The Greater Cleveland Sports Awards were held Thursday night at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel Grand Ballroom. Sadly, there are no reports about Dawgs By Nature getting mentioned this year -- if only Erin Andrews were there! While many awards were handed out to current and former athletes affiliated with the city (i.e. Doug Dieken was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award), the interesting part for Browns fans came when reporters got to interview Jimmy Haslam.
About two minutes of Haslam answering questions can be found at this video over at Cleveland.com. I tried to transcribe (very loosely, as it is difficult to hear) part of the video, so here are some notes on what Haslam said:
Dinner With the Staff, Meeting Norv: "I think Chud's off to a great start. We had an opportunity to have dinner last night with Chud, and with Norv Turner, who I had never had the opportunity to meet . He's real legendary in terms of pro football with his offense and playcalling ability. And also Ray Horton, who of course actually interviewed for Chud's job. I think he's put together a tremendous staff. We're all very excited to have the staff complete and I think it's going to be a wonderful year."
Defending the Lombardi Hire: "I think I said this at the press conference that Michael [Lombardi] is knowledgeable, passionate, and one of the harder working guys I've seen. We feel very fortunate to have Michael as a part of our team. His job is what you said, to bring players here to Cleveland and I will tell you this, he was here at 5:00 AM this morning [preparing]."
Up-Temp Offensive Style: "Chud and I were just talking at dinner [about the offense]. I think it'll be up-tempo. He's going to put our players in position to make plays, and he's going to throw the ball down the field. You win in the NFL by scoring points and by throwing deep and making long plays. It's really hard to drive down the field and get four or five yards a play, you have to have some big plays, and I think his offense does that."
Players Getting Back in the Mix: "The energy and intensity level and enthusiasm is back. The players are coming back; Trent [Richardson] was back yesterday and in today and D'Qwell's been back. We feel really good about where we are."
That was where the video cut off. According to the local media, there were also a few other big topics that Haslam touched on, including the defense and a couple of the Browns' special teams free agents:
#Browns owner Jimmy Haslam raved about new DC Ray Horton, said he will attack, blitz. Expects switch to 3-4 scheme.— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) January 25, 2013
Haslam on Dawson: "The kind of people we want here in Cleveland, people who are great on and off the field, and Phil’s that kind of guy."— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) January 25, 2013
Haslam said he doesn't know a harder player in NFL than Josh Cribbs; no committal though about Cribbs' or Phil Dawson's future— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) January 25, 2013
Asked Haslam about concerns over blowing up roster & starting from scratch; admitted changes likely but goal is to build upon core here— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) January 25, 2013
A lot of the local reporters seemed to feel that Haslam alluded to the team probably switching to the 3-4 defense, but there could still be a hybrid type of thing involved. We should know a lot more about the defense next week, as it was revealed that defensive coordinator Ray Horton will have his opening press conference on Tuesday, January 29th.