Cleveland Sports Insiders

Ernie Camacho's favorite blog…


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500 words or less…on hiring the right football coach

1The Cleveland Browns can learn a lot from their AFC North adversaries when it comes to hiring a football coach. There are clearly differences in organizations, but both the Steelers and Ravens made dark-horse hires that ultimately won their teams Super Bowls.

In 2007, Bill Cowher resigned as Steelers coach after fifteen seasons. The Steelers interviewed five candidates for the job; Steelers OC Ken Whisenhunt; Steelers offensive line coach Russ Grimm; Bears DC Ron Rivera; Georgia Tech head football coach Chan Gailey; and Vikings DC Mike Tomlin.

Whisenhunt, Grimm, Rivera and Tomlin had never been a head coach, and Gailey had been the head coach in Dallas for two years, and was the current Georgia Tech head coach. The Steelers’ job was coveted, but the front office focused on names that were High-IQ “fits” for what a Steelers coach should be. The Steelers hired Tomlin, who had overwhelmed the front office in his two interviews as being an intense leader, with a clear picture of what it would take to win football games in the Steelers organization. Continue reading

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The Sunday Drive with Carlos Santana, Wahoo, the Browns waiting game and quarterbacks

Santana Slam (by Jason Miller US Presswire)

Santana Slam (by Jason Miller US Presswire)

So I had this crazy idea to write about several things that DIDN’T pertain to the Browns, the Cavs or the Indians this week. The void that is now known as the “Browns’ head coaching search” has left me in such a mood, that I felt like moving as far away from sports as possible.

In a few paragraphs, you’ll note that I wrote about…the Indians, the Browns and the Cavs.

What changed?

I have no freaking clue.

My weekend has been a bust, and it’s been busy, and it’s cost me more money than I can begin to tell you, but it also left me with tons of time to think about sports, which is what I do when I’m stressed.

I sat back and started thinking about the 80’s in particular, and while my focus was far away from Cleveland sports, it rarely is ever as far as I’d like to think it is.

I was pondering the 80’s, and the players that really stood out to me. I met a rookie in 1979 at Municipal Stadium who sat and talked to me for a long, long time. He played for the A’s, and he talked to me for a long, long time. By the time I was done talking to him, he had grabbed a baseball and literally grabbed every A’s player that walked by to sign it. He signed it last.

It was Rickey Henderson, and while people remember the enigma of Rickey, I always remember that August day where he literally came up TO ME and asked me how I was doing.

After that, I followed Henderson, and then Vince Coleman after him. Tim Raines also was fun to watch, as was Willie Wilson. I loved watching these guys just decimate pitchers on the basepaths, and their teams were always such a factor because of it. Continue reading


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Jimmy Haslam’s Cleveland Browns get it all wrong

Banner (TONY DEJAK — AP Photo)

Banner (TONY DEJAK — AP Photo)

Hostages.

Cleveland Browns fans are all just hostages to a brand name that can do no wrong in Cleveland. Okay,that’s not quite right.  What I meant was, by doing no wrong in Cleveland, I really meant they do no right in Cleveland, which has just demolished the brand name of the Cleveland Browns.

But somehow, none of that matters.

Confused yet? Fortunately for all of us, confusion is the name of the game with the Browns since 1995. We aren’t all witnesses, we are all walking callouses.

Cleveland Browns fans are passionate about their team, and that may be the understatement of all understatements. It’s been a strange road that has only been enhanced by the team leaving back in 1995 when Art Modell owned the team. It was enhanced further when they came back, played badly, and drafted badly…over and over and over again.

Thoughts of Tim Couch still ring in my ears, and he may have been one of the better quarterbacks the Browns have drafted.

Seriously.

The Cleveland Browns brand-name is virtually untouchable, and the owner and the president and the GM know it. I have visions of these three sitting together during planning meetings just laughing, knowing that they could retire Brandon Weeden‘s number tomorrow, and still likely sell out the opening game of the season next year if they announced it as “Brandon Weeden day.”

It’s not just in Cleveland, but the market on the North Coast is so uniquely tied to this team, that there’s something special about this hostage mentality. Perhaps we all have some form of Stockholm syndrome, in which we’ve bonded with these idiotic front offices that we’ve grown to despise so much over the years.

Cleveland teams don’t win titles, but Cleveland fans want a title so badly, that these ownership groups really can do anything they want, and fans will keep coming back. In many ways, there’s been an embracing of the “what’s next” mentality, so that when weekends like this come up, fans actually say, “Meh, it’s just Cleveland.”
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