2016 Browns: RG3 Gets on the Sashi Train

Bowlerman9

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Maybe he can statistically show how shitty the Browns have been since 1999? Wouldn't take much analysis .....

This may be a weirder hire than Amaro becoming the Sox 1st base coach.
 
Dec 21, 2015
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This may be a weirder hire than Amaro becoming the Sox 1st base coach.
But with far more upside than Amaro, of course, because at least we know DePo is smart, thoughtful, data-driven, and open to new ideas. And now has a position where he can dramatically influence the team's future, as opposed to a job description primarily consisting of patting the asses of players who get on base.

Have we ever seen a sport crossover at this level? Excepting ownership situations like Henry and Kroenke, of course. I mean, you've got dual-sport players like Bo Jackson (hell, Michael Jordan getting to AA was pretty damn impressive on its own), but the [Sport] Ops side of the business just seems so incredibly specialized within a sport... man, what a bold bet by the Browns. I mean, if any org ought to take a risk like this, it's the Browns, too - worst case leaves them right where they are, a laughingstock.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Interesting. I had thought Sashi Brown - who was previously general counsel - was also hired as an executive VP of football operations and given control of the roster (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/01/03/haslam-gives-sashi-brown-roster-control-denies-marrone-interview-scheduled/).

Does that mean that Brown answers to DePodesta? Wonder if Brown knew about this when he took the job?

I guess this means the Browns can fire all of their scouts and simply do everything by analytics now.
 

CaptainLaddie

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I kinda like this. What's the worst thing that comes out of this, the Browns have to pick at the top of the first round again? DePo is a smart guy, he's data-driven, he won't do stupid things like trade for Trent Richardson.
 

Super Nomario

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Interesting. I had thought Sashi Brown - who was previously general counsel - was also hired as an executive VP of football operations and given control of the roster (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/01/03/haslam-gives-sashi-brown-roster-control-denies-marrone-interview-scheduled/).

Does that mean that Brown answers to DePodesta? Wonder if Brown knew about this when he took the job?

I guess this means the Browns can fire all of their scouts and simply do everything by analytics now.
This doesn't necessarily mean Brown answers to DePodesta. Most likely they both report to Haslam and we see ongoing attempts by each to influence decision-making and wrest power from each other. I mean, that's how most functioning organizations run, right?
 

Harry Hooper

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Have we ever seen a sport crossover at this level? Excepting ownership situations like Henry and Kroenke, of course. I mean, you've got dual-sport players like Bo Jackson (hell, Michael Jordan getting to AA was pretty damn impressive on its own), but the [Sport] Ops side of the business just seems so incredibly specialized within a sport... man, what a bold bet by the Browns. I mean, if any org ought to take a risk like this, it's the Browns, too - worst case leaves them right where they are, a laughingstock.
Jerry Krause with the NBA and MLB in Chicago? Didn't Ted Turner have the same guy running multiple Atlanta teams?

There was also Bo Schembechler coming from Div. 1 football to running the Detroit Tigers. Not a cheerful example for Browns fans.
 
Dec 21, 2015
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I'll be that guy. What does DePodesta know about Football?
I'm sure that's been asked every time the idea has come up in team executive circles across all major sports. Only, in this case, DePodesta did actually intern in the front office of the short-lived CFL expansion team, the Baltimore Stallions, as a marketer. And besides being a (JV) middle infielder at Harvard, he was also a WR on their '93 football team. His first focus was baseball, but he's not quite starting from zero here.
 

Tyrone Biggums

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I feel sorry for the Cleveland Browns fans...good god. The guy couldn't succeed as a GM I'm sure he'll do just fine running the entire operation for them!!
 

Bowlerman9

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If they ever do a sequel to Draft Day, they could have Jonah Hill reprise the role of Peter Brand.
 

86spike

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I find this fascinating. It could be a huge success or a massive failure and anything in between. And I have no damn idea what to expect.

I love it. Brownstown!!!!
 
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I don't think DePo does something like without having full control of the product. Making a jump like this.... it's hard to imagine he's not getting to be in charge.
Mort (I know, I know) claims his title will be Chief Strategy Officer. He may not have personnel duties other than one-off analytics questions. He may be focused more on marketing, frankly.

 

Moosey

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Being a Browns fan really has been utter shit for so long that this actually just made me laugh. Sure, why the hell not?!?
 

PedroKsBambino

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Management is pretty transferable, and while the sports are different managing athletes is somewhat similar across sports. Building and administering an organization is also pretty transferable. So at some level, I get this. Stan Kasten oversaw teams in different sports effectively, because he was a very good manager; there are other examples if we broaden the aperture a bit. But it's hardly easy to execute, and very much depends on the skill of the individual

One question is how good DePo actually was at either of those things. He failed with the Dodgers, and we have almost no visibility into his success with the Mets (at least, that I am aware of). So, while in theory bringing on an experienced sports exec who can build an organization, implement an anlytics culture, and manage high performers makes sense---I don't know that there's much reason to think they got that guy. If they (say) hired Gregg Popovich I'd find it easier to get why you'd think it might work---he actually has those skills, very clearly.

