I know that pitchers and catchers have officially reported to Cleveland Indians Spring Training, and for lots of Cleveland fans that signifies the end of thinking about football and the beginning of the ten month saga that is the Major League Baseball season. (Okay, fine. The Indians don’t usually experience all ten months, but don’t rain on my optimistic side’s parade)
I’m a baseball fan, and an Indians fan, too. Trust me when I say that. But there’s been some Browns conversation lately that I can’t just ignore because I wish I was in Goodyear, Arizona fawning over Nick Swisher.
(HOLY CRAP. This was written before the news that the Indians signed Michael Bourn to a 4 yr/$48 million contract. THE INDIANS HAVE A BIG BOY LINEUP!)
There are two major talking points that need to be addressed in more than just a tweet or status update, but not quite worthy of running around and spending all of my energy creating some faux outrage.
Owner Jimmy Haslam went back to his CEO post at Pilot Flying J
The question bouncing off the buildings in downtown Cleveland Monday were all about what Haslam going back to run the family business meant for the Browns.
Can we trust Jimmy Haslam’s word? Did Jimmy Haslam hire such a bad replacement that he had to go back and fix his mess? IS HASLAM GOING TO BE ANOTHER DE FACTO OWNER?
The answer to these questions, and all the other questions like them, is, “Who cares?”
Jimmy Haslam paid a BILLION dollars ($700m now, $300m soon) to own and run the Cleveland Browns. He gave up running the business that made him that money, came to Cleveland, and went to town firing and hiring the people whom he thought would be able to do a winning job for his new investment.
In the land of acquisitions, his purchase and management takeover of the Browns is pretty much by the book. Write the check, install the management team and then act according to the management team’s reports. Nowhere in that formula is anything about sifting through the day-to-day operations or worrying about setting up the company computer network. An executive has people for those things, and once you hire those people, you get out of the way.
Haslam has his people in place in the Browns organization, and it’s time for him to go back to the place where he’s needed to actually do some of the day-to-day company managing; Pilot Flying J.
If there is a PR, HR or some other crisis that the management team can’t handle at the Browns Headquarters in Berea, Ohio, I fully expect Jimmy Haslam to be back to take control of the Browns and guide them through whatever issues are going on. And, once those issues are resolved under his direct leadership, I expect him to go back and continue managing the business that made him the money that allowed him to BUY A FREAKING FOOTBALL TEAM.
I’ll wait for a CEO of a $multibillion biz to criticize Haslam for how he handles owning two $multibillion businesses before I do. #Browns
— Josh Flagner (@RailbirdJ) February 11, 2013
Browns fans debating whether Mike Wallace would be a good fit for the team
I’m probably going to sound a little bit arrogant, but there really is no debate about whether Mike Wallace fits on a football team. OF COURSE HE DOES.
Mike Wallace fits on every football team. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Mike Lombardi and Joe Banner aren’t formulating a plan to move the team forward that doesn’t include Wallace, but that doesn’t seem to be the debate that’s going on about the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver.
What I’ve seen of the debate is some fans don’t want Wallace on the team. They think the Browns receiving corps is fine the way it is. Let me be perfectly clear, the Browns receiving corps is perfectly fine right now. Josh Gordon’s ability to break plays down field coupled with Greg Little’s (gulp) improvement and the potential of Travis Benjamin outrunning the cameras on fly routes is enough to make me giddy to see a big play offense catch fire.
The Browns young receivers will do well in 2013. But, do you know the one thing that there cannot ever be too much of on a football team? Speed.
Mike Wallace has speed. He’s not perfect, he needs some work on his attitude, he wants a lot of money… but he will burn his former team up and down the field twice a year, and that’s exactly what the Browns need.
More than just the Browns in a general manner, too. Brandon Weeden needs more speed. The basis of Cleveland’s new offense is (seemingly) going to be more shotgun snaps and deeper, more explosive play calling. If the coaching staff – and the fans – want to see what Weeden’s really got, adding Mike Wallace to an already potentially explosive young group of receivers is exactly the kind of move that should make fans excited.
I don’t think that Weeden, Gordon, Little and company need Mike Wallace to succeed, just like a business man doesn’t need to start with millions of dollars to make millions of dollars. But it sure helps.