One day after the Browns traded Austin Corbett, and three days after the Browns fell to 2-4 in their first six weeks of the 2019 season, general manager John Dorsey met with reporters.
His message, like head coach Freddie Kitchens' two days earlier, was fairly simple: Sure, no one in the building is excited about or happy with winning just two of the Browns' first six games. But there's a lot of time left to turn things around.
Just ask last season's Indianapolis Colts. Or the 2015 Kansas City Chiefs. Or the 2014 Seattle Seahawks.
Each of those teams started their season 3-3 or worse and finished with at least nine wins. Last season's Colts went from a dreadful 1-5 start to five straight wins, a close loss to Jacksonville in Week 13, and then five more straight wins (including a Wild Card win over division rival Houston) before falling to the Chiefs in the Divisional round. The 2015 Chiefs — of which Dorsey was general manager — did something similar, starting 1-5 and rattling off 11 straight wins before falling to New England in the Divisional round. The 2014 Seahawks started 3-1, lost two straight, then lost just once more in their final 10 games of the regular season.
Those Seahawks ended up 1 yard from a second-straight Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLIX.
"Slowly but surely, these guys are coming together. When I say 10 games are left, that is a lot of football," Dorsey said. "I have been on three different teams. I have been in NFL football for three decades. I can remember as a player in like 1984, we started the season at 0-7, but we wound up somewhere like 7-9 or something like that. In 1992 – I think it was (former NFL head coach Mike) Holmgren's first year on that team – they were 2-5 but they wound up with a winning record.
"In Kansas City in 2015, I want to say we were 1-5 and we ran 10 straight and then we eventually made it to the playoffs. Everybody within the building has to understand it is one of those moments where you have to reflect to attention to detail and move this thing forward with a sense of urgency, and that is what we are going to do."
Dorsey mentioned he'd prefer to make a full mid-season evaluation and speak with reporters after eight games, but since the bye week arrived in Week 7 for the Browns this season, he'd be forced to do so now. Perhaps it's better sooner than later, allowing for a longer runway for a jump start — and for the Browns to get rolling with consecutive victories.
After all, the important games — the ones against their AFC North rivals — still remain ahead.
"It gives the players a chance to regroup and make that push on the back end of the 10-game schedule," Dorsey said of the bye. "With that being said, the facts are what? We are 2-1 in the AFC, we are 1-0 in the AFC North and we are 0-3 in the NFC. The positive here is that we have five home games, and we have divisional games. There is a lot of football to be played here. I know from personal experiences that I have been on teams that have had worse starts than this, and guess what? They played really good at the back end of the season."
It has been done before, but it will require the players to buy into the team concept fully, which is what Kitchens stressed earlier in the week. It will also require what Dorsey repeatedly stressed Wednesday, especially in relation to his offensive line: consistency.
And finally, it might require some change for the better. That is always possible, of course, but was especially intriguing Wednesday.
"We will do what is best for the Cleveland Browns organization," Dorsey said. "We will do extensive research. We will make a million phone calls. If we think we can improve a position, regardless of what that position is, we will go about it if we think it is the right fit for the Cleveland Browns."
Check out photos of the Browns working during their bye week by team photographer Matt Starkey