COMMENTARY | Discussions and opinions about Mike Pettine not being the first choice of those running the Cleveland Browns are now irrelevant. He is the team's head coach.
So now what?
Pettine and the Browns' brass will be looking to put together a team of coordinators and other coaches as quickly as possible in order to prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft, during which Cleveland is expected to select a quarterback of the future and also additional cornerstones for what will hopefully become a winning team.
As usual with the Browns, it all starts with the man under center.
Browns settle on Pettine: The QB
As Rob Chudzinski, who was fired by the Browns after having the head coach job for only 11 months, found out, having a franchise quarterback is an absolute must if Cleveland is to compete with the other three teams in the division and with the top sides in the conference. While the Browns do have Brian Hoyer, who is coming off of a torn ACL, waiting to enter the summer as the team's starting quarterback, multiple reputable reports linking Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel with the Browns have emerged over the past several weeks.
Plenty will happen between Pettine's being hired and night one of the 2014 NFL Draft, most notably the NFL Scouting Combine and player workouts. The choice of starting quarterback for Week 1, whether it be Hoyer, Manziel or somebody else, is one the coaching staff and front office absolutely cannot get wrong. Otherwise, this process will have been for naught as it pertains to next fall.
Browns settle on Pettine: Help
Pettine has, throughout his NFL career, been a coach who has concentrated on the defensive side of the football. While there is truth in the adage that defense wins championships (i.e. the Seattle Seahawks), a team isn't even sniffing a title run without having what is at least a pretty good offense (i.e. the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, etc.).
The Browns losing and then failing to replace their starting quarterback once Hoyer was lost for the season in October didn't help matters, but the numbers suggest that Norv Turner failed as the team's offensive coordinator. It's hardly a secret that there was a real disconnect between coaching staff and front office during the second half of the campaign, most notably regarding the quarterback and running back positions.
There can be none of that this time around.
Just as vital as is everybody being on the same page is Pettine and company locating and appointing an offensive coordinator AND a quarterbacks coach who will patiently work with a rookie QB. Hoyer's status aside, the Browns are taking a quarterback at some point in the draft, and that individual will be expected to start for Cleveland, either in 2014 or later on down the road.
That young player is going to need real guidance, guidance that isn't going to come from a former LB coach/defensive coordinator or a quarterback who has 192 total NFL regular season pass attempts to his name.
Browns settle on Pettine: His team
Pettine's official introduction as head coach of the Browns needs to be the death of the Chudzinski era at the club, almost as if it never existed. There should be no discussions about what might happen if the team again goes 4-12 next fall, or if Pettine and the front office don't mesh. One thing should be made clear:
The Browns are no longer a rebuilding project.
There are multiple pieces for a winner on both sides of the ball. The defense has several play-makers, not to mention a shutdown cornerback in Joe Haden, and Josh Gordon emerged as one of the best wide receivers in the league last fall. He may not have been your first choice, Cleveland, but Pettine has to be given time to right the ship.
You can only blow things up so many times before there's no foundation left.New York Giants and the NFL for Yahoo Sports since 2010.
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