Special teams star Joshua Cribbs is hopeful a strong second half by the Browns could save the jobs of the coaching staff and front office and avoid another rebuilding project.
The Browns resume their season Sunday against the Cowboys in Dallas. They have to go 5-2 to avoid their fifth straight season of double-digit losses.
Cribbs, the longest tenured Brown with the exception of Phil Dawson (1999), was a rookie in 2005 the same year Romeo Crennel was a first-year head coach. Cribbs outlived Crennel, two years of Eric Mangini and he is in his second year with Pat Shurmur.
Mike Holmgren hired Shurmur in 2010 and might be patient if he were still in charge. But Holmgren is on his way out as president. Joe Banner is the CEO under new owner Jimmy Haslam, and he plans to wait until the end of the season to decide who stays and who goes.
"(The possibility of another coaching change) disappoints us," Cribbs said of the players. "It disappoints me all the time. It's unfortunate, but it's the way this business works. It's a business, even though we play it as a game. If we don't win, there will be change. It's inevitable. Change throughout everywhere -- top, bottom, everywhere, organizationally."
The Browns are 40-81 since Cribbs made the roster as an undrafted rookie in 2005. In all that time the only winning season he experienced was 2007 when the Browns were 10-6. That was sandwiched inside two 4-12 seasons.
Cribbs has played with quarterbacks Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Jake Delhomme, Colt McCoy, and now Brandon Weeden as chosen starters plus backups Ken Dorsey and Seneca Wallace who started games because of injury. Seven season-opening starting quarterbacks in eight years is not a recipe for winning as Cribbs sees it. If Banner makes changes at general manager and head coach the new people in charge could decide Weeden isn't the answer.
"I think the reason we haven't been winning is constant turnover," Cribbs said. "You have constant turnover in players. You have constant turnover in coaches when you don't win. If we don't win, there's going to be more turnover in players and coaches.
"Guys who have been here long, myself and Phil, we see that. Different guys come here, you can't get tight knit. It's hard to have a type of consistency with anything when you have so much change. So hopefully somebody comes and just makes it constant so we can get something started."
Shurmur and Haslam meet frequently. They chat at practice and communicate after a game. Haslam is very demonstrative and his body language shows when he is not pleased, but Shurmur said Haslam does not second-guess him in their meetings.
"We talk in general teams, big picture," Shurmur said. "What I sense in my conversations with Jimmy is his passion for making this thing right and we all know that that means.
"We're all trying to get the black and white, the hard numbers right, but I think each situation is different. Some organizations have further to go to build a consistent winner. Sometimes there are not comparisons and I think that's what we all want to do.
"Now, how everybody looks at it and how we paint that into the picture of the hard numbers, that's for somebody else to decide. I've just got to keep driving the team and fighting to get victories and that's my little world."