Browns VP remains confident in plan despite losses piling up
By TOM WITHERS
BEREA, Ohio (AP) Twenty games. One victory. The Browns don't seem to be getting any better.
But while the losses have piled up quickly over the past two seasons, the man overseeing Cleveland's reconstruction remains undeterred and confident in the plan.
"We're not shying away from what our record is," vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said Wednesday. "At the same time, we're determined and resilient about where we're headed, and we do see some of the progress being made on the field. It's not good enough yet."
Brown met with reporters in the lobby of the team's headquarters while Cleveland's players, coming off an embarrassing 31-7 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday, practiced on fields behind the building.
Brown, who took over as the organization's top decision-maker following the 2015 season, expressed disappointment that the wins haven't come, but he isn't shaken by the slow growth.
"We were realistic when we took over in January 2016 of where we were," Brown said. "We understood this is going to be a challenging build.
"So while we're disappointed primarily for our fans about the results so far through the first 20 games of our tenure here, we're committed to turning this thing around.
The Browns are just 1-19 under Jackson, who has come under further scrutiny with his team again winless and showing only minimal gains.
In the past, front offices in Cleveland have buckled under the pressure and divided. Brown said he and Jackson remain aligned and the team's executives and coaching staff are unified.
"Really well," he said when asked how the sides are working together. "Good communication on various transactions, roster moves, we've had some particularly difficult injuries at some key places with some key players for us and working well with Hue's staff. I think we're continuing, in this our second year together - it feels like longer - but it's been a great offseason of finding new ways to work together and support each other, learn from each other, so things are good."
Brown said "no excuses" several times during his interview session, but he pointed out key injuries to top pick Myles Garrett, wide receiver Corey Coleman and linebacker Jamie Collins as hindering the team's development.
Garrett is expected to play this week when the Browns (0-4) host the New York Jets (2-2), who were expected to be one of the league's worst teams and have so far been one of the league's biggest surprises.
Brown understands the frustration of Cleveland fans, who feel the team should be much more competitive at this point. The Browns have lost 29 of their past 31 games.
"We're not going to overreact to four games," he said. "We played some tough divisional opponents. We're well aware of how difficult our division is. But we know we can play better and will.
"We're not at the end of our build by any stretch and I don't know if any team ever is. But we certainly have made some progress on the field, we're seeing that with some of the young guys that are playing and making plays for us. But winning is why we're here. So the results need to get better. We can and will play better as we move forward."
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Updated October 4, 2017