Talk about a crazy day. After everything that’s taken place today, I figured now would be a good time to offer up my thoughts on the hire and where I see things going from here. Here they are in absolutely no particular order:
- I’m not a fan of Lombardi. Despite what he says about how he has changed and how he has learned from his mistakes, I’m still skeptical. I could buy into that if Lombardi had been fired from one job, maybe even two jobs. He’s been fired four times! FOUR! How on Earth can we blindly accept that Lombardi has learned from his mistakes and this time will be different from all the others. Sorry I’m not buying it. I’m more willing to admit a star linebacker had a fake dead girlfriend than this Lombardi nonsense.
- At one point, Lombardi talked at length about how the best part of his NFL Network job was how much film he was able to watch and how well he now knows the league as a result. Ok, then why is it that when questioned about Brandon Weeden and even Josh Gordon… despite his acknowledgement that Gordon was safe… he responded by saying he would need to watch more film before making a decision. How is that possible? Is there more film hidden away in a cave that we aren’t aware of.
- Speaking of Brandon Weeden, the level of non-committal regarding him as the starting quarter back, or even being on the roster moving forward, is a bit alarming. If Weeden isn’t the guy then uhhhh… who is going to be the starter. They had best figure this out.
- Both Banner and Haslam went on and on about Lombardi’s knowledge and his ability to assess talent. Well, that’s all well and good if that’s really what you want to believe, but the fact of the matter is that Mick Lombardi’s track record in player analysis and drafting isn’t very good. It’s as simple as that. He has made numerous statements about players both on TV and in writing over the past five years that have come back to bite him in the ass. Let’s just hope when it comes to making actual picks, he does significantly better this time around.
- This looks like nothing more than a power play by Joe Banner. It’s no secret that he wants to be the guy running the show and making the decisions about player personnel. Coincidentally, Lombardi has been desperate to get back into the league. Naturally, in order for both to accomplish what they wanted this became a match made in heaven…err hell depending on your POV. Banner could say I’ll hire you but I get final say so on everything. Lombardi, desperately wanting back into the league would have no choice to say OK n order to get the job. It because of this possible match making scenario that I am very skeptical of this entire thing.
- The Browns pushed heavily the idea of how the team improved during Lombardi’s first tenure with the team. While true, you can also make a case that the late 80’s teams were a direct result of the players brought in prior to Lombardi’s involvement and that the early to mid-90’s teams a direct result of Bill Belichick’s influence. Not the Browns, instead Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner constructed a tale that made Lombardi seem like the pivotal piece of the equation.
- “When we spoke to people around the league, one name kept floating to the surface” and “People we talked to around the league told us that if we had the opportunity to hire Mike Lombardi we’d be foolish not to.” One problem with that. Why would rival front office executives provide a rival with solid info like that. Isn’t it possible that they provided them with terrible info in order to bait the Browns into a terrible decision? Nah, you’re right. No NFL team would be that ruthless.
- Finally, while I’m skeptical… as I’ve said numerous times… I’m willing to give this a chance. But! THe leash is going to be very short. If this team isn’t significantly better within two years (and really, their had best be a substantial improvement in 2013) then I’m going to be wanting to end this nonsense. We’ve seen so many teams make quick turnarounds over the past few years that waiting for a five-year process to kick into effect just won’t cut it. Time to put up or shut up for the Browns.