years of listening to fans complain about terrible losses, listening to media tell me the team needs to “learn how to win,” listening to MYSELF justify personnel moves and front office decisions to other fans, all we really need is a guy to come in here and show us how to win.

And it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. The tricky part is picking the Right Guy and that’s where the skepticism of fans will rear its head; because as much as we complain, we ALL want them to get this one RIGHT so we can Just Win Baby.

For my five takes this week, I went back through the archives (translation: searched the internet) and found my five favorite quotes from Jimmy Haslam III regarding Winning. This concept is nothing new and is a focal point in each major press conference or announcement the team has made since JH3 became the owner.  To me, that makes it believable, even if you think it’s too simplistic…

For Kate’s Five Takes – “Winning” quotes from JH3 - click this link to www.nflfemale.com

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Week 17: Steelers 20 Browns FIRE COACH

In the midst of the second quarter of the worst-played game the Browns had this season, Twitter lit up with stories from national sources that they would be firing their Head Coach, Rob Chudzinski, after the game. Needless to say the game became the backstory which, considering how poorly they played, may have been a good thing.  We lost. Score doesn’t matter. Season ended.
As for the firing, I won’t begin to tell you that I understand the reasons we were given by Jimmy Haslam III and Joe Banner. In fact, I don’t really believe them, let alone understand, how you decide after 16 games that, with the tools he was given, Chud wasn’t the right Head Coach for us. However, the reasons and my beliefs are irrelevant. If the men running this team want skeptical fans to believe in them, trust that they know what they are doing, then they better already have the next coach wrapped up and ready to go. You simply DON’T fire someone without a better alternative.
What bothers me the most about the firing is the way it was handled. Someone leaked the fact that Haslam, Banner, and GM Mike Lombardi were discussing Chud’s termination on Saturday. The tweets started coming on Sunday as we kicked off versus division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. While a 4-12 team versus a 5-11 team isn’t a big deal, this game MATTERED on a number of levels, and should have been the focus of the team and the fans. We had a chance to guarantee the Steelers were out of the playoffs. We had a chance to beat each of our division opponents once this season – which has never happened in the history of the AFC North (2002). And we had a chance to get rid of the bad taste losing leaves in the fans’ mouths, so that at least the offseason wouldn’t look so bleak.
Instead, national sports writers are tweeting about our coach getting fired and management completely blind-siding all of Cleveland, including our local media. This makes me wonder WHO leaked this story and WHY they would do such a thing. I understood the power of being the person to break a story 20 years ago when we all bought newspapers to get our daily sports news. Now? Who cares? In this age of instant information, if I hear something at 12:45 or 12:51, does it really matter?
WR Josh Gordon Photo by Cleveland Browns
WR Josh Gordon
Photo by Cleveland Browns
Sadly, someone was CLASSLESS enough to think it would be nice to give a buddy the story in time for the last game and, in the process, embarrass the team, the fans, and even the local media who, day in and day out, spend time with the team and NO ONE had even a WHIFF that there was discontent with Chud.  So, instead of going into the offseason with the hope of building for the future, learning from this season to sort through the players and plan for a deep draft in which we have 10 picks in the early rounds, we became, yet again, the joke of the NFL.
Bottom Line? Whoever leaked the story should be ASHAMED. Grownups don’t do things like this, trade favors at the cost of people’s feelings and dignity. Grownups are respectful of others. Spoiled children who are more interested in “ME” than “WE” are the ones who do this kind of thing. And as fans we have to deal with the fact that whoever this person is, s/he is involved in running my football team. And it’s that person’s judgment that I truly question. OY.
There were bright spots this season and, though we face yet another off-season of turmoil and uncertainty, we need to remember the things that give us hope for next year…

For "Kate’s Five Takes – Pro-Bowlers!" click this link to www.nflfemale.com

Respectfully Submitted,
Cleveland Kate

Week 15: Browns 31 Bears 38

Sigh. For the third week in a row, my Browns have taken a late 4th quarter lead and turned it into defeat.  I guess the bright side is that we can stop complaining about the offense. The offense is putting points on the board and playing with a bit of respectability. It’s the defense that can’t seem to play for a full 60 minutes.  Sigh.  Again.

The real kicker is that this defeat gives us yet another double-digit-loss season. I had such hopes for this year. Nothing crazy like the playoffs, but at least an 8-8 record. It would show the progress that most fans are craving. I guess we still need more time, work, and talent before we can make real progress.

For "Kate’s Five Takes" click this link to www.nflfemale.com

Respectfully Submitted,
Cleveland Kate

Week 11: Browns 20 Bengals 41

Have I told you lately how tough the AFC North has been? Well thank goodness we beat the Bengals earlier in the season, because the fates or evil spirits or cursed football gods all came alive during a wacky second quarter that saw the Browns give up 31 points and let the Bengals just run away with the victory. Sigh.

For "Kate’s Five Takes" click this link to www.nflfemale.com

Respectfully Submitted,
Cleveland Kate