Browns Execs Talk Offseason, Departures, Strategy

It hasn’t been a whole lot of fun in Cleveland since Browns owner Jimmy Haslam purchased the franchise in 2012. As Nate Ulrich of writes, the team has already fired three head coaches, three general managers, two presidents, and a CEO during Haslam’s tenure, and the team hasn’t yet finished with a winning record.

Of course, the organization is hoping 2016 will be the year they turn things around. The team signed former Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to be their next head coach, and they also hired three Harvard University graduates (including Paul DePodesta of “Moneyball” fame) to make up their front office.

Optimism is high, evident by the executives’ quotes at the NFL owners meeting and MIT’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. We’ve compiled some of the notable soundbites below, all via Ulrich…

Haslam on his team’s playoff drought:

“Until we start winning, people are going to make fun of you. So it’s our job to get the right people in place to hopefully turn this thing around like we all want to see, and we’re cautiously optimistic we’ve done that.”

DePodesta on four starters (Alex Mack, Tashaun Gipson, Mitchell Schwartz, and Travis Benjamin) leaving via free agency:

“We all knew they were good players. We want to get to that point where we have enough of a critical mass of our core guys that it makes sense to retain them all. … That day, I think we all felt like, this is going to be our hardest day, and if we can get past this, then it’s looking up from here, which is good. I think we’ll be in a position going forward to go retain a lot of those guys.”

Jackson on Browns “rebooting” strategy:

“Rebuilding says that you’re totally junking everything and starting over, and that’s not what we’re doing. I think we’re rebooting and we’re recharging because there’s still Joe Thomass on our football team, there’s Danny Sheltons on our football team, there’s Joe Hadens on our football team. So those guys aren’t rebuilding.

“And I think if we can get the right pieces on our team, you never know what this team could be. I know the expectation is low, and deservedly so. I get it, but at the same time, I don’t think anybody in our organization is built like that. We like to win, and we want to do everything we can to do that.”

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7 comments on “Browns Execs Talk Offseason, Departures, Strategy

  1. John P

    Fun? He’s making over $100 million a year. Dudes ripping off the fans and his wife is right there in on it !!!

  2. Mike S

    Well there really shouldn’t be Joe Thomas on this team. Or Haden, for that matter.

  3. Being a nay-sayer is the easiest thing to do. Realistically, you have to adopt a “Wait and see” attitude. They have tried “Football Men”, with zero results. Let’s see what the Harvard guys can produce. This is the time to exercise patience. There are no short-cuts.

  4. Sam Robinson

    While DePodesta doesn’t face the obvious financial imbalance he did under Billy Beane with the A’s, the Browns are the closest thing to a competitive disadvantage the NFL offers. This looks like their most daunting rebuilding effort since respawning the franchise in ’99. This will be a very interesting effort, one that will require Haslam to show far more patience than he’s exercised since buying the team.

  5. Strauss

    It’s embarrassing having an owner like Haslam! Everything he’s done fails on the field but succeeds in his wallet. So another 3-5 year rebuild starts again and he has fans hopes up again. If this one fails, someone warm up the tar and I’ll start getting the feathers.

  6. boltergeist19

    How hard it must be even well paid players to get psyched up to go work your tail off knowing your team might win 3/4 games next year. Feel bad for JT

  7. Italian Stallion

    Haden and Thomas aren’t getting any younger either .

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