Post count: 8

Browns fan hear who lives in the Tampa Bay area.  To me, the problems with the Browns started at the top.  Al Lerner was interested in the team, though he trusted the wrong guy to put things together (Carmen Policy).  This relationship was really set up by the NFL itself.  I think Lerner would have gotten things right eventually, but he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2001.  His son Randy began taking over at that point and fully took control when his dad passed away in 2002.  Randy was never much of a football fan.  He preferred living over in the UK much of the time and cares much more about watching soccer than he does football.  Within a few years of taking over the Browns, he went and invested heavily in the Aston Villa Football Club in Birmingham, England and became the chairman of that team in 2006.Bucs fans may see some familiarity to this story since the Glazers share some of it.  Lerner decided to sell and sold to Jimmy Haslam, an avid American football fan with a competitive spirit.  Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi were pretty much shoved on him by the NFL.The back story on Chudzinski is that Banner hired him and expected him to listen to the FO.  After Hoyer went down and the season was lost last year, the FO asked Chud to play the younger players over vets so they could see what they had.  Chudzinski refused and played the old vets, thinking it gave the team a better chance to win.  That was the primary reason behind his firing.  The FO made a reasonable request and Chudzinski refused to follow it.Haslam allowed Banner to fire Chud after listening to him and was more active in the coaching search this time around.  From the beginning, he saw Lombardi and Banner bungle managing the process, make silly demands of interviewees, and just put on a clinic of how not to get a coach.Haslam had his own ideas and really liked Pettine in his two interviews.  Despite thinking about waiting for someone else, it was Haslam that pulled the trigger.  Haslam also noticed that several teams were interested in Ray Farmer, the assistant GM.  He asked around to other owners and execs in the NFL and found he was highly regarded everywhere for his talent evaluation skills.  The speculation is that he hatched the plan to can Lombardi and Banner and put someone he wanted in charge - not someone the NFL had "asked" him to take when he became a new owner.Ultimately my point is that things start at the top.  I would love for the Browns to make the postseason, but my primary care is seeing progress and hope for the future.  Pettine's defenses usually take about six weeks to sink in, so I am interested in seeing if the Pittsburgh game is where they put things together.  Further, they are being helped by guys Farmer identified and drafted.  Joel Bitonio doesn't get a lot of props because he's on the OL, but the guy has routinely been outplaying Pro Bowlers Joe Thomas and Alex Mack.  Not bad for a rookie OL.  Justin Gilbert is coming around now as well and growing.  Players are not making the same mistakes each week and seem to be correcting, indicating good coaching.  And the Browns have twice charged back from large second half deficits (successfully once), indicating they are making adjustments.  In the past, they would have rolled over.But you can see images all over of Jimmy Haslam at camp.  Jimmy Haslam at practice.  Jimmy Haslam in Browns gear watching his team.  Same goes for Farmer.  Concerning the Bucs, my opinion is the Glazers checked out years ago and remain clueless.  They haven't had a true GM with full authority since McKay and have not let the GM pick the coach since McKay did it with Dungy.Lovie Smith was a desperation move on their part.  An attempt to con the fans and try to recapture the magic of the Dungy years.  The central problem is they gave Lovie way too much power in their desperation and he has proven he can't really evaluate talent well.  Jason Licht strikes me as a figure head.  The org does do a good job trying to convince their fans that the players are better than they truly are as well, leading to high hopes every year.  I am much more cynical, but that probably comes from being a fan of Cleveland sports.  I usually expect that whatever can go wrong, will.  Regardless of who comes in, I'm not sure the Glazers will get it right or let whoever comes in do it their way.My opinion from the outside as one who knows a lot about the Bucs is that IF the determination is made that Lovie is the wrong guy, it is best to cut ties quickly instead of setting the team even further back.  Ask yourself at this point if you feel comfortable with the idea of Lovie having almost full say on who gets selected with a high first round draft pick?If the answer is no then the best solution is to get rid of him and find someone you do trust.  If I were in charge, I'd fire Lovie and Licht then go find a good GM first.  I'd let the GM handle the coaching search, since he can figure out who he can work with and ensure they are both on the same page. 

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