The awkward confluence of regimes in Cleveland will intersect most prominently in nine days, when the trade deadline arrives.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that new Browns CEO Joe Banner will have final say over any possible trades brokered by current team president Mike Holmgren, G.M. Tom Heckert, and/or coach Pat Shurmur.
It’s a smart move. After all, the triangle of (secondary) authority could be tempted to trade draft picks none of them may be around to use in order to make the team better now. Why not mortgage the future if Holmgren, Heckert, and Shurmur won’t be part of it?
The deeper point in all of this could be (and probably is) that no amount of success this season will change the approach for 2013 and beyond. Banner and new owner Jimmy Haslam want to get the right people in place over the long haul. And Banner and Haslam are smart enough to realize that getting caught up in a short-term uptick would be a mistake.
The current players know that, if there are major changes to the front office and coaching staff, they could be gone. So they’ll be more likely to play hard for their head coach, because they indirectly will be playing hard for themselves.
The challenge for Banner and Haslam will be to get the fans to realize that any success the team may have down the stretch has no bearing on the long-term decisions that are still to come, and that performance that looks like progress could be, to a certain extent, a mirage.
Either way, the 2012 Browns won’t be getting any immediate help without the blessing of the guy who’ll be running the show in 2013 and beyond.