BROWNS OWNER DUMPS TEAM’S ANALYTICAL GURU
Wayward franchise’s management shuffle won’t include head coach’s dismissal
Whatever, and however many reasons Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam had for retaining executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown, the reason to fire him trumped everything.
That is, the complete failure of Brown and his Analytics Andys to make anything but epic-failure decisions at the quarterback position.
Browns principal owner Jimmy Haslam fired Brown on Thursday. ESPN reported that Brown’s analytics-minded acolytes soon will join him as exBrowns employees. Presumably that means some or all of chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, VP of player personnel Andrew Berry, VP of football operations Phil Dangerfield and VP of player personnel Kev Kovash.
And what of the head coach, whose record over the past two seasons so far is 1-27 (.036)?
“Hue Jackson will remain our coach and will return for the 2018 season,” Haslam said in a statement. “We feel it is necessary to take significant steps to strengthen our personnel department. We have begun the process of having productive conversations regarding leadership of our football operations and will provide further updates when appropriate.”
Later in the evening, the Browns announced the hiring of former Kansas City Chiefs GM John Dorsey as their new general manager
To be fair, Brown’s and DePodesta’s newfangled brand of ‘Moneyball’ style NFL front-office planning and decision-making wasn’t all bad.
The trade in March to take Brock Osweiler and the last three years of his four-year, $72-million contract off the hands of the Houston Texans was a brilliant stroke of creativity. The Browns made the Texans ‘pay’ for the financial and roster inconvenience by coughing up a secondround 2018 draft pick — the real prize of the deal — for virtually nothing in return. The Browns had oodles of cap space to make such a novel transaction.
Acquiring a warehouse full of draft picks quickly became the specialty of Brown and his lieutenants, starting in 2016. But in so doing, they wound up punting the realistic expectation of victory in any week to such an unforgivable extent that, despite making some wise draft selections and free-agent signings early this year, players still can’t see the top of the dark, dank cavern out of which they’re desperately trying to climb.
Brown and his crew didn’t have to excavate so deep. Especially with regard to their quarterbacks. Indeed, if you deliberately tried to pack so many bad QB decisions into a two-year window, you wouldn’t and couldn’t fail this epically.
Brown, the ninth GM to come and go since the franchise’s expansion rebirth in 1999, said the following in a statement released by the club a few hours after his firing.
“I want this to be real and clear, the way I know Cleveland and Browns fans can appreciate: Our win-loss record since I became executive vice-president isn’t going to cut it.
“We worked hard. I am so grateful to the people I worked with. We embarked on a mission to rebuild the Browns for longterm, sustainable success. We were committed and aggressive in our approach, even if unorthodox at times. We made dramatic changes and put in place a foundation on which championships can be built.
“Obviously, the Browns have not yet achieved the turnaround we wanted. I know that turnaround is coming. And when (it) happens, wherever I am, I will smile — more than a little bittersweetly — and say, to myself, ‘Go Browns!’” SURGERY FOR SHAZIER: In an ominous statement, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced Thursday that linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent surgery Wednesday night on the spine he injured in Monday night’s game at Cincinnati, while making a tackle with his head down. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center neurosurgeons “performed spinal stabilization surgery,” the Steelers said without elaboration.
Shazier remains in hospital. He appeared to have no movement below the waist as he lay on the field, before carefully being carted off.
NFL Network reported that Shazier faces months of recovery.
Renowned former NFL team doctor David Chao wrote that this specific surgery means “Shazier’s spine was unstable and involved bone, ligament and/ or disc disruption” and that the surgery “was almost certainly to prevent future damage to the spinal cord.
“It was likely a fusion surgery with rods, screws and/or metal cage with bone graft to fuse the unstable spine segment. Although football is not at the forefront of anyone’s thoughts now, this surgery itself does not rule Shazier out from football in the future. But without a doubt he is done for the season. Fusion takes 4-6 months for recovery,’’ wrote Chao.
“The key is still the spinal cord and nerves. Are they working or not? Is there feeling and movement? Has there been early progress?” EXTRA POINTS: Buffalo CB Tre’Davious White is out of concussion protocol, and on Wednesday said New England TE Rob Gronkowski’s one-game suspension without pay for his egregious hit on him is “a joke,” and that “he could have broken my neck” … NBC again will use its “SkyCam” — which shows action from above and directly behind — for Sunday night’s Baltimore at Pittsburgh game.
Sashi Brown, left, was relieved of his duties as vice president of football operations by owner Jimmy Haslam .