BEREA — Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner talked about a variety of topics in their first press conference in Berea together.
Banner said he expects the Browns to compete for a championship sooner than later.
“Our goal is to win the Super Bowl,” Banner said. “I don’t underestimate the other team in the division. We’ll have to build a very good team.”
Haslam said they will build the Browns the right way, but admitted he is impatient for success.
“I don’t think you’re looking at two more impatient people than the two (Haslam and Banner) up here (speaking).”
Banner said he thinks fans will be able to see improvement quickly
“I think fairly quickly people will see progress,” Banner said. “I don’t think it will take very long before fans will be able to see we’re on the right track. There’s a plan and there are priorities.”
Here are other topics covered by Haslam and Banner.
Q: How key is the fan base of the Browns in your decision to join the Browns?:
Banner: “That’s why we’re here. (Haslam and I) met before there was a franchise identified (for sale) and looking at this city and the passion these fans have. Every aspect is here and it’s waiting to happen. We want to be someplace where that passion exists. I didn’t want to go to a place nor do I think Jimmy did where a passion for the team didn’t exist.”
Q: What are some of the things you can do to get fans involved?:
Banner: “We had a board of season ticket holders in Philadelphia that we met with regularly to get their feedback.”
Q: What is your philosophy in building the team?:
Banner: We will engage in free agency, but the foundation will be draft picks and re-signing them.”
Q: What will you do in evaluating the game day experience?:
Banner: “We will have 20 staff members take part in the game day experience and want to have a championship level performance at every level of the organization.
“I have a vision in the league on what it takes to be successful. I want to be careful because I know that these fans have been through several next starts. It’s remarkable with what the fans have been through the past 18 to 20 years and they still fill the stadium.
“I hope the fans will feel this is the most fan friendly organization.”
Haslam: ”How you’re treated when you walk in the stadium and the product on the field-- which is by far the most important. Let’s be realistic, probably 80-85 percent of it is whether you win the game or not.”
Q: Who will have final say on decisions?:
Banner: “As it relates to football decisions, these aren’t going to be my decisions. He’s (Haslam) the owner of the team and he will have final say.”
Q: How important is it to build the franchise right?:
Haslam: “We’re not going to take any short cuts to get there. We’ll go fast, but won’t take any shortcuts.”
Q: What did you learn from your time with the Eagles and how important is ownership?:
Banner: “There was a lot I learned in Philadelphia. The key starts with ownership and it was very evident to me quickly with Jimmy that winning a championship was a top priority. You can look around the league and see the difference between those that are successful and those that aren’t.”
Q: Do you see the situation with the Browns similar to the situation when you started in Philadelphia?:
Banner: “There are a lot of analogies. How to we take advantage of it and make the game day experience great for the fans. We’re going to evaluate everything. You’ll probably see some of it next year and more the year after that. Jimmy is taking a long term approach to this.”
Q: You had a lot of continuity during your tenure with the Eagles. How important is that?:
Banner: “I don’t want to spend too much time on Philadelphia because we’re moving forward here. Most organizations that don’t have continuity aren’t successful, but you have to have the right set up. You put a very large priority on continuity and create an environment where people want to stay.”
Q: What did the first win as owner remind you of?:
Haslam: “The feeling after winning Sunday reminded me of when the Steelers won the AFC Championship with (Browns fans) with the excitement among the fans and the electricity after the game. That fired me up and I called Joe and told him.”
Q: What did you tell the team when you talked to them?:
Haslam: “I congratulated them on the win. I told them the timing is not good, but to focus on playing. We have a big game this week with Indianapolis and they need to be ready.”
Q: When you say everyone in the organization will be evaluated, what about your quarterback?:
Haslam: “Brandon (Weeden) is like everyone else. He will be evaluated.”
Q: How long until fans will be able to see progress with the Browns?:
Q: Do you expect the sale of the team to be done on October 25?:
Haslam: “The 25th is the date. We have to write a sizable check but the funds are in place.”
Paul Ryan & Condoleezaa Rice at Practice: Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were surprise visitors at Browns practice Wednesday. The two were on the practice field for about 10 minutes and addressed the team.
Rice is a huge Browns fan and she talked with her favorite player, Joe Thomas, as did Ryan, who’s from Thomas’ home state of Wisconsin. QB Colt McCoy posed with the two for a picture after they spoke.
The pair was accompanied by 30-40 members of the press corps and a host of secret service members.
Ryan and Rice had a campaign stop at nearby Baldwin-Wallace College as they made stops around Ohio.
TRich Back: RB Trent Richardson was back at practice and Shurmur said he was progressing well from his rib cartilage injury.
“Trent’s doing great.”
Richardson practiced along with WR Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring) and WR Travis Benjamin (hamstring) and DL Ahtyba Rubin (calf). LB Scott Fujita (neck/shoulder) and DB Dimitri Patterson (ankle) did not practice.
DL Phil Taylor was not practicing, but Shurmur said he’d be out there ‘soon’. Taylor has been on the PUP list the whole season after tearing a pectoral muscle.
Captain Sheldon: Shurmur said that CB Sheldon Brown was selected as the fourth captain for Sunday’s game with the Colts. Brown had a key interception return for a touchdown to help the Browns get their first win of the season.
Shurmur Mum on Fujita: Shurmur was asked about reports that LB Scott Fujita might have suffered a career ending injury to his shoulder/neck area.
“He’s like a lot of players in the league dealing with injuries and trying to get back to a level where he can play,” Shurmur said. “Other than that, I have no further comment.”
Fujita did not practice.
Vote of Confidence for Owen: FB Owen Marecic has had trouble hanging on to the ball, but his primary responsibility is to be a lead blocker. Shurmur was asked if he was getting enough production at the fullback position.
“Our fullback Owen (Marecic) has done a pretty good job blocking,” Shurmur said. “He’s got to do a better job catching the ball.”
Marecic has no receptions on the season, but has dropped at least three passes.