Mary Kay Cabot: ‘It’s Revolving Door With The Browns’
When Mary Kay Cabot agreed to cover football for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, did she have any idea that she’d actually be covering a circus?
“It never ends,” the Browns reporter said on The John Feinstein Show. “Every time I turn around, there’s a new regime being blown up, another coach being fired, another general manager gone. It’s just a revolving door here. It’s just been a whirlwind.”
In the last two months, the Browns have fired former head coach Rob Chudzinski, hired new head coach Mike Pettine, fired general manager Mike Lombardi and watched CEO Joe Banner resign.
All of this has occurred under owner Jimmy Haslam’s watch.
“When he first showed up on the Browns’ doorstep, he said right off the bat, ‘I’m a very impatient person,’ – and he’s proven to be that so far,” Cabot said. “But I think more so than anything, Jimmy came in 16 months ago, took over the team and really had no idea how to be an NFL owner. He admitted the other day there’s a huge learning curve (and that) he underestimated it and when he came in. He put the team in the hands of Joe Banner, and then Joe hired Mike Lombardi – and they all hired Rob Chudzinski.
“Well, Jimmy has decided after 16 months to wipe out the whole regime and start over again. He felt that he basically made mistakes and stumbled out of the gate and hired the wrong people, and he felt it was time to start all over.”
Then again, no one saw the Browns going to the Super Bowl last year, so why all of the upheaval in a short amount of time?
“As Jimmy went through the coaching search, I think he heard more and more things about the people that he had in place,” Cabot said. “In addition to the people he talked to around the league, there was just this drumbeat that got louder and louder that nobody wanted this job, that this was a dysfunctional place, that it was toxic, that they were the Three Stooges – and I think it just got larger than life. I think it got to Jimmy. It was an overwhelming amount of information coming at him, (and) he pulled the trigger.”
With so little organizational stability, it’s no wonder the Browns have lost at least 11 games in six straight seasons.
As embarrassing as the Browns have been, though, is it possible Haslam did what was needed to get the organization back on the right track?
“We will not know that for some time,” Cabot said. “Right now, he’s got a first-time head coach and a first-time general manager. And when you look at the coaching staff here, you just don’t have that voice-of-reason type of coach, that former NFL head coach that can help Mike Pettine out right now in those tough times. I think this is a very tough time to be a coach (or a GM) with all the social media going on. So we just don’t know yet.”
The Browns must now prepare for arguably the most important draft in franchise history. They have three of the top 35 picks, including Nos. 4 and 26.
Cleveland has to hit on all three.
“The jury is still out,” Cabot said. “We won’t know for two or three years how this worked out.”