The Cleveland Browns have been trying to decide how to forge forward amid a 2017 season that has yet to yield a single victory, and the trick for them has been determining how to keep the right people in significant leadership positions — and let go of the ones who have helped guide the team to where it is now.
Well, the first axe has fallen. Owner Jimmy Haslam has relieved executive vice president Sashi Brown of his duties, as we speculated earlier this week, and we believe that chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta will be the next to move on.
We also believed that despite all the negative appearances, head coach Hue Jackson was likely to remain. We wrote about the possibility, even as hard as it would be to defend the mark of a head coach who has lost 27 of his first 28 games as head coach, but Jackson will be back in 2018. Haslam confirmed that along with the Brown news.
We've heard about how Haslam has wrestled with how to fix a situation — one he helped put the Browns in — and that Jackson's status was the most troublesome. The idea of selling a coach to a fan base for next season after he has gone 1-27 to start his tenure is going to be very troubling indeed. But there’s an internal feeling that Haslam genuinely seems to believe in the coaching prowess of Jackson and that few other coaches would have been able to do much better with what the Browns have talent-wise.
That's what led us to believe that the front office surely was in major flux, and Haslam confirmed that when he let Brown go. But it won't be a total teardown, either, even though we now know the Browns will not enter 2018 with exactly the same front-office structure and save any face on the matter.
The team has only a little more clarity now. That’s the worst part, and we hear that the uncertainty has led some people in the organization to wonder if Haslam can attract a respected personnel man — a "football guy," if you will — to help guide the staff. Even with a change there and a new GM coming in, we think vice president of personnel Andrew Berry has the best chance to remain in his current position, but beyond that there are many unknowns.