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Posted: Today 2:17 PM

It's actually not about "culture" 


The following statements might seem contradictory, but could all be true:

- Farmer liked Johnny as prospect, but like much of the league he saw risks and probably did not give the kid a really high grade. He drafted Johnny due in part to pressure from the owner, and it may not have been a great decision. 
- Some of Haslam's desire to draft Johnny might have been reasonable. He was looking to break the recent and very drab tradition of the Browns. Some confidence (cockiness) and energy he brings is not a bad thing. But of course in the end all that matters will be performance on the field.  And that's a helluva risk, it appears.
- Farmer is a good GM and personnel guy. Look at how he's found players like Bitonio, Gabriel, Crow, West, K. Williams, Dansby, etc. Excellent acquisitions all made in a short time. But he was the new guy, it was his first draft and the owner is the boss. 
- Johnny has unique abilities on the field, he's driven, athletic and creative.  
- Johnny has unique weaknesses that may be too much to overcome if he's going to be a good starter.  
- Pettine has doubts on Johnny (see above) but likes the kid. He's not sure what he can do. Like all coaches Pettine wants to win asap. He also wants to expose Johnny - either to jump-start his improvement, or to find out about him so the organization can make other plans.  So he plays the last 3 weeks.  Is Pettine doing this to expose his weaknesses?  Or is it to begin the Johnny era in which he rises to become a star?  Pettine himself doesn't know. But by playing the kid at least we get some answers. 
- Lastly, Johnny's persona could be a good thing.  NFL QBs should be comfortable in the spotlight. They need to be spokespeople to the media. Good QBs are often good leaders and communicators. Johnny has some of that ability, so his out-sized persona might actually be a positive. This is going to be about his ability on the field, which is a far bigger question mark than his attitude, celebrity status or anything else. 

I'm bringing these things up for a reason. The hate the kid gets is pretty intense and clouds our view.  It now has another level given his bad performance last week.  And the Browns terrible QB history and incessant losing is doing the same thing - it's clouding our view. 

With due respect to Bernie and Tim Couch and all the critics - I don't think any of this actually is about the Browns "culture."  Nor does it have much to do with the past 15 years of history.  Johnny is an absolute departure from Browns history. He's unlike anything we've ever had...for better or for worse.  Yes, that history affects us fans very significantly.  But it is a complete non-factor in terms of the actual results.  This is a win-or-else league.

We are in uncharted waters here, folks.  I think the coach is doing the right thing, even if the results are disastrous. IF johnny can't play well, we're going to find out pretty fast.  And this regime (Haslam included) seems like it is capable of facing up to its mistakes. If this was a mistake, OK - let's get on with fixing it. 

On the other hand, I'm rooting like hell for Johnny to succeed. It may not seem likely based on history and based on his limitations and recent performance. But maybe it'll work.  Let's go ahead and find out fast.  And let's remember that all that matters is winning.
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