5 things we learned from Jimmy Haslam's press conference on team's search for head coach, general manager

Breaking down the biggest news items and most interesting tidbits from Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's Thursday press conference.

1. The Browns will hire a head coach before a general manager

The Browns are looking to fill two of the most important positions in the organization, and they'll start first with the head coach, Haslam said. The head coach will then assist and collaborate with the committee as it looks to identify a general manager.

The goal behind this process is to have better "alignment" between the two, who, ultimately, will both report to Browns ownership.

The general manager will have final say on the 53-man roster while the coach will make the calls on the 46 players active on game days, Haslam said.

2. Who's on the search committee and who's making the final decision?

Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta will be the leader of the Browns' search process. The committee will be made up of Dee and Jimmy Haslam, Executive Vice President and Owner J.W. Johnson and Vice President of Football Administration Chris Cooper.

"We think Paul is really good at this type of position," Haslam said. "If you think about it, all he has done his whole adult life is gather data to help make good decisions so we think he is ideally suited to lead this process."

Ownership will make the final decision, Haslam said, but "it won't be in a vacuum."

"We will make it with input from Paul, Chris Cooper, who is also going to be on the search committee with us, and various other people in the organization who have had the opportunity to meet and deal with the candidates," Haslam said.

3. Browns focused on NFL experience

The Browns are casting a wide net as they embark on their coaching search, a process that began in earnest Thursday with the interview of former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. Though McCarthy spent 13 years as a head coach, Haslam said head coaching experience wouldn't be required among the candidates.

NFL experience, however, was the team's focus at the moment. That was Haslam's response when he was asked about former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, whose name has been linked to the Browns in recent media reports.

"Right now, we are just focusing on people with NFL experience," Haslam said.

4. What do the Browns want from a head coach and general manager?

Asked specifically about what he wants from a head coach and general manager, Haslam didn't hold back. He ran down a detailed list that largely applied to both positions, a breakdown that was aided significantly by the many meetings he had with players earlier in the week.

  • Strong leader
  • Smart
  • Good football acumen
  • Will work within the organization, "not 'my way or the highway,;"
  • Continuous learner

Haslam said there's subtle differences in the type of leader a coach needs to be as compared to a general manager, but the rest of the attributes are applicable to both.

5. A couple other personnel notes

Haslam said DePodesta's title and role with the organization won't change after the search process is complete for both positions.

"Paul's job will stay exactly the same as it is now. He is in charge of strategy. He reports to ownership. Nothing will change," Haslam said. "He will do everything he can to support the GM and the head coach."

Assistant general manager Eliot Wolf also will remain with the team, Haslam said. Wolf, who worked in Green Bay before coming to Cleveland last year, spoke with McCarthy during the former coach's interview, Haslam said.