Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam Isn’t Learning From His Mistakes

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If we’ve figured out anything about Hue Jackson over the past week, it’s that the former Cleveland Browns coach hasn’t learned a thing since being fired.

Based on an MMQB column posted earlier today, he might not be alone when it comes to struggling to grasp his failures.

Despite the fact he’s now searching for his fifth head coach since 2012 (sixth if you count interim coach Greg Williams), it seems Browns owner Jimmy Haslam still hasn’t learned from his mistakes. As a result, there’s reason to worry about his impact on the team’s upcoming search for Jackson’s replacement.

The comment in question, taken from Robert Klemko’s SI column about the firing of Jackson, certainly wasn’t the focal point of the piece. However, if you’ve been following Haslam’s actions since he bought the Browns six years ago, it was the most concerning takeaway.

In discussing the search for the next head coach in Cleveland, Klemko noted Haslam has given no assurances that he’d be willing to go with the recommendation GM John Dorsey presents to him. Essentially, after Haslam fired an awful coach he hand-picked himself, he’s still not ready to stop interfering with key decisions on this team.

God-willing, this is a matter of Haslam wanting to wait until season’s end before deciding to back off and let Dorsey vet the coaching candidates. If not, the Browns are in trouble, as they’re being run by an owner who may never realize he’s the one dragging this franchise down.

His inability to grasp this is astounding, really, considering the fact he’s made a point to note he’s “learned his lesson” in every single post-firing press conference he’s hosted. Four separate times, Haslam has sworn he wants to turn this team into a winner. Four separate times, he said he’s learned the errors in his ways.

After three of these occasions, he’s gone ahead and made the same mistakes again. We’re still waiting to see if he’ll do the same after this one.

At this point, it’s safe to wonder if Haslam will ever truly see how badly he’s hurting this team. This is especially true when you consider two of the biggest decisions he’s forced during his ownership.

Not only did he make the decision to hire Jackson (which Klemko notes was not a unanimous call within the front office), he’s also the one who insisted the team draft quarterback Johnny Manziel in 2014.

Name two bigger disasters which have taken place with the Browns in the past six years. I’ll wait.

Haslam was the one who chose to hire a coach who ended up going 3-36-1 over three years, who somehow regressed after a one-win season, and who still doesn’t think any of this is his fault.

He had the team take a quarterback who’s hard-partying ways were there for everyone to see well before the draft, and who caused an astounding amount of damage to the franchise in just two years.

The mistakes Haslam has made have been epic failures. Not epic enough, though, to convince him that maybe, just maybe, he should just step out of the way and let his hired experts do their jobs.

Haslam was the driving force behind these and other bonehead moves, decisions which have each set this moribund franchise back years. Yet, he apparently still doesn’t realize he needs to stop interfering. He still seems ready to be the deciding factor in the next coaching hire.

It’s a lot to stomach.

Again, there remains a chance that, once the dust settles from this season, Haslam realizes his team is in safe hands with Dorsey, and will let him oversee the coaching search unimpeded.

At the same time, the fact Haslam still won’t commit to this, coupled with his needing to be convinced to finally cut ties with Jackson last week, is genuinely concerning.

If he hasn’t learned now, fresh off firing arguably the worst coach of NFL history, after inexplicably giving said coach a third season despite his going winless in 2017, will he ever? If pushing the team to draft arguably one of the most colossal busts the league has ever seen doesn’t convince Haslam he’s no expert at football, what will?

We’ve yet to learn the answer to those questions. All we do know is that Dorsey has about two months to convince his owner he can handle Cleveland’s coaching search on his own.

Casey Drottar is an independent sports writer. Subscribe to his podcast, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook


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