We have had our time to make our first impressions about Mike Pettine. Seems like a guy who fits our fan base mentality. Blue collar, hard worker, knows the ins and outs of football. The honeymoon is almost over, a staff is mostly assembled, and draft strategy is being formed and finalized. How will we grade Coach Pettine?
Performance over Personality
Sure, he is a likable guy. But can he win games? Winning is everything in this hyper-competitive league. It matters more than personality.
Do you think that San Francisco fans cares about how dorky Jim Harbaugh looks like with his old man reading glasses, khakis, and pen hanging on his shirt? No: he has taken the 49ers to three consecutive NFC championship games and one Super Bowl. And even he, like all multi-millionaires, buys his khakis at WalMart with the common man:
Do you that Pats fan loathe the flat, borderline sociopathic personality of Bill Belichick? No: he continues to win, repeatedly producing winning seasons and come-from-behind victories with a roster that is not filled with the talent it had a decade ago. Though I still regard him as the Dexter of the NFL with the personality of a moth, he still wins:
What matters is wins. Personality counts, but talk is cheap and overly abundant in the NFL. The upcoming draft will give some insight into where Pettine (or more likely Pettine controlled by Joe Banner) plans on taking this team. The front office should give Pettine some room and have him develop the day-to-day operations the way he sees fit.
The Most Important Hire: QB
The quarterback is the most important hire. For too many years, the Cleveland Browns have passed on high first round picks for low first round or second round picks. The most recent example is Robert Griffin III. Ever since Tim Couch, the Cleveland Browns selection process has been very risk-adverse, refusing to spend much capital to acquire the likes of Andrew Luck. Sure, not all great QBs are selected in the first round. Two of the most talented young receivers were not first round selections: Russell Wilson was selected in the third round and Colin Kappernick was selected in the second round. However, we have tried the strategy time and again of drafting mid-tier QBs with horrid results. As a fan base we do not have the patience nor the inclination to try and develop another moderate QB. The QB is the most important position in the game, and our franchise needs to start allocating the necessary resources to obtain and develop a great QB.
In my opinion, Johnny Manziel is worth the gamble. And if he is a bust then what is the worst outcome: another 4-12 or 5-11 season? The franchise has hit the reset button by firing C.H.U.D after just one season, so why not go for it? Pettine was brought in for a new direction, so they should go for it and make some bold moves this offseason. Even if as a fan base we disagree on whether Manziel is worth the hype, we still need to shoot for the stars and pick a top rate QB come April.
Pettine just needs to follow one simple rule to not go afoul of Brown’s fans: A.B.W. (Anybody But Weeden). I could tolerate another season of watching sub-par QB. But if I have to endure watching Weeden try and do another high toss near the line of scrimmage while being tackled, I am just going to snap. Cue the Benny Hill music: