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Decisions made to move team forward

Posted Sep 18, 2013

Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner and coach Rob Chudzinski said the team makes moves that help the organization move forward.

When the Cleveland Browns traded running back Trent Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick in the 2014 draft on Wednesday, the decision was made with the goal of improving the team.

Following the trade, the Browns now have 10 picks in the 2014 NFL Draft, including two first-rounders, as well as significant salary-cap space to work with in 2014.

“I think it puts us in a very good position,” Browns chief executive officer Joe Banner said. “To have made some real progress with the team this offseason, to be in very good cap shape going into next season, and accumulated those picks, I think we’re positioning ourselves to build a team that is good and sustainable.

“All we can do is what we think are the best decisions to look forward and make this the best team that it can be and position ourselves to be able to sustain that success. We’re trying to look forward and what opportunities present themselves or can we create that will make us the best team going forward.”

Banner said making Wednesday’s move was about adding value to the organization.

“As we looked forward to what we need to get accomplished, we felt this was good value and gave us an opportunity to accomplish what we want to going forward,” Banner said. “The value that we were getting back in terms of what we’re trying to do moving forward made this a thing that we wanted to do.”

Banner and the Browns’ team of decision-makers, including general manager Michael Lombardi and coach Rob Chudzinski, spent their first offseason rebuilding the team’s front seven with the additions of linebackers Paul Kruger and Quentin Groves, as well as defensive lineman Desmond Bryant through free agency and pass-rusher Barkevious Mingo in the first round of the draft.

Bryant leads the team with 2.5 sacks and is third on the team with 14 total tackles. Kruger, Groves and Mingo have each registered sacks. Groves and Mingo have made an impact on special teams as well.

Following the Richardson trade, the Browns announced plans to add four-time 1,000-yard rusher Willis McGahee to the team, pending a physical Thursday.

EARNING TRUST OF THE FANS

Banner is confident Wednesday’s move will allow the Browns to continue building a championship-contending organization, which is key in creating trust between the team and its fans.

“I’m very confident in the group of people we have that will be involved in that, which will include the coaches, the player-personnel department,” Banner said the 2014 NFL Draft. “Like every team, you’ll hit on some picks. You’ll miss on some picks. We’ll be human, but I think, collectively, we’ll do a good job with it. I like to refer to it as having a better batting average than other teams, and eventually, that produces a winning team.

“We have to earn their belief and trust in the decisions we’re going to make as a group, and I don’t expect them to trust until we prove that trust is well-placed. I understand the skepticism now, but we have to do what’s right, move the franchise forward and get it to where we want it to be.”

Banner and Chudzinski are also confident in the players on the roster, and expect them to continue with their preparations toward winning Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

“We’re going to continue to play hard, prepare and do what we can to win every week,” Banner said. “The coaches are going to do everything they can to support that, and I think as they see us go out on the field, that that’s not the case.”

Chudzinski added, “I believe in this group. I believe in the guys in this locker room, and I believe that the next guy will step up. We’ll find a way and do what we need to do to win.”

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