5 Ways Jimmy Haslam Can Bring a Winning Culture to the Cleveland Browns
Extended losing streaks, poor play and consecutive unsuccessful seasons all lead to the Browns consistently being at the bottom of the AFC North division, which leaves Cleveland fans virtually nothing to be excited about year after year.
Brandon Weeden was brought in from the 2012 Draft in an attempt to give life to the Browns' quarterback position after years of mediocre play, but the Browns still stand 2-7 on the season on November 9, 2012.
It will take a lot, but recently appointed owner Jimmy Haslam has the opportunity to turn this franchise around and bring back winning ways to Cleveland.
Among those many ways, the top five most important have to do with talent and pride, which are staples for any successful organization.
Figure out the Head Coaching Position
Head Coach Pat Shurmer, who was appointed on January 13, 2011, has only a handful of games left to prove he can help turn the Browns around.
It may be too late for them to make a dent in the standings but if Shurmur and company can rally off a few wins and finish the season strong, he can state his case to being long-term with the team.
If Haslam has to make a coaching change, he needs to do so after this season. In order for the Browns to create a winning culture, Haslam needs to find a coach he can build a strong relationship that will help the team turn itself around.
Coaches' relationships with owners as well as quarterbacks is integral to a team being a well-oiled machine and if Pat Shurmur doesn't have a place in Cleveland, Haslam needs to go out and find his man and do it as soon as possible.
Build a Relationship with Fans
Fans are the lifeblood to any organization. Without them, teams really have nothing to play for.
Lately, Browns fans haven't had much to be proud of as drafting Brandon Weeden was their only glimmer of light to be excited about. Quickly, though, the Browns fell right back into their losing ways.
The first way to build that relationship back up with fans is to start winning. However, being transparent with fans in terms of moves the team may want to make or updates on how the team is feeling after wins and loses does wonders.
Social media is another great way to stay connected with fans and even receive their feedback. Maintaining their Twitter account and even revamping it with question and answer sessions with fans will help.
Let Tom Heckert Go to Work
Tom Heckert is a great general manager and has an eye for talent.
Alone in the 2012 Draft, Weeden and Richardson were brought into the Cleveland organization, which will help the Browns in the long run.
Now, Haslam needs to let Heckert do more of his work and continue to scout the college ranks for talent that will help them. Particularly, they need to focus on their defense more and they have already done so in 2012 in drafted defensive tackle John Hughes.
Revamping the defense, which will be touched on, is another huge key the Browns need in order to help their developing offense, and that's where Heckert does his job.
Make the Playoffs
Make the playoffs, even if it's in a losing effort in a wild card game.
Building a relationship with the fans starts with winning, as stated earlier. Making the playoffs for the first time in over a decade would give the fans a major boost in having pride for their team and give them something to look forward to.
Obviously, it starts with drafting and developing talent but if that can be done the Browns will finally be able to compete with the aging Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens and have a fighting chance.
It's going to take baby steps and it's going to take a long while as all teams who rebuild find out. However, when that time comes, Browns fans will finally have Sundays and the postseason to look forward to.
It may seem subtle, and it may even seem ludicrous, but changing the uniforms to mark a new era can get the fans excited again.
The traditional white and brown color scheme the Browns sport every Sunday is simple and respects the organization's history, but changing it would give fans something to talk about and can even restore pride in the team.
The saying is a little goes a long way and something as little as changing the jerseys, even just a little bit, can go a long way for Jimmy Haslam to get the message out to fans that the time for mediocrity is over.
The NFL works better when all teams are performing well and the Browns have the potential to get their. It will take time and effort but Jimmy Haslam has the tools at hand to change the face and the reputation of the Cleveland Browns.