There’s bad, there’s abysmal, and then there’s the Cleveland Browns, who are 4-40 since the start of the 2015 season. That’s right: 4-40. That means the Browns have lost 90.9 percent of their games over the last three seasons.
The No. 1 reason the Browns have struggled for, well, pretty much the entire century? Too much turnover, from general managers to head coaches to quarterbacks. Every year is different personnel-wise; every year is the same failure-wise (more or less).
Why is it so hard to win in Cleveland?
“For me, I think there’s several things in play,” former Browns general manager Ray Farmer said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “One thing is culture. Winning begets winning and losing begets losing. Not that it becomes a habit, but I think the habitual side of losing comes because there’s too many plans, too many random pieces, too much turnover. So whether you like it or not, even though losing is never fun or helpful for the cause that people are facing now or in the past, for whatever reason they got to decide whatever football group they have and choose to be patient.”
That, however, has never been the Browns’ greatest virtue. They may want to give it a try.
“Some of the greatest things that have happened in this league have happened because of circumstances where people have been patient and given people an opportunity to bring one plan to fruition before they jettison it and decide to execute something different,” Farmer said. “You have one coach that comes in and says he wants to build a battleship, and you have another coach that says he wants to come in and build a helicopter. Before you know it, you got all these random pieces for different projects you started but none of them really add up to one thing.”
Farmer, 43, became Cleveland’s GM in February 2014. Three months later, he drafted Johnny Manziel with the 22nd overall pick.
If given another chance, Farmer likely would have gone in a different direction.
“I think the No. 1 thing I would do is reduce risk,” he said, reflecting on what he would have done differently. “I would stick with what I know to be true and reduce the noise around me. You eliminate those negative agendas and alternative agendas different than myself or the coach. I had a hands-on owner. Jimmy Haslam is a hands-on owner, and I like Jimmy. He’s a good guy, easy to talk to. I would spend more time with ownership to maintain that trust. So I think all in all, when you have a good chance to get together with a group, you got to eliminate the risk, stay true to what you know, and reduce the noise around you.”
Cleveland, which went 1-15 last year, is 0-12 this year. The Browns close the season against Green Bay (6-6), against Baltimore (7-5), at Chicago (3-9) and at Pittsburgh (10-2).