Opinion: Farmer must go, not Pettine

Ray Strickland is an opinion writer for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

Ray Strickland

The Browns—once again—sit at the bottom of the AFC North division with a 2-8 record and head coach Mike Pettine seems to be on his way out the door.

After an embarrassing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday, in which an injured Ben Roethlisberger threw for more than 300 passing yards in the first half and ended with nearly 400 yards, the Browns are likely to once again clear house.

The Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is on record saying a few days ago that there will be “no change” and vowed “not to blow things up,” as he will likely evaluate the team and his options at the end of the season.

As a head coach in the NFL, the team and everything that surrounds it will fall on the coach’s shoulders and in this case those shoulders are Pettine’s.

Pettine, who is the Browns’ 15th coach in franchise history, has not done much since his arrival in Cleveland. Pettine boast a record of 9-17 through his first 26 games as the Browns head coach, but it’s not all his fault.

The Browns have a history of dysfunction and since Pettine arrived in Cleveland it proved to be no different.

General manager Ray Farmer was hired a month after Pettine was hired. Farmer, who has been dysfunctional in his own right, is the guy who supposedly picks the talent that’s on the Browns team.

The coaching staff takes the brunt of the criticism, but Farmer’s decision-making on and off the field warrants more attention than it’s getting.

The Browns offense features receivers who aren’t even taller than me, standing shorter than 5’10.” Former Chiefs pro bowl wide out Dwayne Bowe will make $9 million in guarantees this season. A healthy scratch for most of the season, Bowe was brought in to be a starter and catch a lot of balls. So far, Bowe has just one catch through 10 games.

Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert was a player coming out of college the team and someone Farmer raved about. Gilbert has barely played, suffering injuries, but at times still not on the field when he has been healthy.

Gilbert, who some are calling the worst pick in Browns history, has made only two starts and recorded only one interception in his short career.

Farmer also spent a lot of money in the offseason to sure up one of the worst defenses in the league for the last few seasons.

Farmer brought in the likes of Paul Kruger, Donte Whitner, Tramon Williams and Karlos Dansby. All of these players are shells of their former selves and the defensive performances show that.

The Browns are the worst team in run defense, allowing more than 150 yards per game. The team also gives up more than 27 points per game, which ranks 27th in the league, while allowing more than 275 pass yards as well.

I understand it is not all Farmer, but he is the guy who makes the personnel decisions and I have yet to see one smart decision from him.

To make matters worst, before the start of the season he was suspended for the first four games and the Browns were fined $250,000 for Farmer illegally texting team personnel during games.

I have never seen a general manager in the news headlines for things outside of football. Farmer is bringing too much negative attention to the Browns and he has to go.

Pettine has dealt with more than any coach has had to deal with in the NFL his first two seasons with a team. Along with Farmer, Pettine had to answer questions about his embattled quarterback Johnny Manziel and his boss Jimmy Haslam’s police investigation of his trucking company.

With controversy swarming the Browns, combined with players who have not panned out, Pettine’s task to make the team relevant again is too much to ask with this amount of foolishness.

If you want Pettine gone, that’s fine. But, you have to look at Farmer and ownership first, because they are the ones calling the shots.