Sashi Brown hasn't liked the results of the first four weeks of the season, but the executive vice president of football operations stressed he and those closest to him in the Browns' core group of decision-makers won't overreact.
Brown believes the Browns roster, as currently constructed, has its best football ahead of it, both in the short- and long-term future.
"We are well aware of how difficult our division is, but we know we can play better and will," Brown said. "At the same time, I think for us, to be honest, it is something that is going to be difficult to measure week in and week out because some of our players' performances are going to go up and down as they are developing. We have a young roster. The guys are working their tails off."
Even through the losses, Brown has liked what he's seen from Hue Jackson and his coaching staff as they work with the NFL's youngest roster. Individual development is key moving forward as the Browns look to construct a roster that is truly built through the draft.
There's been some pain throughout the process, though, and it's come in the form of lopsided losses and injuries during the first quarter of the season.
Cleveland played last week without its top draft picks from 2015 (DL Danny Shelton) 2016 (WR Corey Coleman) and 2017 (DL Myles Garrett) and its top trade acquisition/signing (LB Jamie Collins). The Browns lost 31-7 in a game that saw Cleveland fall in an early hole and never recover.
Brown stressed "none of those are excuses" because the NFL is unforgiving week in and week out. With the potential return of a couple of those key players Sunday against the Jets, the Browns have another opportunity to snap their winless start to the season -- but nothing will be handed to them.
"At the end of the day, no one is going to wait for us to get healthy," Brown said. "No one is going to wait for us to be consistent in our performance."
This was never supposed to be easy, but Brown stressed he was disappointed for the team's loyal fans and the overall organization who have endured the 1-19 performance since the start of 2016. The commitment to the plan hasn't wavered in the face of it.
"We are committed to turning this thing around. We are not shying away from what our record is. At the same time, we are determined and resilient about where we are headed," Brown said. "We do see some of the progress being made on the field. It is not good enough yet. We are not satisfied by any stretch, but both Hue and I are really realistic about where we were and where we are and where we are going. We are committed to that, good open communication throughout, so no different than what we have had from Day 1."
Brown said he'll be disappointed if the team doesn't experience a turnaround over the next 12. "We want to win all 12," he said, and the team will prepare with the mindset to win all of them.
"We are always going to be focused on the underlying progress, how some of our players are coming together and what those losses look like," Brown said. "We are disappointed so far."