Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) - A day after being approved by the NFL to take over as the owner of the Cleveland Browns, Jimmy Haslam addressed the team and then the entire organization Wednesday morning.
“I congratulated them on the win,” Haslam said. “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.”
Everybody now knows officially that they are on notice – from coach Pat Shurmur to the players.
“We live on the edge, it’s a winning business,” Shurmur said. “We’re paid to win games. Great organizations, you need strength from the top and that starts with ownership.
“I’m at peace with what happens at the end of the year.”
General manager Tom Heckert and Shurmur both worked under new CEO Joe Banner in Philadelphia. This time around, it’s clear that previous relationships are not a consideration for keeping a job.
“I don’t think you see any operations that are successful that don’t have continuity,” Banner said. “So I view continuity as important. But you have to pick the right time to begin to talk of continuity. When you feel the organization is set up with the right people, then you have continuity.
“I want to be able to attract really good people and create an environment where they’re going to want to stay. But you may have to go through a process getting to the point where we have that in place.”
Many players are glad to see the energy that Haslam has brought and plans to infuse into the organization.
“It’s just refreshing,” returner Josh Cribbs said. “The owner coming down to us and letting us know that he’s excited to be a part of our team and to be involved in our day-to-day work environment and let us know change is probably inevitable but it’s all for the best.
“It’s refreshing to see a guy come down and give his all to the team, want us to win and owns the team.”
Others, like rookie Trent Richardson are glad things will settle down soon.
“For some guys, I think it’s a big relief and from other guys, like myself, I’m glad we got this stuff over with,” Richardson said. “It’s just football for me and it’s just work for us. Once everyone knows that everything is calmed down and we have to stay on the right track, keep going and keep fighting. This season can be one of those turnaround seasons.
“(These are) not the same Cleveland Browns that you saw in the first quarter or half of the season. This is a whole other team and they are out there having fun and winning.”
The specter of forthcoming change is noticeable in the locker room. The focus is on the future of the front office, but the players know the evaluations aren’t stopping there.
“At the end of the day, no matter what everybody wants to do their best and play hard,” cornerback Joe Haden said. “When you have new management coming in and you’re not really secure with what’s going on that’s just another reason for you to step it up. There’s no impression like a first impression.
“They want class A everything. Class A players, they want class A coaches. Coaches are going to step up, players are going to step up and everyone is really working for a job.”
Trent On The Mend: Richardson said pain and difficulty breathing Sunday forced him out of the win over the Bengals but he’s feeling a little better.
“It’s gonna be day by day, step by step,” Richardson said.
The rookie from Alabama doesn’t expect the rib cartilage injury on his right side to sideline him at Indianapolis.
“Me in my head, I’m already ready for Sunday,” Richardson said. “It just depends how I do and Coach is gonna let me know what I need to do.”
Richardson added that he will wear protective padding to protect his ribs against the Colts should he play.
No Updates: As per usual Shurmur didn’t elaborate much on injuries. He would not confirm reports that linebacker Scott Fujita is facing a season ending and career threatening injury.
“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 Wednesday.
Case Of The Drops: Fullback Owen Marecic has developed a bad habit – he can’t catch the football. Marecic had 2 drops against Cincinnati leaving many to question why bother throwing him the ball?
“The positive with the drops is I have never been more excited to catch the ball or do something with the ball,” Marecic said. “It’s kind of frustrating that I haven’t had the kind of results we all want. It’s really easy to try and over think it and try to think about running with it, it’s an easy thing.”
Shurmur had the fullback’s back Wednesday.
“He has done a pretty good job of blocking,” Shurmur said. “We don’t want him dropping the football”
Captain Brown: Shurmur named veteran corner Sheldon Brown as the fourth captain for Sunday’s game with the Colts.
Brown came away with a critical pick-6 of Andy Dalton to help the Browns put away the Bengals and come away with their first victory of the season.
Injury Report: Did Not Practice – LB Scott Fujita (shoulder/neck) and CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle).
Limited participation in practice: WR Travis Benjamin and Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), S Tashaun Gipson (knee), LG Jason Pinkston (illness), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib), DT Ahtyba Rubin (calf), S Ray Ventrone (hand/calf), SS T.J. Ward (hand) and LS Christian Yount (shoulder).
Full Participation – DE Frostee Rucker (shoulder) and QB Brandon Weeden (foot).