The email Jimmy Haslam should have sent.
Jimmy Haslam’s emails to season ticket holders have famously missed the mark thus far. It got me thinking whether there was anything he could have said to ease fans’ worries. I think there is. A little humility, contrition, and honesty would go a long way.
Dear Browns fans:
It’s been a little over a year since I assumed an active role as the owner of your favorite football team. It has been a humbling experience and I have learned much about being an owner.
I’ve said on many occasions that we intend to build an winning organization and to instill a greater sense of accountability. This includes me. I am accountable to you.
With the in mind, let me share with you the view from here and perhaps allay some of your concerns. Candidly. (Lol.)
1. The team’s performance on-field.
I was expecting better. I say this fully cognizant of the flags (draft and cap space) that said we were more interested in building for 2014 and beyond. Even though we traded out of this years draft, traded our starting running back, did not spend to the cap ceiling on free agents… even in consideration of those factors, I expected more progress on offense and more “identity” on defense. I’d also like to remind you that my viewpoint has been consistent on this point — here is a clip from last July where I said it is more important how we play in the last three games of the season than the first three games. (Go to 2:30.) We may disagree on the extent that mitigating factors contributed, but I hope we can agree that the last three games reflected a trend in the wrong direction.
2. Firing Chud versus continuity.
Given that our internal expectations were not met on the field, our management team reached consensus internally that we wanted to scrap our coaching staff and start fresh. I won’t outline here precisely the basis for this conclusion but I raise this point to assure you that there was indeed a process of careful consideration and we felt confident in our decision at the time. In retrospect, I now wonder whether it was the wisest move. But the ship has sailed and now we are focused on moving forward.
3. The new coach.
We are looking for a coach who is a strong personality and who will put his stamp on his team. I realize these are touchy-feely qualifications and they are mainly identified in the interview process. The good news, in my opinion, is that this opens up the field of candidates somewhat and thus the superficial appearance of “being late” with the hire is just that, superficial. One need only look at the two Super Bowl winning coaches in our own division to recognize that a long list of credentials is less important that the je ne sais quoi that a Mike Tomlin or John Harbaugh bring to their teams. Fear not fans, we will hire a great coach.
4. Our free agents.
Wouldn’t you know it? We sit with plenty of cap space entering 2013, with only two significant UFAs, and they both make All-Pro. I assure you we didn’t see this coming (in spite of warnings from Cleveland’s astute blogging community) and I’ve let the appropriate people in the organization know that I view this as a significant miss by them in their roles. But again.. it does no good now to look backward so let me first congratulate Alex and TJ on their great years. Looking forward: we want very much to retain both. I don’t care if saying so publicly affects our negotiations. We have said that it’s better to build sustainable success by growing our own talent and clearly Mack and Ward are key parts of the rich talent base that the prior regime left to us. They represent exactly the sort of continuity we want to build here
4a. Other teams’ free agents.
We’ve got a shit-pot full of cash heading into next year and I have instructed Joe to spend it.
5. The draft.
First off, Chuck Klosterman will be back again to chronicle the excitement that is the Berea War Room. (Lol, j/k.) But seriously, last year’s draft class obviously didn’t provide an impact for last year’s season; we view this as a miss; accountability has been assigned internally. That said, we’re confident that several players from last year’s draft will contribute to the team in the years to come. As pertains to this year, we’re excited to have extra picks coming into what is rated as a strong draft class. I’m confident in the team assembled in creating our draft evaluations, I hope when I write this letter next year the player eval team will have earned your confidence too.
In closing, our goal for 2014 is the playoffs. We will have built-in excuses due to the uncertain quarterback situation and a new coaching staff. We will not be using those excuses. One need only look at this year’s playoffs to see that a new coach and a new starting QB can get you to the playoffs. See Chip Kelly1 and Nick Foles; Andy Reid and Alex Smith.
We are not planning on another three year rebuild. We think we have a core of players who can win and we will be going all in for next year to augment that core with players whose skills match best our needs.
I repeat: we’re all in for 2014.
Thank you for your patience.No hard feelings on this side, we know last year was a disaster. Know that we are energized for 2014 and will earn your business and reward your support.
Con molta candore,
- DICK!! [back]