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Browns new CEO digging in to fix team

Associated Press Modified: November 16, 2012 at 7:16 pm •  Published: November 16, 2012
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Shurmur may yet prove to be the coach Cleveland needs. Maybe not.

But Banner won't be pushed into taking a particular type of coach.

"It doesn't have to be a college coach," he said. "It doesn't have to be a pro coach. It doesn't have to be an offensive guy. It doesn't have to be a defensive guy. I'm more looking for qualities of a person consistent with the most successful coaches. ... We're learning every day. Jimmy and I talk regularly with the idea of making a decision at the end of the year and implementing it after the season. That's what we'll stick to."

And what if the Browns go 7-0 the rest of the way?

"If that happens," Banner said, smiling. "I guess we couldn't say the won-loss record doesn't matter."

As for Browns general manager Tom Heckert, whose future may also hinge on the rest of this season, Banner said his relationship with Cleveland's top talent evaluator "is good and always has been."

Heckert, too, worked with Banner in Philadelphia before joining the Browns in 2010. Banner credited Heckert with upgrading the talent on Cleveland's roster and said that while he plans to restructure the front office, he envisions a scenario in which the Browns will continue to have a general manager's position. Of course, a change in coaches could alter that design.

Another major issue Banner must tackle in the weeks ahead is Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who like any other first-year QB, has had good and bad moments this season. Banner will wait until the end of the season before deciding if Weeden can carry the Browns to titles, and even then it may be difficult to evaluate his potential.

Banner is reserving a final verdict on Weeden until he sees more.

"I do think we know enough that he has the potential to be really good," he said. "And after nine games, the truth is he's probably not 100 percent sure. And the truth is, at the end of the season you'll have more information to make a judgment, but will you really have the answer to the question on any player on the roster? You won't. You will have a very educated guess based on a lot of information."

— On other issues, Banner said:

— The Browns could change their uniforms in the future, but any alterations would be respectful of the team's tradition. "If we do anything, it isn't on the fast track, and it certainly wouldn't be anything that wouldn't be incredibly respectful of the history and what the fans care about."

— He's focused on improving the game-day experience at Browns Stadium, which needs technological upgrades and other improvements. He said any major overhaul may not be completed until the 2014 season.

— The passion and loyalty of Browns fans has been overwhelming.

"This is a remarkable story and we're going to be able to write a great next chapter," he said. "You lose your team. You get it back. You don't have your expectations and hopes met for a very long period of time and you're still all there. If we can kind of pay back what's been paid in over the last 20 years, that will be a spectacular story."

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