As I sometimes like to do, I like to help the Browns communicate with the fans. Sometimes I get chided for caring so much about what the Browns say because all that really matters to a lot of you is “what they do.” Usually that means all they have to do is win more football games. While that may be kind of true, I am of the belief that winning on the field and perfection in fan communication aren’t mutually exclusive. That being said, here’s what I think the Browns could have said about Phil Dawson’s departure.
I’ll start with what the Browns did say, which was a nice start.
“We want to thank Phil for all of his years of service to the Cleveland Browns. He accomplished a great deal in his time here on the field, as a team leader and in the community. We know how much Phil meant to our organization and our fans, and he will always hold a special place in our franchise’s history and with the city of Cleveland. We want to wish Phil and his family the best of success in San Francisco.”
Then when someone got a chance to talk to Joe Banner he could have said something like this.
“As for the Browns moving forward, we are going to undertake a process at the kicker position in the same manner we have player acquisition in other areas. We aren’t looking for one year fixes. This isn’t to say that Phil Dawson won’t be a great kicker for years to come, but he’s at a point in his career where it’s harder to justify a multi-year deal for him and for us. I don’t want to get into specifics of our talks with Phil Dawson, but make no mistake he’s one of the best kickers in Cleveland Browns history. It’s never easy to say goodbye to a fan favorite, but at least he’s not playing in the division, right?
Anyway, either through free agency or the draft we will find talented players who can potentially be a part of this Browns team for a longer period of time. Hopefully we can find a guy who will kick for us for the next 14 years like Phil Dawson did the last 14. Having any player perform at the level Phil did for 14 years is a luxury for any team. So that’s what we’re looking for.”
And that’s it. I don’t think the Browns needed to open up the “black box” of secrecy necessarily. They say that they like Phil, but at this phase of the phranchise franchise they’re looking for a guy who will be here for more than just a year at a time as he approaches 40 years of age. I know that won’t even satisfy everyone, but it’s an answer that relies on some logic and provides a hint of detail into the process of building the roster without sacrificing any “trade secrets.”
All that being said, and even with some dissatisfaction over the Phil Dawson signing, I think this new Browns organization is easily out-performing the last one in terms of communication and openness. But I’m still here to help.