The second part is that those transferable skills require subject matter experts when they cross industries/segments/organizations. And right now, the Browns don't have them. Of course, if you trust the people who are building things you believe they'll find them, and that's what we'll have to watch for. But it's an essential ingredient and not currently in place, and I suspect will be harder to attract them given the counter-traditional front office and the questionable history in place.
 

joe dokes

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Have we ever seen a sport crossover at this level? Excepting ownership situations like Henry and Kroenke, of course. I mean, you've got dual-sport players like Bo Jackson (hell, Michael Jordan getting to AA was pretty damn impressive on its own), but the [Sport] Ops side of the business just seems so incredibly specialized within a sport... man, what a bold bet by the Browns. I mean, if any org ought to take a risk like this, it's the Browns, too - worst case leaves them right where they are, a laughingstock.

Lou Saban interrupted a 50-year football career to be president of the Yankees for a year or 2 under Steinbrenner in the early 80s. No idea what his actual job was, though.
 

E5 Yaz

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"We are fortunate to bring in Paul, an extremely talented, highly respected sports executive who will add a critical dimension to our front office," Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. "Paul will help members of our player development, high performance and analytics departments maximize their efforts. There are many areas that we have not fully capitalized on that will enhance the growth and performance of our players over time."

DePodesta, who is known as an analytics expert, played both baseball and football in Harvard.


http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2016/1/5/10717024/cleveland-browns-Paul-DePodesta-mets-moneyball
 

Greg29fan

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Lou Saban interrupted a 50-year football career to be president of the Yankees for a year or 2 under Steinbrenner in the early 80s. No idea what his actual job was, though.
He also ran Tampa Bay Downs, a horse racing track, for Steinbrenner.
 

B H Kim

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No idea how he'll do with the Browns (I don't envy anyone having to work for Haslam), but I think it's shortsighted to say that DePodesta failed with the Dodgers. McCourt gave him less than 2 years and his second and final season was completely undermined by injuries. The team he helped to put together made the playoffs in his first season and in three of the four years after he left. If he can be considered to have failed, it's because McCourt gave in to the idiot LA writers who criticized the hiring of "google boy" from day one.
 

Dogman

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I kinda like this. What's the worst thing that comes out of this, the Browns have to pick at the top of the first round again? DePo is a smart guy, he's data-driven, he won't do stupid things like trade for Trent Richardson.

The very first thing I thought of was that Richardson trades and Weeden drafts won't happen here. That's a net positive. Joe Thomas may well stick around given this approach by ownership. Another big positive if he does.
 

PedroKsBambino

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The very first thing I thought of was that Richardson trades and Weeden drafts won't happen here. That's a net positive. Joe Thomas may well stick around given this approach by ownership. Another big positive if he does.
Perhaps, but then again we are all posters on an analytic-oriented discussion board. Is there any reason to think Joe Thomas himself will like this, rather than think its even crazier than Mangini's hiring? I suspect most football-types will see it that way
 

amarshal2

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I think this is going to fail, probably miserably. I'm a DePo supporter in general but I just don't get what he contributes here. Football is not baseball analytically...which I'm sure he understands...but still.

That said, the Browns literally cannot be worse. If you had a blind monkey making their 1st round picks for the last 5 years they would be better off. I'd hate it for any other organization, but it's the Browns, so I kind of like it. I realize I just said this, but they literally cannot, CANNOT get worse at running an NFL organization...why not try something outside the box with a smart guy who can think differently?
 

PedroKsBambino

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I suppose just playing the Simmons role of 'commissioner of common sense' or whatever the title was would help this organization. If someone said at the draft "Manziel can't even pretend to behave in a college town and a highly permissive system, how could he possibly adapt to being a millionaire who people expect to lead a 53 man team at age 22? NFW" it would have helped the Browns tremendously this past year.
 

Dogman

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Perhaps, but then again we are all posters on an analytic-oriented discussion board. Is there any reason to think Joe Thomas himself will like this, rather than think its even crazier than Mangini's hiring? I suspect most football-types will see it that way
No reason other than Thomas may well like the idea of someone not in the traditional football mind mold. Put another way, I read Thomas's comments to mean Cleveland has tried the traditional methods for years and it has not worked, time for a radical approach. I could be way off.
 

amarshal2

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I suppose just playing the Simmons role of 'commissioner of common sense' or whatever the title was would help this organization. If someone said at the draft "Manziel can't even pretend to behave in a college town and a highly permissive system, how could he possibly adapt to being a millionaire who people expect to lead a 53 man team at age 22? NFW" it would have helped the Browns tremendously this past year.
So you're saying the Browns might have hired a guy (guys?) whose primary job function will be to stop the Browns from doing painfully stupid shit? I can get on board with that.

The question remains then, if these guys are the ones who stop the painfully dumb moves and set a general strategy, who makes the day to day moves? Who, at least in theory, makes the smart decisions about individual players? Neither the baseball guy nor the GC should be in that role.
 
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Bowlerman9

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No reason other than Thomas may well like the idea of someone not in the traditional football mind mold. Put another way, I read Thomas's comments to mean Cleveland has tried the traditional methods for years and it has not worked, time for a radical approach. I could be way off.
As a lifelong Browns fan, I see this as much of the same incompetence as before.

