Is it too early — before training camps have even opened — to be talking about hot seats? Maybe. And even if so, ESPN.com’s AFC North correspondents have reached a consensus about who’s sitting on one.
Three of the four say Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer could be in trouble should the team struggle through yet another underwhelming season. Does that seem fair? After all, Farmer was named Browns GM only about a year and a half ago.
However, 2014’s two first-round draft picks — cornerback Justin Gilbert and quarterback Johnny Manziel — produced little but headaches in their rookie seasons. And Farmer has been suspended for four games in 2015 because he violated league rules by texting to the sideline during games.
Of course, should owner Jimmy Haslam replace Farmer, it would only continue the Browns’ lack of stability that surely has contributed to the lack of success.
Jamison Hensley writes: “Yes, it’s difficult to properly judge someone after two years on the job. But these are the Browns. They’re on their fourth general manager in six years. Stability in the front office has been as nonexistent in Cleveland as a franchise quarterback.”
By extension, should Farmer be on the hot seat, so would be Cleveland coach Mike Pettine. New GMs usually like to bring in new coaches.
The correspondents mention two others who may be feeling the heat: Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who has been unable to win a playoff game despite regular-season success, and Keith Butler, who is replacing the legendary Dick LeBeau as Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator.
Butler, writes Pat McManamon, “has the unenviable task of following perhaps the greatest assistant coach in NFL history, and doing so without many of the players who made the Steelers what they were over the years.”
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