A recent history of abandoning fledgling operations, the Browns may be ready to ride this one out in hopes of it completing a long-sought-after franchise rejuvenation. Owner Jimmy Haslam threw his support behind GM Ray Farmer and second-year coach Mike Pettine, vowing to not “blow things up” if the team sputters this season, according to Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com.
“I think we’re on the right track, so we’re not going to blow things up,” said Haslam, who axed the Browns’ previous power structure of Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi and Rob Chudzinski, along with the decision-making troika before that (Mike Holmgren/Tom Heckert/Pat Shurmur. “I understand why people might ask that after a couple of bumps in the road the first couple of years, but we’re not going to do that. I think we’re putting in place a good foundation.
“… (Farmer and Pettine are) quality people; they’re smart; they work hard; they’ve been around football all their life,” Haslam said. “Listen, if I would’ve said this time last year we were going to be 7-9, you all would’ve probably said that was pretty good, right?”
Instances like Textgate, a reported riff between Pettine and Farmer, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan fleeing Cleveland with two years remaining on his deal, and Johnny Manziel‘s disastrous rookie year have the organization in a rough spot.
Speaking of Manziel, here’s some news surrounding the Browns’ mercurial backup quarterback and from the rest of the team.
- Haslam does not intend to give up on Manziel, contrary to some of the rumblings from anonymous sources around the league, and that the 2012 Heisman Trophy recipient doesn’t have to show he’s capable of succeeding in the league this year to receive another shot. “I think it’s important — everybody forgets he’s barely 22 years old,” said Haslam, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He’s still young, so I think over the next couple of years we’ve got to see if Johnny can be a legitimate quarterback or not. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him or our coaches to say it has to happen this year.” Manziel seems to be entrenched as a backup behind journeyman Josh McCown.
- A hallmark of consistency but not much of an offseason buzz-generator considering his sturdy status, Joe Thomas said he’s not looking to find a way out of Cleveland despite the Browns’ struggles throughout the All-Pro left tackle’s tenure, reports Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com. “It’s more important for me to take this Cleveland Browns team to the playoffs, for only the second time since they’ve come back, turn this team back into a contender year in and year out, than it is to go somewhere and latch on with an all-star team and go to the playoffs or win the Super Bowl. Because I don’t think it means as much,” Thomas told Grossi.
- Grossi is 50-50 on Terrelle Pryor making the 53-man roster and advocates the team use him in short-yardage or two-point conversion scenarios, but the coaching staff is set on using him only at receiver. The former Raiders signal-caller has stood out early in camp but still an uphill battle with the likes of Travis Benjamin, Taylor Gabriel and 2015 draft choice Vince Mayle hovering as the Browns’ potential backups.
- The ESPNCleveland scribe said the team doesn’t want to use versatile first-rounder Cameron Erving at right tackle in order to keep starter Mitchell Schwartz in the lineup and view what Michael Bowie can do with reserve reps.