The impending sale of the Browns to Jimmy Haslam could result in sweeping changes at the top -- again. And that would be unfortunate. The organization is desperate for stability.
"I think it's safe to assume that when a new owner or president comes in, they want to bring in their own people," a league source told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The source went on to express an assumption that such changes would not take place until after the 2012 season. But unless the Browns regress, it is hoped Haslam and likely minority owner Joe Banner maintain status quo.
The regime of team president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert has yet to transform the team into a winner. But the Browns were not only bad when they arrived, they were also old and slow. The pair vowed to make the Browns younger, faster, and more talented. Though the extent of their success remains unknown, they are in the process of achieving those goals. They have maintained their promise to build through the draft. Most encouraging additions have been CB Joe Haden, DE Jabaal Sheard, WR Greg Little, RB Trent Richardson, QB Brandon Weeden, RT Mitchell Schwartz and WR Josh Gordon.
Regime changes have been as responsible as any factor in the unprecedented struggles of the Browns since they returned to Cleveland in 1999. They have resulted in shifts in philosophy that have had a destabilizing effect on the team in the field. But Heckert has already drafted 12 set starters in three years with several others possible as early as this season. During the Holmgren-Heckert Era, the Browns have gone from one of the oldest teams in the NFL to one of the youngest.
It is assumed that Banner, former president of the Philadelphia Eagles, will take over the same position with the Browns. A league source told the Plain Dealer, however, that they could simply reassign Holmgren. And since Heckert has worked under Banner, perhaps he too might keep his job. Coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress are also former Banner employees, so familiarity could result in one and all sticking around. The jury is still out on Shurmur, but one hopes that he will be judged on his merits rather than becoming a victim of a new owner motivated by putting his own stamp on the franchise.
Making significant changes at the top for no other reason is the wrong way to transform a losing team into a winning one.
Stay dialed in on the Cleveland Browns on Twitter at @CBSSportsNFLCLE throughout the season with on-site updates from CBSSports.com RapidReports correspondent Marty Gitlin.