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Three Reasons Why the Cleveland Browns Fired the Wrong Man

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | In the world of the Cleveland Browns, things often don't make sense.

While recently fired head coach Rob Chudzinski scrambles to find employment in the NFL for 2014, one of the main culprits behind Cleveland's lackluster 4-12 season in 2013 is still with the Browns.

I could be referring to offensive coordinator Norv Turner here, as his one-dimensional offense crippled the Browns in many ways in 2013. But since Turner is reportedly next in line to be fired, he is off the hook.

Instead, I am talking about Browns general manager Mike Lombardi. No one person in Cleveland's organization did more to torpedo the Browns' hopes for a decent season in 2013 than Lombardi. These are three reasons why it should have been him, not Chudzinski, who received the axe in Cleveland:

Cleveland's 2013 Draft Is Looking Like A Bust

When the player that you selected with the sixth overall pick ends up coming off of the bench for most of the season, that's not a good sign. But that's exactly what happened with linebacker Barkevious Mingo.

Mingo showed flashes of brilliance in 2013, but they were few and far between. In Ray Horton's aggressive defense, Mingo was set up for a successful rookie season, but he never capitalized on the opportunity.

Of Cleveland's other four picks in last year's draft, none were a big factor for the Browns this season. That makes me worry that the plethora of picks that the Browns have in the 2014 will go to waste as well.

Cleveland's Running Back Issues Went Unresolved For Most Of 2013

Until Edwin Baker showed that the Browns were actually capable of having a decent ground game in the final weeks of the season, Cleveland's running backs were ridiculously unproductive in 2013.

I never had a problem with the Trent Richardson trade, but Willis McGahee was never going to be the answer for the Browns. McGahee should have been a stopgap until a player with some speed could be found, not someone who was Cleveland's featured back for over half of the season.

While Cleveland's didn't run the football enough with Turner running the offense, it really didn't matter since for most of the season Lombardi seemingly wasn't interested in acquiring a back that could average more than McGahee's 2.7 yards per carry.

Too Much Faith Was Placed In Brandon Weeden

One of the biggest stories upon the Browns' hiring of Lombardi was the fate of Brandon Weeden. As an analyst for the NFL Network, Lombardi lambasted Cleveland's first-round selection of Weeden in the 2012 NFL draft.

I'll applaud Lombardi for giving Weeden a chance in 2013, but I will never understand why Weeden finished 2013 in a Cleveland uniform. After Weeden's string of lousy performances got him benched following a Week 7 loss to the Green Bay Packers, he should've been released.

Instead, the Browns sent out Jason Campbell behind an offensive line that had already allowed two other quarterbacks to be injured in 2013. When Campbell was himself hurt in Week 12 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, weary Browns fans once again had to suffer through Weeden's ineptitude, even after he proved time and time again this season that he does not have what it takes to be a quarterback in the NFL.

Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Browns for over 25 years.

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