While much-maligned Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has been preaching continuity during another lost season, after years of making constant changes in the coaching and front office ranks, a management shake-up is hardly out of the question. Browns coaches have deep concerns with the direction of the personnel department, according to numerous team and league sources, and will discuss the matter with Haslam soon.
While coach Hue Jackson is not planning to request the removal of top football man Sashi Brown, or the influential analytics department he has built, the sources said there will be a strong push to ownership to reconsider the flow chart. The coaches would like a proven, old-school talent evaluator involved in player selection to provide checks and balances with the current setup.
Frankly, the issue should be no surprise after a one-win season when their bevy of draft picks have provided little production. Plus, several former players who were cut or not re-signed are thriving on more successful clubs. There are deep concerns, with the team still lacking a quarterback and this 2017 draft pivotal for the future, that merely letting the same process unfold this spring could bring dire consequences. Hiring a former general manager to oversee player evaluation is seen as imperative.
It remains to be seen how Haslam or the football operations department receives this. Coaches are aware of Haslam's sensitivity to change given his almost yearly reboots. They will encourage any addition to be someone who can coexist with those in place -- however naïve that may prove. Ironically, the organization had at least three former high-ranking officials from other NFL franchises on staff prior to last year's draft, when they were part of the latest Browns purge.
As reported months ago, the front office also has some concerns with Jackson's staff -- defensive coordinator Ray Horton in particular -- and there could be a movement to urge the coach to alter his staff.
Cleveland won its first game last week over San Diego, but lost Sunday to the Steelers, 27-24 in overtime, and has won only four games since Thanksgiving of 2014.