It’s all Sashi Brown’s fault. Anything bad happen to you? Blame him.
Rough day at work? It was probably Sashi. Car trouble? Sashi’s to blame.
And, based on everything we’ve heard from the Cleveland Browns lately, all aspects of the team’s 1-28 record over the past year is Brown’s fault too. It’s been over a week since the former executive VP was fired, but that hasn’t stopped nearly everyone at the team facility from blaming him for any bad thing that’s occurred over the past two years.
If you ask me, it’s a routine which has gotten tiring as it continues to hit new lows.
We all know coach Hue Jackson’s feelings on the matter. Since October, he’s been pointing the finger of blame towards Brown any chance he can get. Claiming his team needs to play perfectly in order to win, saying the roster isn’t equipped enough to go for a couple extra shots at the end zone, stiff-arming any opportunity to even associate himself with the front office. Jackson has done it all in his endless campaign to convince everyone his losing all but one game is anyone’s fault but his.
However, he’s no longer alone in his crusade to prove Brown is the only reason this team’s record is so embarrassingly bad.
New GM John Dorsey has been making plenty of noise since arriving in Cleveland, making bold statements such as claiming the goal for 2018 is to win the AFC North. Outside of this ludicrous level-setting, he also took his swing at the Sashi Brown piñata earlier this week. Dorsey was hardly restrained in his analysis of the previous regime.
“I’ll come straight out with it,” he said. “The guys who were here before, that system, they didn’t get real players.”
Not wanting to be left out of the fun, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams tossed in his thoughts on Brown today. He implied the talent he’s had to work with has forced him to play zone defense quite often this year, adding, “You can figure out the reasons for that.”
Again, if there’s something you want to call out about this incredibly terrible football team, just know it’s Sashi Brown’s fault.
Of course, there are a couple obvious issues with the Browns’ incessantly reminding everyone there’s only one person to blame for so much failure.
First, there’s the obvious – Sashi Brown is gone. He was fired last week. Jackson and company won the power struggle, and don’t have to deal with the former front office leader anymore. He won’t be making any more draft picks or free agency signings, as Dorsey will be assembling the roster from here on out.
Yet, here we are, watching grown men verbally kick dirt on someone who already took the heat for this team’s miserable two-year performance. Instead of seeing Brown’s firing as a win and just moving forward to focus on helping this team for the future, the emphasis is still on making sure we’re all convinced who the scapegoat is.
The second problem is even more alarming. Simply put, the barbs Dorsey and Williams have thrown out are also unsubtle shots at the players in the locker room.
As mentioned, Dorsey claimed Brown didn’t get “real players.” So, to guys like Myles Garrett, David Njoku, Emmanuel Ogbah and other recent draft picks who’ve shown promise in their young Cleveland careers, your new GM doesn’t see you as a real player. Must be quite a confidence boost.
Likewise, what’s the difference between Williams saying his defensive roster forces him to overcompensate with zone coverage and him telling every one of his players “I could dial up better schemes if our old GM picked someone besides you”? The answer is not much. Just like Jackson claiming his team isn’t equipped to take risks, Williams throwing shade at Brown is also calling out the talent-level of everyone he works with on the field.
Frankly, the whole routine is nauseating. Here we have a group of guys who are expected to mold this very young team into a contender, yet they’re far more focused on playing a childish blame game against someone who left gracefully after getting axed. Why we have to keep hearing about this all being Brown’s fault is beyond me.
I do hope this shtick is over with come next year. If the team gets off to another rough start in 2018, with this new regime’s hand-picked, “real” players, Brown won’t be there to blame anymore.
It’ll be interesting to see whose fault it is then.
Casey Drottar is an independent sports writer. Subscribe to his podcast, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook