What we learned Thursday from Jimmy Haslam

8 key points made by the Browns' owner as his fifth GM-coach search commences

Daryl Ruiter
January 02, 2020 - 4:44 pm

BEREA, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam sat in front of the microphone Thursday afternoon to take his medicine after the franchise parted ways with their fifth general manager and fifth head coach under their stewardship.

Here’s what we learned from Haslam Thursday.

1. They are still really, really sorry the franchise has been an utter failure and complete train wreck since they bought it.

“As owners, certainly not proud of all of the changes that have happened since we came on the scene in 2012,” Haslam said. “As owners, we take full responsibility for all of those changes, and I think at the same time having been in Northeast Ohio and the City of Cleveland for these past seven years are more determined than ever to, for lack of a better term, get this right. We are extremely focused on getting the right head coach and the right GM because we want this to be the kind of environment, kind of team and kind of continuity that I will be honest this organization, our players, this city and Northeast Ohio deserve. I can’t stress enough that one, we feel terrible what has happened, but two, more determined than ever to get it right as we move forward, and I mean that sincerely.”

2. They will hire the head coach before they hire the GM.

“We are going to hire the coach first and then we will do the GM search,” Haslam said. “The coach will be involved in that process but will not have the final say.  [The head coach] will not have the final say but will be heavily involved in that process. In you all’s terms, we will not have an ‘arranged marriage.’ Let me just continue on because I think I know what you are going to ask, the coach and the GM will report to ownership as equals and obviously married up with each other.”

3. This year’s search committee is comprised of 4 primary people.

“The search committee is Paul [DePodesta], Chris Cooper, JW [Johnson] and myself,” Haslam said. “Dee will obviously be involved in the final decisions as will several other people around here whose opinions we value.”

4. Paul DePodesta’s role is not expanding into football operations as some have erroneously speculated.

“Paul’s’ job will stay exactly the same as it is now,” Haslam said. “He is in charge of strategy. He reports to ownership. Nothing will change. He will do everything he can to support the GM and the head coach.”

5. They are returning to an everyone reports directly to ownership structure.

“Let’s face it, we are running it the hard way, right? I think everybody talks a lot about structure – and I think structure is important – but I think far more important are these two things: getting the right people and making sure they are aligned,” Haslam said. “If you looked at the other 31 teams, there are all kinds of different structures, but if you look at the successful organizations that are consistently in the playoffs year after year, there is alignment within the organization and they have the right people in the right place – coach and GM. That is what we are focusing on tremendously, and that alignment is something that is really, really important. It sounds easy, but it is not.”

6. They are interested in Urban Meyer.

“Right now, we are just focusing on people with NFL experience,” Haslam said.

Key words: right now.

Sources have told 923 The Fan’s Dustin Fox that Meyer is on the Haslams’ radar.

7. Eliot Wolf is not being considered for the GM job.

“Eliot will remain in his role,” Haslam said. “He is here in the building today. We have interfaced with him several times. He talked with Coach McCarthy this morning. We will go outside of the organization to find our next GM.”

8. They don’t really want the new GM and coach to blow up the roster, again.

“Do not get me wrong, there could be some changes in the roster, but we have a pretty solid group of core players who are all extremely young,” Haslam said. “The other day, we just happened to have back to back [players] come in and talk to JW [Johnson] and me. Greedy [Williams], who is 22; Mack [Wilson], who is 21; [Sheldrick] Redwine, who is 23 and Denzel [Ward], who is 22. Baker [Mayfield] is 24, and our old guys Jarvis [Landry] and Odell [Beckham Jr.] are 27. It is a very young group. Myles [Garrett] is 24. That core group of players is very young. I can’t imagine anybody wanting to change that group.”