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.
Haslam has been notorious for making annual changes since assuming ownership and, with the team mired in its worst stretch ever and getting precious little contributions from this year's draft class -- the first with Brown in this position -- sources said Haslam blamed past regimes for the team's current predicament. In particular, he pointed to the three drafts prior to this one (which includes one in which the owner himself was deeply involved with the selection of troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel in the first round) as the cause for their problems.
Haslam and the other speakers detailed how well they are working together, sources said, and asked the employees to believe in their vision for getting the franchise back on top. They stressed the need for continuity, claiming they have finally assembled the right collection of decision-makers. Haslam blamed his hires in the past and all the changes he made for causing this spiral and apologized for the mistakes they had made in the 2013-15 drafts.
Of course it remains to be seen if the owner sticks to this plan should the Browns actually fail to win a game this season, with discontent from the fans at an all-time high, with season ticket renewals needing to be sent out (Browns tickets were going for $6 on the secondary market) and with some planning a parade for the team should it indeed go winless.
Numerous executives from other clubs have pointed out how little the Browns are getting thus far from their 2016 draft, how little Haslam has spent on his product (the Browns have by far the lowest payroll in the NFL) and the questionable decisions made to release or allow key players to sign elsewhere as being cause for concern about the current path the team is on.