Cleveland Browns: A baseball-style rebuild begins in next phase
Fourth, the rebuild requires patience. The Cubs’ rebuild took five years to complete. The roster was overhauled, new talent brought into the minor-league system and the team needed to grow at the major-league level. In the four years it took for the Cubs plan to mature, fans began to lose patience and belief that a turnaround was possible. When asked about the rebuild process and the increasingly impatience fan base, Epstein stated:
"Sometimes when you take on a challenge, you know you’re going to be unpopular for a few years. You know you’re going to wear it for a few years, individually and as an organization. But if you’re tough and you have discipline, you know there’s going to be pay-off for everyone."
"That’s what makes it worthwhile. No one would want to come into a situation where it’s all on a silver platter for you, and you just show up and get the accolades that you don’t even deserve. We’re trying to build this thing the right way, from the ground up."
"We want to deliver (as) soon as we can, but we’re not going to stray from our vision."
His words are similar to that of DePodesta when discussing the Browns rebuilding process.
"When I was going to the Browns, I had met with the ownership, Jimmy and Dee Haslam, and they asked me, ‘What do you want out of an owner?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’ll tell you what I don’t want.’ I said, ‘If you ever take your kids to an amusement park at Disneyland or whatever, they beg you to go on the big daddy roller coaster. They beg you. You say, ‘Are you sure?’ They say, ‘Absolutely, I want to go on this thing.’ So you wait in line for 45 minutes, it takes up a good chunk of your day, you finally get to the front of the line, they eyeball it, and they say, ‘Uh, I’m not getting on that thing. Not at all.’"
"And that’s what happens to a lot of owners. They would say, ‘Hey, we want ‘Moneyball,’ we want this disciplined approach to what we’re doing.’ But then when it comes time to making that hard decision, they say, ‘I don’t want any part of this.’ I said, ‘I need someone who’s going to want to get on the roller coaster with me knowing that it’s not always going to be fun. There are going to be parts of the roller coaster that are going to be scary, that are going to be uncomfortable, but hopefully at the end of the ride when we get off, you’re going to want to say, let’s do that again.’ But I think that’s how we always got through it, was having that shared vision from the beginning and giving you the conviction to actually go through with it."
Patience seems to be in short supply for the Cleveland Browns. Fans are hungry for a winning team. They have been waiting since 1999 and their patience is understandably thin. Unfortunately, for the current front office to rebuild this team correctly, it may take three to five years. The question is whether the owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam will give them the necessary time.
Sadly, do not expect the Browns to experience a “leap year” in 2017. A “leap year” is when a team goes from losing or mediocre to winning. There is simply not enough talent on the roster to go from 1-15 to Super Bowl contenders. They should be better than in 2016 but expecting a winning record may be too much to ask for. However, I could be wrong. If so, I could not be happier to be wrong.
The Browns have torn down their roster and have begun to rebuild. They are currently at the second stage of the process where the roster is being filled with players who fit the characteristics which the team is looking for. There are more years of roster building to come.
Next: 3-round Browns mock draft
Browns fans may not want to hear this, more patience will be needed before the Browns become a consistent winner. The alternative is the quick fix that has failed to fix anything since 1999. Give this front office time to do this right. Why not? Everything else has failed.