With just four weeks to go in the NFL’s 2016 regular season, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is reportedly preaching patience in Berea despite the Browns staring at an 0-12 record.
As the losses have mounted, rumors of concern surrounding an owner with a quick trigger finger have begun to bubble. With the team on a bye week, however, it appears Haslam held a meeting, flanked by the front office and head coach, Hue Jackson, to discuss how the team will see this through.
Here’s CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora:
Browns ownership, in the face of what could shape up as an 0-16 season, recently held a staff meeting for all team employees to make the case for not making coaching and management changes despite now having lost 30 of their last 33 games. Sources said owner Jimmy Haslam, his wife Dee, coach Hue Jackson, executive vice president Sashi Brown, and analytics chief Paul DePodesta all spoke at the meeting, which was intended to boost morale and make the case for staying the course despite such dire circumstances.
La Canfora adds that things got so genuine that Haslam even apologized for putting the team in this position, blaming his past hires, quick fires and took responsibility for mistakes made in the drafts held between 2013-15. The abovementioned concerns have merit when you take history into account, but earlier this week, Jackson stated he would not have taken the team’s head coaching job had he not been assured that the process in place will be given multiple seasons.
“I have trust in the people who hired me,” Jackson said. “Those questions have been asked. I wouldn’t be standing here. You have to ask those hard questions. I feel very comfortable that they are committed to what we are trying to do.”
While Haslam pledged continuity into next season, the question will remain as to just how long the leash is on the current regime. The Browns will enter the 2016-17 offseason with a plethora of draft capital and salary cap space. If 2016 was the tear-down, it will be time for the team to start turning the on-paper assets into ones that can not only take the field, but excel when on it.