In an offseason of total staff turnover by the Cleveland Browns, more moves were reported by multiple sources on Tuesday. It appears that the team has fired General Manager Michael Lombardi and will have their CEO, Joe Banner, step down in the very near future. This comes on the heels of a full house cleaning with the coaching staff after the perceived all-star staff was together for only a year.
Banner became CEO in the middle of the 2012 season after the Mike Holmgren experiment failed in the eyes of then-new owner Jimmy Haslam. Lombardi was hired in January of 2013 as the new G.M. and though things started to look up early in 2013 with a three-game winning streak in late September and early October, the team only managed one more win the rest of the way.
Taking Lombardi's place as the team's General Manager is Ray Farmer. He was the Assistant General Manager last season and has previous experience as the Director of Pro Personnel with the Kansas City Chiefs and was a scout with the Atlanta Falcons before that. It's not clear if Farmer is going to be a mere band-aid for the club to get through in 2014, or if they believe in him long-term. Given the knee-jerk reactions and firings by the team, nothing would surprise us there.
So, why these moves at this time? Jason Cole at Yahoo! Sports speculates that Banner and Lombardi promised Haslam certain coaches to replace the fired Rob Chudzinski and didn't deliver. If this is true, does that mean that the Browns aren't happy with the hiring of Doug Pettine as their new head coach? If you remember, a small handful of coaches that the Browns were interested in said "no thanks" to the offer. Will Pettine even have a fair shot at righting the ship with the front office staff getting shaken up just a few weeks into the job?
If the Browns are able to somehow find an answer at quarterback, win some games and be competitive, Pettine might have a chance to prove himself longer than a year. If it's a familiar ending to the Browns' season, Cleveland might be conducting their annual coaching search again in 2015.