Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer owes reporters zero explanations for anything.
There is no event in the North American professional sports world quite like a press conference featuring Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer as the key speaker. Farmer seems to take delight in giving reporters no real answers on what he is thinking about the state of the Browns rosters and on what players he may consider targeting in the 2015 NFL Draft
Things weren’t always this way.
It was close to two years ago when Farmer took over as GM of the Browns that the legitimate news leaks began to dry up. Farmer, we would learn, chose to run a tighter ship, and this shift in thinking resulted in Cleveland beat reporters scrambling for information and for stories leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft. Assumptions were turned into stories, if for no other reason because that is all that media members could produce with Farmer in charge:
The Browns were not going to use a 2014 first-round pick on a defensive player (nope).
Farmer had Teddy Bridgewater ahead of Manziel on his overall draft board (incorrect).
Farmer actually drafted Bridgewater only for that decision to be vetoed (what?).
Say what you will about the Textgate scandal that resulted in Farmer being suspended and fined by the NFL. Hit out at the rookie seasons had by Manziel and by cornerback Justin Gilbert until your face turns blood red. Get it all out of your systems, and them realize that any news reports out there that are supposedly coming from the Browns are either smokescreens or are not, in fact, from anybody who works in Berea with Farmer in charge.
That is only a good thing for the Browns.
Examine the current states of the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers, two of the most-storied and most-successful organizations in all of the NFL. You don’t see reports confirming what players those clubs will be selecting in the weeks and days leading up to any NFL Draft because anybody from those franchises daring to leak such important information would quickly be searching for a new job. Remaining silent on such issues is a trait of a winning football team, and Farmer is wise to install that mentality at a Browns side that has lost way more than it has won since returning to the NFL in 1999.
Farmer’s silence is particularly golden this time around because of the position that the Browns are in as the night of April 30 approaches. Cleveland has draft picks No. 12 and No. 19, and thus the Browns possess the bounty necessary to move up if a team such as the Tennessee Titans were to want to make a deal. The Browns could remain where they sit in the first round of the draft and take the best players available, the smart move for a team that has all kinds of holes on the roster. Farmer could even elect to move down in the draft order to acquire more picks.
The only thing for sure about Farmer right now? Nothing is for sure.
Reporting on the Browns can be a daunting task for those who call northeast Ohio home. Fans of the team are starved for a winner, and thus they have been known to take frustrations out on media members via social media websites such as Twitter because everybody needs some outlet from time to time. It gets gloomy and grey along the shoreline of Lake Erie as fall turns into winter. Farmer giving reporters nothing outside of hollow words does not make the job any easier.
It is not Farmer’s job to make life better for anybody outside of those employed by the Browns. Farmer has been tasked with making the Browns a winning franchise, and he has the club going in the right direction. Sure, Gilbert and Manziel remain massive question marks, but the rest of Farmer’s 2014 draft class was rather solid last fall. Farmer has also received praise for his work in free agency even if some fans wanted the Browns to splash the cash on a big-name player last March (it was never happening).
Farmer kept everybody, even supposed insiders and analysts, guessing up through the fourth pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. No mock draft put out there by even the most respected draft gurus on the planet predicted that the Browns would trade down only to then trade back up to grab Gilbert, and then follow that up by trading up once again to select Manziel. That nobody can say for certain what Farmer is thinking regarding the draft gives him and the Browns power to make a splash on Thursday if he chooses to do so.
Fans should not care at all that a Farmer press conference is as meaningful as is a political statement put out there by a Kardashian family member. They should instead only be concerned with how well or how poorly Farmer performs the general manager duties that matter most. Could Farmer be on the verge of a blockbuster move that could once again have the Browns as the talk of the sports world for at least a day? Is Farmer indeed the right man to lead the Browns to postseason football for the first time in over a decade?
Sure. Why not?
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