Ray Farmer arrived at his press conference unsurprised by what didn't occur on this particular Tuesday and disappointed by what has occurred through the first half of the Browns' season.
The Browns, like the vast majority of NFL teams, did not make any deals before Tuesday's 4 p.m. trade deadline. Cleveland didn't actively shop any of its players, Farmer said, but there were plenty of conversations typical for this point in the schedule.
Ultimately, none resonated, and the Browns roster will be the same as it was Sunday for Thursday night's primetime showdown with the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals.
"Either way it goes, until something is imminent or until a decision is made or a transaction is consummated, it's all just fuel and fodder behind the scenes," said Farmer, who did not comment specifically on any players rumored in potential trades. "Sometimes, they're serious conversations. Sometimes, those conversations are very innocuous and they amount to nothing. From my vantage point, we had some conversations, and at the end of the day, they all resonated in the same thing – nothing.
"I think that's really the job. That's part of my job is when people call and make offers and suggest what they would like to have, see or have done, then it is my job to listen and start to think about is that a benefit to the Browns and in those conversations those are the ones we take a little more serious and we have our internal conversations about."
The reality Farmer and the Browns face entering the second half of the season is not what they envisioned when the year kicked off in New York against the Jets. Cleveland is 2-6 and has lost three consecutive games entering a pivotal stretch of four consecutive contests against divisional opponents.
Farmer is encouraged by some facets of what he's seen both on and off the field but frustrated by the end result, the bottom line in what he and Pettine often call a "bottom-line business."
"From my vantage point, we definitely haven't achieved the mark that we want. We play in a league where winning is of the utmost (importance), and competition and competing doesn't mean a lot at the end of the day if you don't consummate it with Ws, and we've fallen short of that," Farmer said. "Nevertheless, we feel good about the fact that our guys have competed, played well and hard through games. They're committed to winning. They're committed to staying here and being a part of the Cleveland Browns.
"This league is about winning. It is no secret. When you don't win, it is no fun. It is not like we are having fun sitting in here because we are 2-6. That is not the case."
Farmer said he understands the impatience of the fans who have loyally supported the team through numerous losing seasons since the franchise returned in 1999. He joked that part of him wished he could suit up in pads himself as the Browns look to rebound in the second half of the season.
"The reality is that I think we are doing a lot of good things. We just have to find a way to win," Farmer said. "It sounds corny. It sounds cliché. It sounds like what someone else may have said when they sat up here and the same thing transpired eight, nine or 10 years ago or whatever the case might have been. The reality is that there are good football players on this football team. We just have to find ways to push it over. Push over the line."
Asked how the Browns could do just that, Farmer said "we continue to do exactly what we have done, which is work hard, put in the effort the time and the energy, unearth better players, unearth better opportunities for our guys and try to grow it as we see fit."
"With no risk comes no reward. It doesn't mean we are going to be without bumps in the road," Farmer said. "It doesn't mean we aren't going to struggle. There are bumps. There are turns. It comes down to where inevitably we have to find a way to write the right end to the movie. That is something we are going to have to focus on and bring to fruition on our own."