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Cleveland Browns Daily examines new front-office structure

Posted Feb 12, 2014

On Tuesday, Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam announced Ray Farmer as the team's new General Manager.


On Wednesday’s edition of “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford,” co-hosts Vic Carucci and Nathan Zegura continued to react to the front-office changes within the Browns and the next steps in moving forward.

John Clayton, from ESPN, provided a national perspective of the reconstruction of the Browns’ front office and his thoughts on new general manager Ray Farmer. Nate Ulrich, from the Akron Beacon Journal, weighed in on the discussion surrounding the firing of Mike Lombardi and Joe Banner.

Je’Rod Cherry wrapped up the show by supporting Jimmy Haslam’s decision to release Lombardi and Banner.

Here are some highlights:

Vic Carucci: “I think it’s important now that Haslam acts like the owner he wants to be, which is more involved with making the right things happen for this team. If you have someone who is a detriment to your ability to run a team, that becomes a problem. Haslam needs to become a more direct force with this new front-office structure. He has the people skills to pull this off. The more I talk to people around the league at the high executive levels, the more I hear how impressed they are with their encounters with him. First and foremost, Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine need to be on the same page about the system fits to both the defense and offense that this team is going to play. If they can come to an understanding of how the multiple-fronts defense will work, who the right fit is, the right linemen and running backs for the offensive scheme, then this team might be in good shape.”






Nathan Zegura: “If you have coaches who are saying they don’t respect that person or trust that person, as an owner, you have to take note of that. If you are running a company and your top sales guy isn’t trusted by your clients, you are going to get rid of him. When I look at this, I ask myself if this team is in a better or worse situation for the 2014 season than it would be if we kept Mike Lombardi and Joe Banner. I would say that this situation doesn’t look all that bad. If you have someone here in Ray Farmer who makes players want to come to Cleveland, as opposed to before, that’s good business. Despite all the front-office changes, everything that was still attractive about this job remains: the cap space, draft picks, the six Pro Bowlers. However, it remains, just like it always has, to be an incredibly critical offseason in possibly the history of the Browns.”






John Clayton: “Jimmy Haslam looks like an owner who needs to find people to give him the right guidance. We have been hearing rumblings for a few weeks, and now that it came true you can understand that Haslam was really upset that no one was willing to take the (head coach) job. I think what it came down to is that Banner brought Lombardi in and I think that kind of scared away some people. Joe was basically running the team, but after the failures of this year, it was hard for him to sell around the league to people who were looking at the job. You then start to look at Joe who had all the power and unfortunately, when the organization has a bad first year and you have to change things again, people get scared. Ray Farmer is a good football guy and if anyone over the last two years has gained stature in the league, it’s Ray. I thought the best thing he has done in the last 24 hours was to bring Bill Kuharich in. It shows he does have at least some idea of what he is doing. I think Ray can do the best job possible under a bad situation. Time will tell if this is a good decision.”






Nate Ulrich: “Like everyone, I was really stunned. The Lombardi firing didn’t shock me nearly as much as the Banner firing did. You don’t expect something that big to happen this time of year, so I was definitely caught off guard. I overall like the decision, with a couple of asterisks. Ray Farmer is entirely capable of being a good NFL general manager. He’s paid his dues, he’s smart and hardworking. I’m also impressed with (Browns president) Alec Scheiner. I buy all the hype about him being one of the best business minds in the NFL, so that’s encouraging. Now the asterisk is, will Farmer and Pettine be given the proper and adequate time to succeed. So far, Haslam has shown that he is willing to fire guys quickly and hasn’t waited long to see things develop. I like the move in some sense because I think the guys who are going to be elevated to positions of power are very capable, but they have to be given a fair shake. Bottom line is when it’s all shook out, the Browns ended up with a guy who not only established himself as a respected guy around the league, but has really blown Jimmy Haslam out of the water.”






Je'Rod Cherry: “I don’t see this as a negative move and I don’t think people locally do, either. You had a situation in place where Banner was in charge and he ran everything and that was hindering the ability for things to get done. If that is the heart of the franchise and he wasn’t exuding team over self, then Haslam did the right thing. You can’t put yourself over the team and if you are going to cross your arms and be mum if you don’t like the way things are going, that’s a problem and it needs to be fixed. I think free agents will be more apt to sign with Farmer because there isn’t a bad vibe against him, versus Joe’s reputation around the league.”

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