Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is setting out on a search to hire the fifth head coach since buying the team in 2012.
He said the team will let past failures guide the franchise’s search with a strong determination to get it right this time.
The Browns plan to hire a head coach to replace Freddie Kitchens and then allow the next head coach to have input on a search for a new general manager. Haslam said the coach and general manager will report individually to ownership.
“There’s no guarantee. Let’s be honest,” Haslam said of getting it right when hiring a coach. “I do think we’ve learned a tremendous amount the hard way, very painful way. I think we have a great idea of what we’re looking for in both positions.
“We had a good process last time. I think we’ll have a really good process this time. I would just reiterate, we are very determined to get that right this time.”
That goes for both the coach and general manager. The Browns split with GM John Dorsey on Tuesday; Kitchens was fired on Sunday after concluding his first season at 6-10.
“Nothing is as important as these two things: Getting the right people and getting them aligned,” Haslam said. “That’s what we’re focusing on tremendously. That alignment is really, really important. I think we can always do better.”
Haslam said the search “has been and will be very thorough” for both positions. Haslam will make the final decision with input from chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, vice president of football administration Chris Cooper and executive vice president JW Johnson.
“Paul is a very smart individual, very strategic in his thought process,” Haslam said. “His job will not change, it will stay exactly the same as it is. He’ll do everything he can to support the general manager and head coach.”
Haslam said the coaching search committee talked to 20 or 30 players about what they want in a new leader.
“They want leadership,” Haslam said.
The role of the general manager is evolving, Haslam said, from just being a scout to an administrator capable of using analytics and coordinating other aspects of the organization. Assistant general manager Eliot Wolf will remain in his existing role, but the Browns plan to go outside of the current structure to find a general manager.
“There could be some changes to the roster but we have a really solid group of core players who are extremely young,” Haslam said. “Baker (Mayfield) is 24. Our old guys, Jarvis (Landry) and Odell (Beckham) are 26, 27. I can’t imagine anybody wanting to change that group.”
Haslam said the franchise is focused on supporting Mayfield, the 2018 No. 1 overall pick.
“He took a lot of grief this year,” Haslam said.
—Field Level Media