Cleveland Browns Daily reaction to front-office changes

Posted Feb 11, 2014

Ray Farmer was promoted to General Manager on Tuesday.

On a newsy Tuesday edition of “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford,” co-hosts Vic Carucci and Nathan Zegura reacted to the news that Ray Farmer has been promoted from assistant general manager to general manager, replacing Michael Lombardi, and that Joe Banner will be stepping down from his role as chief executive officer.

Farmer sat down with Vic and Nathan to express his excitement and jubilation as he begins his new position. Jim Donovan, from the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network, joined Vic and Nathan to discuss the breaking news and his opinion on how Jimmy Haslam retook ownership of the Browns.

Je’Rod Cherry finished by providing his feedback to the news and the relationship needed between Farmer and coach Mike Pettine for the Browns to succeed.

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Here are some highlights:

Nathan  Zegura: “This is a stunning development. It’s a more traditional setup now, with a president, general manager, and head coach. I thought that Ray Farmer came out looking very good in his press conference. He looked intelligent and worked well with the media. That’s something we weren’t used to seeing with Lombardi. For once, it is clearly defined as to who has control over what. Last year, I couldn’t tell you who had control over the 53-man roster, the game-day roster, anything like that. Now the structure seems to be back. With extreme conviction, Haslam thinks that Pettine is the best coach for the Browns. You get the feeling that he made these decisions and now he’s ready to move forward with it. We need September to come and we need the Browns to win football games. That’s all we need.”

Vic Carucci: “I’m not going to lie; it’s been a different day here in Berea. It’s a day where people have been walking around with that dazed look on their face. I think we all knew this was a critical offseason and Banner’s and Lombardi’s jobs were on the line when it came to how the offseason was handled. They would have needed to hit the most perfect of home runs in order to keep their jobs, so from that standpoint, I had my doubts. Haslam was right in saying that Banner did a lot to help this team from a business growth standpoint, but the football side was not benefiting from this. The two of them were lightning rods for this organization in many ways. Haslam is not used to be the laughing stock of anything, so I think that really wore on him. This doesn’t change the fact that this is still the most critical offseason for the Browns. Bottom line, give the fans a winning football team and it will solve a lot of the issues.”

Ray Farmer: “This is such an exciting time for me and my family. Last night, I received a call from Jimmy Haslam and he explained to me what was happening. It wasn’t on my radar at all. I was preparing for the draft, the combine, and free agency. So, after I got off the phone, that moment of excitement and jubilation set in. Moving forward, I would like to tell everyone that the plan is focused on the connective part of it all, making sure Pettine and I are completely on the same page. Building a team isn’t about having the most talented 53 guys. It’s about having the 53 that fit together, work together, and play together. For me, my playing experience really helps me understand both sides of the ball. As you watch guys, you get an understating of who can play. Players know players. I think it serves me well that I’ve played and had the exposure to professional coaching, to being on the field, and in a locker room. I understand what it takes to build a team. My first priority is going to be to continue working with the coaches and the scouts for the combine. I want to make sure we are in lockstep in identifying these players, going through the interview processes, and understanding these guys. I am certain that as we move forward we will make the right decisions.

Jim Donovan: “I think today Jimmy Haslam retook ownership of the Browns. I think he said something very honest today – he said it was a ‘work-on-the-job’ thing. I think he has learned on the job and he came to the determination that what is need for him and his family is to get more involved with this billion dollar franchise. I’m sure there were things he didn’t like hearing at the Super Bowl. It was a time where everyone was together and asking him what is happening in Cleveland. At the end of the day, I think Haslam is in it to win and he’s in it to win in this very privileged club of owning a NFL team. I just think today the Browns seemed more in sync than they did at any other time. There’s an owner, a general manager, a head coach. It’s simple.”

Je'Rod Cherry: “I’m thinking that at some point in the last two or three weeks, Banner lost his prestige in the eyes of Haslam. At some level, something took place where Jimmy couldn’t trust his voice anymore. To be frank, I think the organization will be better served, especially with the issues taking place on the football field. When your head coach isn’t the lead voice of the team, players take notice of that and I think that’s something Rob (Chudzinski) suffered from. Ray Farmer is a guy who is all about business, a real hard worker. At this point forward, it has to be about Mike (Pettine) and Ray not being in a power struggle against each other, but wanting to see the Browns succeed. If their mindset is what they can do to make each other’s job easier, then they are going to be okay. The tangible proof will come during opening weekend, when we see how the guys respond in the second half of the game, when the game is on the line.”

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