In 2005, owner Randy Lerner hired Phil Savage as GM (former assistant GM in Baltimore) and Romeo Crennel as coach (former DC for the Pats). Both reported to the owner. They never got along and blamed each other for the failure of the team (ie: Crennel blamed Savage for a lack of talent; Savage blamed Crennel for not properly using the talent he acquired).

In 2009, Lerner hired Mangini as coach and let him pick his own GM. Untraditional, and failed miserably.

In 2010, Lerner hired Holmgren as the head of football operations. He hired his own GM, but then they decided to keep Mangini after a 5-11 season (after starting 1-11, the Browns won their last four).

In 2011, Holmgren fired Mangini and hired Schurmur. This was the first "traditional" thing they had done in a while: coach reports to GM who reports to President who reports to Owner.

Now that DePo, Sashi Brown, the team president, AND the head coach will report directly to the owner, it seems to me like this is the same mess they have had before that failed miserably. Everytime someone doesnt get what they want, they will run to the owner to complain.
 

PedroKsBambino

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What's so odd is they are doing this piecemeal.

Here's an article from ESPN this morning entitled "Sashi Brown the Key to Browns New Management Structure"

http://espn.go.com/blog/cleveland-browns/post/_/id/17505/sashi-brown-the-key-to-browns-new-management-structure

Now, Browns aren't responsible for how ESPN spins a story...but presumably the writer spoke to Browns sources as part of this (at least the PR team) given what we wrote about roles and motivations.

Yet, before the virtual ink on the article is dry, they have a different structure. Just bizarre.
 

BigPapiLumber Co.

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No real comment on DePodesta, just chiming in to point out that Browns traded Trent Richardson to the Colts for a 1st. They did not trade for him, as some here have suggested. Out of a lot shit moves, that was one of the few good ones.
 

Bowlerman9

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No real comment on DePodesta, just chiming in to point out that Browns traded Trent Richardson to the Colts for a 1st. They did not trade for him, as some here have suggested. Out of a lot shit moves, that was one of the few good ones.
Trading Richardson for a 1st round pick was a brilliant move, sandwiched by the following:
*Trading the 4th pick in the draft AND other picks to move up to #3 to get RIchardson
*Using the acquired pick on Johnny Manziel.
 

E5 Yaz

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Trading Richardson for a 1st round pick was a brilliant move, sandwiched by the following:
*Trading the 4th pick in the draft AND other picks to move up to #3 to get RIchardson
*Using the acquired pick on Johnny Manziel.
Not to mention that they also gave up a third-rounder to move up to get Manziel in that first round

... and, earlier, moved up to draft Justin "Sleeps through meetings" Gilbert
 

luckiestman

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But with far more upside than Amaro, of course, because at least we know DePo is smart, thoughtful, data-driven, and open to new ideas. And now has a position where he can dramatically influence the team's future, as opposed to a job description primarily consisting of patting the asses of players who get on base.

Have we ever seen a sport crossover at this level? Excepting ownership situations like Henry and Kroenke, of course. I mean, you've got dual-sport players like Bo Jackson (hell, Michael Jordan getting to AA was pretty damn impressive on its own), but the [Sport] Ops side of the business just seems so incredibly specialized within a sport... man, what a bold bet by the Browns. I mean, if any org ought to take a risk like this, it's the Browns, too - worst case leaves them right where they are, a laughingstock.

Joe Gibbs as coach of the Redskins and owner and operator of Joe Gibbs Racing in Nascar
 

CaptainLaddie

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No real comment on DePodesta, just chiming in to point out that Browns traded Trent Richardson to the Colts for a 1st. They did not trade for him, as some here have suggested. Out of a lot shit moves, that was one of the few good ones.
I'm aware of this -- I'm just using it as an example of the kind of moves that DePo probably would never make.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Management is pretty transferable, and while the sports are different managing athletes is somewhat similar across sports. Building and administering an organization is also pretty transferable. So at some level, I get this. Stan Kasten oversaw teams in different sports effectively, because he was a very good manager; there are other examples if we broaden the aperture a bit. But it's hardly easy to execute, and very much depends on the skill of the individual

One question is how good DePo actually was at either of those things. He failed with the Dodgers, and we have almost no visibility into his success with the Mets (at least, that I am aware of). So, while in theory bringing on an experienced sports exec who can build an organization, implement an anlytics culture, and manage high performers makes sense---I don't know that there's much reason to think they got that guy. If they (say) hired Gregg Popovich I'd find it easier to get why you'd think it might work---he actually has those skills, very clearly.

The second part is that those transferable skills require subject matter experts when they cross industries/segments/organizations. And right now, the Browns don't have them. Of course, if you trust the people who are building things you believe they'll find them, and that's what we'll have to watch for. But it's an essential ingredient and not currently in place, and I suspect will be harder to attract them given the counter-traditional front office and the questionable history in place.
Great post PKB. You conveyed my thoughts much more eloquently than I could have.
 

Rudy's Curve

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Why fire Marvin and promote the best head coach in your organization when you can just let this happen?