The Cleveland Browns have tried everything in the 13 seasons since the expansion year of 1999 with the exception of a new owner.
That changed in early August when James Haslam III became majority owner, pending NFL approval. Once Haslam receives the keys to the operation, it will end the Lerner era of ownership, which included almost four years with businessman Alfred in charge and the next nine with his son Randy at the helm.
Haslam might find out this season what the Lerners came to understand, which is to say it's not easy building a winning franchise. With 15 rookies on the 53-player roster, the Browns can expect to hit many rough spots.
Now that coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert have made the final cuts, Shurmur can begin preparations for the season opener Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Following is a breakdown of the roster:
SPOTLIGHT: Is on Little, who has no problem getting open. Catching the ball is another thing. He led the NFL in drops last season. That can't happen again.
TIGHT ENDS: Alex Smith, Benjamin Watson and Jordan Cameron.
COMMENT: Entering camp the guess was that four tight ends would be kept, but strength at other position areas made it necessary to go with three. Cameron looks to have made major strides from his rookie season. Watson will begin the season as the starter, but health concerns never go away. He's a concussion away from ending his career. Smith made the roster because of his blocking skills. Evan Moore was a surprise cut. He didn't make enough plays last season and is a weak blocker.
SPOTLIGHT: Is on Cameron. He bulked up considerably and, as an ex-basketball player, is athletic. He did drop a few passes in camp.
RUNNING BACKS: Montario Hardesty, Chris Ogbonnaya, Brandon Jackson, Trent Richardson and Owen Marecic.
COMMENT: Richardson missed most of camp and all four preseason games after undergoing surgery to remove a loose particle from his left knee. He should return to practice this week and might be ready for the opener. Hardesty is the backup, but he fumbled twice in the preseason. Jackson actually looked better than Hardesty. Shurmur will have to find a way to use Jackson. Marecic needs to improve as a lead blocker and stay healthy. He finished last season on injured-reserve after suffering a second concussion.
SPOTLIGHT: Is on Richardson. He was the third pick in the draft. Much of the offense will go though him. It's that simple.
QUARTERBACKS: Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy and Thaddeus Lewis.
COMMENT: There was never a doubt that Weeden would be the starter. He'll be 29 in October and was the 22nd pick in the draft. There's no reason to wait for him to develop. McCoy edged Seneca Wallace for the backup spot despite being inconsistent throughout camp. After losing the starting job to Weeden, you have to wonder if McCoy is happy in Cleveland.
SPOTLIGHT: Is on Weeden. Many quarterbacks have tried and failed since 1999. Weeden has a big-time right arm and isn't afraid to go downfield, which hasn't been seen in Cleveland for years. He'll make mistakes. Will he grow from them?
DEFENSIVE LINE: Ahtyba Rubin, Billy Winn, Frostee Rucker, John Hughes, Juqua Parker, Emmanuel Stephens, Ishmaa'ily Kitchen and Jabaal Sheard.
COMMENT: Heckert has kept busy retooling this group. Rucker and Parker arrived in free agency. Winn and Hughes are draft choices. Kitchen was claimed off waivers last Saturday. Rubin and Sheard are the stalwarts. Rubin has developed into one of the better one-gap tackles in the league. Sheard had 8.5 sacks and a bunch of pressures last season. Phil Taylor's absence for at least half the season with a pectoral injury opens the door for Winn and Hughes to get plenty of time on the inside. Hughes will likely start next to Rubin. He didn't seem overmatched in the preseason. Rucker is an upgrade over Jayme Mitchell.
SPOTLIGHT: Is on Hughes. Few people expect him to perform like Taylor, who was a first-round draft choice last year, but why not? He's actually looked better than Taylor did at this time last year.
LINEBACKERS: L.J. Fort, Craig Robertson, D'Qwell Jackson, Kaluka Maiava, James-Michael Johnson and Tank Carder.
COMMENT: Not much front-line talent and very little quality of depth. Now you know what tops the list of needs in the next offseason. Missing as of now is Scott Fujita, who's appealing a three-game suspension. Chris Gocong tore an Achilles' tendon early in camp and is lost for the season. Jackson needs to have another big year and Maiava has to step up in place of Gocong. Johnson, a fourth-round pick, will see considerable action. He has speed and versatility, but he might need time to bulk up.
SPOTLIGHT: Is on Johnson. He'll be pressed into action early if Fujita's suspension isn't overturned. It's a big jump from the University of Nevada to the NFL.
SECONDARY: Dimitri Patterson, Buster Skrine, Joe Haden, Sheldon Brown, Trevin Wade, Eric Hagg, Usama Young, Johnson Bademosi, Tashaun Gipson, Ray Ventrone and T.J. Ward.
COMMENT: Eleven is plenty to keep but it's necessary if Haden is suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy and Patterson misses time with an ankle injury. Hagg is new to the starting lineup after finishing strong last season as a rookie. Ward is the enforcer and Haden is the best cover player. Skrine will handle the nickel role but he can also play on the outside.
SPOTLIGHT: Is on Brown. Shurmur says Brown hasn't lost a step at age 33. That remains to be seen.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Phil Dawson, Reggie Hodges and Christian Yount.
COMMENT: Dawson seems to be getting better as a kicker at 37. Hodges returns as the punter after missing last season with an Achilles' injury. Yount filled in well when Ryan Pontbriand mysteriously forgot how to long snap last season.