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Browns VP upbeat, says team committed to becoming playoff contender

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BEREA, Ohio -- An 0-4 start does not mean the Cleveland Browns cannot win in 2017, but the team remains firmly committed to a long-term rebuild with youth, said vice president of football operations Sashi Brown on Wednesday.

"We're committed to continuing to work toward building this roster and becoming a perennial playoff team, and we're on the way toward that," Brown said.

Brown did his best to project confidence and belief, but he had to do so against the backdrop of an 0-4 start this season and an overall 1-19 record since he and Hue Jackson took over the team before the start of the 2016 season.

Brown said he and Jackson continue to work well together, but admitted the teams' roster build is not complete "by any stretch."

"And I don't know if any team's ever is," Brown said. "But we certainly have made some progress on the field. We're seeing that with some of the young guys that are playing and making plays for us."

In explaining where the Browns are as a team in what owner Jimmy Haslam called a "multiyear rebuild," Brown said the team would "not overreact to four games" but would measure progress incrementally.

"We are always going to be focused on the underlying progress, how some of our players are coming together, what those losses look like," Brown said.

Since an overtime win in Baltimore early in the 2015 season, the Browns have gone 2-29, which matches the worst 31-game stretch in NFL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The way the 2015 team ended -- 10 losses in 11 games -- led to Haslam rebuilding his front office behind Brown choosing players and Jackson handling the team on the field.

"Growth and development of a roster is not going to happen overnight," Brown said. "I think you've seen more than one team try that unsuccessfully. We're committed.

"As I told you from Day 1, we're not going to stray just because we have some challenges early on or face some adversity early on."

New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown, who spent the previous two seasons in Cleveland, said on a Tuesday conference call that he doesn't think it's fair to judge the coach or players until three or four years have passed in this system.

"I guess I look at it like I've remodeled a house before and I guess I judged the speed of the remodel on how much I asked him to do, how far I asked him to take it back," McCown said. "Are you taking it down to the foundation? Are you taking it down to the studs? Are you just knocking a wall out?

"I guess the same applies here, how much did you really kind of reset? If you view that, if it was a hard reset, then if you really kind of stripped everything away, it's hard to say anything other than three years to me before you really can start to begin to evaluate where you're at."

He added that the Browns have to be steadfast in sticking with the approach that long as well.

"If you don't understand that and you think that all of a sudden it's Week 9 of Year 2 we should snap our fingers and see a big improvement, I think that's a wrong mindset," McCown said. "I think you're going to be disappointed and then this process is going to be inevitable. You're going to keep rolling over and keep rolling over."