BEREA, Ohio - With Browns training camp set to kick off in just over 24 hours, Browns C.E.O. Joe Banner conducted his pre training camp meeting with the media on Wednesday morning at the teams practice facility in Berea.
As every NFL team is at this time of the year, Banner is very optimistic about the upcoming season for the Browns as he enters his first training camp with the organization.
"It's the effort, quality of the coaching staff, the caliber of some of the people we have added," Banner said. "I think it starts in the minicamps, there's a real pace and energy and work ethic that I think makes a difference. I think what the coaches have kind of instilled at this point so of that is cultural, so of it's scheme, I think those are the things that will help us step forward."
One of the big questions as always here in Browns town is the quarterback position. Banner and his staff made significant changes with the additions of Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer and the departures of Colt McCoy and Thaddeus Lewis. One thing remains the same under center, Brandon Weeden is the starter and Banner hopes Weeden takes significant steps forward in his second year.
"We're excited by the fact that he's come in, he's worked real hard and done everything they've asked him to do," Banner said. "He gotten a chance to progress on the mental aspect of the position so I think everybody's encouraged by how hard he is working how bad he wants to do well."
Banner and his staff were very busy this offseason with the drafting of Barkevious Mingo, Leon McFadden, Armonty Bryant and others to go along with the signings of Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant in free agency. Banner feels that the Browns are where they thought they would be with training camp beginning on Thursday.
"I'm comfortable, I think it's been overlooked a little, you know we had two free agents that a lot of teams in the league were interested in and the fact they chose to come here is an important message to our team and an important message around the league," Banner said. "I think the fact that we signed John Greco yesterday don't sign players early unless they are optimistic about where they are and it's a place they want to be. So I think those things kind of feed on themselves and if you want to be a winning organization you want to be a place that players are choosing to come to, i think it's a very good sign of how the league is kind of adjusting their thinking about what it would be to come and play here and coach here. It will helps us out in the long run."
Then there is the on-going issue involving owner Jimmy Haslam and his company Pilot Flying J. While everything continues to play itself out, it hasn't impacted the Browns on a day-to-day basis.
"It really hasn't affected us at all," Banner said. "We have a team that we've put together of really good people. Jimmy really had a vision around creating a phenomenal fan experience and being focused on winning as many games as we can. We're free and clear to do all of that, nothing that's happened has any impact on our ability to do that or frankly given us any reason not to be successful with doing that. We're operating the team exactly as we would whether this had happened or not. Jimmy is here and supportive and a huge asset to us. He's not going to sell the team."
So with camp now just a day away what is Banner's expectations for the 2013 season. While he wouldn't give a win total, Banner hopes everything that has been put in place since the spring turn into positive results on Sunday's this fall.
"My focus is really on wanting to see the shift of the culture, the effort, wanting to see the schemes that the coaches are putting in start to take hold and the players get better as the season goes," Banner said. "Seeing the young players develop and hoping they're what they all could be. I think if we see those things we'll feel good that we are on the right track."
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