A challenging season won't deter Sashi Brown and the Browns. The executive vice president of football operations made as much clear Monday afternoon in a meeting with reporters to address an 0-10 start and outline Cleveland's plan going forward. [
"We always knew this was going to be a major challenge where we sat with our roster, our cap (space) situation and where we were standing at quarterback as well. We knew what we were undertaking," Brown said. "We always want to learn, but we're steadfast in our plan and we feel like we're on the right course."
That journey, Brown said, involves a handful of key objectives: changing the culture, building a "core nucleus of young talent," and to stick with it amid an admittedly disappointing 0-10 start.
"We are disappointed, we're not going to shy away from that, in terms of the record," said Brown, who in August said the expectation was to win this season. "We want to win, we want to win now, we want to win for our fans … but we also know the process and how hard it's going to be."
Here's what else you should know.
— Developing the future
With one of the league's youngest rosters, Brown stressed the dynamic of developing that youth while getting the most out of it now.
"We're starting to see some young players who will emerge and be players here for a long time," Brown said, referencing third-year linebacker Christian Kirksey, second-year nose tackle Danny Shelton, running backs Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell and rookies such as quarterback Cody Kessler, wide receiver Corey Coleman, linebacker Emmanuel Ogbah, offensive lineman Spencer Drango and receiver Ricardo Louis.
"We do think our guys have hit the ground and had some success and we hope to see more guys added this spring that'll have similar success and over time we'll be able to look back," he said. "I'm confident and feel really good about the 2016 draft class."
— Cody Kessler's poise not a surprise
Brown said he's been pleased by the production and progress of rookie quarterback Cody Kessler, who has started seven of 10 games for the Browns this season.
"I think it's great to see he's come in with pretty difficult circumstances in terms of the two quarterbacks ahead of him being injured and come in and performed well. That's some of what we expected with a guy that's got tremendous poise, is bright and can pick up an offense," he said.
"I think in all of our ideal goals, we'd allow him some more time to develop and get his legs under him and learn the offense, but he was able to come in and pick the ball up and lead our offense and has for the better part of the year."
Kessler, who has shown promise this year, has completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,241 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception.
Brown also said the Browns "will always continue" to evaluate quarterbacks of the future, including those on the roster and those in upcoming draft classes.
"We'll always continue to do that. It's a position of preeminent importance for us and around the league. It's nothing novel to the Browns, but we want to have a good grasp on the guys coming out of college," he said.
— Jamie Collins emerging as 'impact player'
Jamie Collins Sr. proved his worth Thursday night with a stat-stuffing display against the Ravens. Brown laid out the decision to acquire the Pro Bowl linebacker from New England in exchange for a compensatory draft pick.
"We like what we've seen, we obviously like what we saw on tape enough to trade for him," Brown said. "But he's come and he's worked hard to learn the defense and been an impact players for us in both games he's played. We recognize he's a talented young player that we'd like to have here."
Collins led the Patriots in tackles in 2014 and 2015 and has started to emerge as a key figure in Cleveland's defense.
— Robert Griffin III 'on pace' to return, role unclear
Brown suggested Robert Griffin III could return this season, saying the quarterback looks to be "on pace" to come back later this year. It's still unclear, however, what kind of role Griffin would have if he's indeed healthy enough to play.
"If we have that we pride ourselves in having competition at every spot and trust that Hue would have the opportunity to do (make that decision)," Brown said. "Now Cody is also playing well so we want to give Hue the opportunity to make that decision."
Griffin, who battled through injuries in his four years with the Redskins, was placed on injured reserve after breaking a bone in his shoulder in a Week 1 loss to the Eagles.
"His durability has been something that's followed him and unfortunately reared its head again as well for him. And we were all disappointed, he worked his tail off to understand the offense and positioned himself to start for us and gets hurt after a few quarters of play. He's got the opportunity to come back and try and compete to earn his job back. That won't be necessarily given to him, that'll be a Hue (Jackson) decision."