The first thing Browns coach Hue Jackson and new general manager John Dorsey discussed Friday morning wasn't the state of Cleveland's young roster. It wasn't a frustrating record over the past two seasons. And it wasn't their similar philosophies in how to build a football team.
"I think what's more important is vision," Jackson said. "What do we want to be? What do we want this organization to be like, play like, look like as we move forward and make sure that we get aligned together as fast as we can."
Dorsey, who officially replaced Sashi Brown late Thursday, will work with Jackson, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta (who will remain with the club for a third season) to turn around a franchise that has lost 27 of its last 28 games. In order to do that, both Jackson and Dorsey — who spoke separately with the news media Friday — said they must be on the same page.
By their own admission, Jackson and Dorsey — who spent the past four seasons with the Chiefs and, before that, more than a decade with the Packers — don't have much of a past together. Their paths haven't crossed much throughout the NFL. They said none of that matters.
"I think the most important part of that is because of where he comes from. He's a football lifer is what he is. That's all I've known," Jackson said.
"So the fact that I was able to talk to people firsthand who I know who have worked with him that I trust in this business made me feel really comfortable that way. I think that's what it is all about. I think people know my personality pretty well, know his personality pretty well, we want to see if it mixes. Through conversations, I felt very comfortable with that."
Dorsey applied a similar approach before coming to Cleveland.
"(Hue) has been in the league a long time. He and I have many, we don't know each other very well, but we've begun to establish that relationship and I know just being around him briefly the time that I have been around him, I'm excited," he said. "Plus, the people that I know and he knows, all of the people I talk to about Hue, they love Hue. They say, 'You two guys are going to work wonderfully together,' and I'm excited about that."
Jackson said there's also a certain advantage having Dorsey in the building now as compared to the end of the season. With an eye toward the future, the Browns are armed with five picks in the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. That could be a pivotal moment for a team looking to fill holes and answer questions — including at quarterback — on both sides of the ball.
"I think what's good for him is that he gets to see what the process has been, who our players are, how we go about practice and really see them in real time as opposed to just watching them on videotape," Jackson said. "I'm sure we will do that again too when this is all over. To really see our players, feel our players and be around them, know who they are, be able to see our process that was here in the past from a scouting department process, I think all of that's really important because he'll get to see that these last four games and get a true feel of what it's that we're looking for as we move forward."
Dorsey, meanwhile, said he's taken notice of how the Browns play for Jackson despite an 0-12 record. "I just like the way the team plays. They play hard, and I like a team that plays hard," he said. "To me, it symbolizes the AFC North. You have to play hard."
Upon their first formal meeting Friday, Jackson had Dorsey address the team. All parties involved hope it was the first step toward a brighter future.
"We have a lot of the same beliefs football-wise and I think that's important," Jackson said, "but we have to make sure that we continue to dig into all of that and vet all of that out and make sure that we know exactly what it's so that we can make that a reality."