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Owner Jimmy Haslam focused on Cleveland Browns' ultimate goal

There's a sense of normalcy for Jimmy Haslam as he enters his third full season as the Cleveland Browns' owner, but satisfaction awaits.

There's been progress on the to-do list he assembled when he took over operations of the team midway through the 2012 season, but Haslam remains hungry to check off the biggest box remaining.

"I think you are always anxious. I worry about getting better," Haslam said Saturday after the Browns' third training camp practice. "We got better last year. We went from winning four games to seven games. I can assure you nobody in this building is happy winning seven games. At the same time, we are realistic that it takes time to build a good football team.

"The ultimate goal is winning and until we consistently win in our division, none of us, including me, are going to be happy. We understand that we have a long way to go there."

What gives Haslam the most confidence his goal will be accomplished in the near future are the coach and general manager he tapped to turn the Browns' record around in early 2014.

Throughout his press conference Saturday, Haslam praised the work of coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer and expressed his commitment to them as integral members of the organization moving forward in 2015 and beyond.

"They're quality people, smart, work hard and have been around football all of their lives," Haslam said. "If I had said this time last year we were going to be 7-9, you all would have said that's pretty good. The problem is, we lost our last five and we get that and understand that. We're not pleased with it, I don't want to say that. At the same time, I think it's unfair to say you have to win X amount of games because injuries happen, schedules are harder-easier than you think. It's a tough league. You have to look at the body of work over a period of time.

"I feel good about where we are versus two years ago or even a year ago."

In his praise of Farmer, Haslam cited the general manager's obsession with football, saying he was "absorbed" with it and "absorbed with winning." With Pettine, Haslam said he's received high marks about his coach from college coaches, professional coaches, acquaintances and even people he doesn't know well at all.

Though the end of the 2014 season sticks with Haslam in a negative way because of the team's five consecutive losses, the gritty way it ended in Baltimore serves as a symbol for why he feels so confident with Pettine as his head coach.

"I think NFL coaches have to get their players to play hard all year. It's a grind. We're here on August 1 and we'll be talking again on January 3. That's a long time from now. People get hurt, things happened and you're under a lot of criticism," Haslam said. "I think the testimony to Pett is we go into Baltimore 7-8, Connor Shaw playing QB and a lot of people hurt. We lost the game but we're ahead 10-6 going into the fourth quarter and the guys played their tails off. I think that's what head coaches have to do and I think Pett did a great job with that."

Haslam said he has "no doubt" the Browns are a better team than they were at this time last year. In particular, he said the team has more "football players" on the offensive and defensive lines, a point of emphasis both Farmer and Pettine have stressed throughout the offseason. The team's recent haul of 12 draft picks also encourage the owner about the ongoing solidification of the team's foundation.

It's the next, all-important step in the process that continues to drive Haslam as Cleveland's owner: Building and maintaining a consistent winning football team.

"I think we have the right people in place to over a period of time be successful," Haslam said. "We're clearly focused on doing that."

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