BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Collaborative effort.
Let those words marinate for a moment because they will be heard a lot coming from the new leadership of the Cleveland Browns.
A ‘collaborative effort’ will be the underlying philosophy for personnel decisions going forward – CEO Joe Banner, VP player personnel Michael Lombardi, coach Rob Chudzinski and owner Jimmy Haslam will all have a say.
“We’ve all got to get on the same page and we’ve all got to work together,” Lombardi said. “I think that’s the most important thing. I hate to keep harking back to the Raiders, but titles were never important there. We just all worked. I think that’s all we have to do.”
Banner said that’s the same set-up and philosophy that he came from in Philadelphia.
“There were four of us that collectively debated these things, discussed these things and made decisions,” Banner said. “Although Andy Reid officially had final say the process there is similar to what I’m describing. We rarely did things we were divided about and, by the way, there were times when we all agreed and still ended up getting it wrong.
“But generally we all felt like this is the right thing to do as opposed to things we are divided on.”
How much for all involved remains to be seen – especially for who actually has the final say.
Banner put on his tap dance shoes when pressed on the matter during and after the introduction of Lombardi.
“I understand the curiosity and the interest because they care so much and that’s a great thing,” Banner said. “But what I think they really care about is that we end up making the right decisions.”
Banner stressed that the key to success for the organization going forward isn’t worrying about making mistakes – it’s limiting them.
“We’re not standing up here telling you that we have all the answers and we’re definitely not telling you we won’t make some mistakes because I guarantee we’ll make our fair share of mistakes,” Banner said. “In fact, what we really need to do, and this is the way I describe it in house, we have to have a high enough batting average whether it’s the play calling, personnel decisions in free agency and the draft where we’re getting as high a batting average as the teams that are the best in the league.
“If we’re doing that we’ll be among the best teams in the league. If we’re not, we won’t be. So what we’re trying to do is put together a group of people we think will give us the best chance to have the highest batting average.”
Chudzinski said that the best situations that he worked in around the NFL lived by the same philosophy and so it will work in Cleveland.
“Those were the best places and the best decisions were made in that type of situation,” Chudzinski said. “Like Joe alluded to, when you work together and the communication is there, there’s really no surprises when you end up sitting down at the end of the day and making those decisions. A group effort is the best way to go.
“You like people to have opinions and different opinions and when you work together well and you communicate, you can work through all those and you make the right decisions more often than not.”