The beginning of 2013 means that it is New Year's resolution time.
Missing the playoffs for a 10th straight season, the Cleveland Browns need to hold themselves to a few important promises as the calendar turns.
Let's take a look at what owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner's top three resolutions need to be.
3. Bring Back Phil!
New coaches, new general managers and now a new owner. Kicker Phil Dawson's seen it all as a member of the Browns.
Since returning to the NFL in 1999, this franchise has had 18 different starting quarterbacks. Why would the new regime not open up the check book to their only consistent point producer?
Connecting on 29-of-31 field goals and being selected to his first Pro Bowl capped off a career year for Dawson. The franchise tag was already slapped on the veteran leg man the previous two seasons. Doing that again is not an option as it would cost an estimated $15 million, which is ludicrous.
At 37, if Dawson wants to stay then sign him up to a long-term deal and have him retire a Brown.
He is Cleveland's all-time leader in field goals made...what more do you want from a kicker?
2. Lose Michael Lombardi's Phone Number
Don't do it Joe Banner! Delete it from your cell and tear it from your phone book. Get rid of Michael Lombardi's number.
Rumors that Lombardi would come back to the Browns as director of player personnel have been running rampant in recent weeks. The firing of GM Tom Heckert means the hunt is on for whatever type of general manager/personnel hybrid Banner and Haslam are looking for.
Linked to Bill Belichick from their Cleveland days, Lombardi served in the same capacity he may be brought back in. He handled contracts, scouting and advised the head coach on all football matters.
Their five drafts together were some of the worst in Cleveland's history.
ESPN's Tony Grossi wrote an excellent piece on why bringing back Mike "no relation to Vince" Lombardi would be a colossal mistake.
All in all he is generally considered an overrated pencil pusher who should stick with TV.
1. No More First-Time Head Coaches
For far too long Cleveland has been the testing ground for first-time coaches. Here's a quick glance at the list of first-timers:
- Chris Palmer's one head coaching gig at any level came with the expansion Browns.
- Butch Davis headed up college programs, but his only time at the helm in the NFL was in Northeast Ohio.
- Romeo Crennel is seen as a great defensive mind, which earned him a shot to lead the Browns. This was after six teams passed him up for a head coaching spot in 2003.
- Cleveland gave him an opportunity and it led to a 24-40 record over four seasons.
- Pat Shurmur just wrapped up his Browns career after nine wins in two years. It was his only head coaching job at any level.
That means since the franchise came back to Cleveland only Eric Mangini had prior NFL head coaching experience.
Enough of the rookies; that thought process has failed miserably. Bring on a veteran general who can come in and hit the ground running.
Keep these resolutions Mr. Haslam and Mr. Banner. If you do, then the Orange and Brown could be thinking wild card at this time next year.
Happy 2013 Browns fans!
Follow Andy McNamara on Twitter @AndyMc81