Way­ward fran­chise’s man­age­ment shuf­fle won’t in­clude head coach’s dis­missal

Windsor Star - - SPORTS - JOHN KRYK [email protected] Twit­ter: @JohnKryk

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 .

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