Browns Hire Experienced Football Exec Dorsey To Replace Analytics-Heavy Sashi Brown
The Browns fired Exec VP/Football Operations Sashi Brown on Thursday and "wasted no time" in filling the vacant chair with an "accomplished football guy," hiring former Chiefs GM John Dorsey, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Less than 12 hours after they fired Brown they "signed Dorsey to a four-year deal to take over as the top man in their personnel department." He will have "final say over the roster and the salary cap," and he fulfills Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam's "stated desire to hire an experienced football exec for this job." Fired by the Chiefs in June, Dorsey is "still highly respected in NFL circles." The Browns have been "talking to Dorsey for about five to six weeks, and satisfied the Rooney Rule by interviewing a minority candidate before making the hire." In addition to two formal interviews, the Browns "talked to two or three other candidates, but not anyone who's currently employed in the NFL." One of the things the Browns liked about Dorsey is that he will be "inclined to retain current front office members." Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta is "expected to stay" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/8). In Akron, Nate Ulrich in a front-page piece notes Browns coach Hue Jackson, Dorsey and DePodesta "will report to the Haslams." Browns VP/Player Personnel Andrew Berry "will report to Dorsey, who will make his own hires but isn’t considered likely to blow up the entire player personnel department." The Haslams are "committed to sticking with Jackson beyond this season even if the team loses its last four games and finishes 0-16." Although Jackson and Dorsey "haven’t worked together, the Browns are confident they’ll be a good match" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 12/8).
HEAD OF THE CLASS: ESPN.com's Pat McManamon noted Dorsey was "one of the main names on the market when it comes to experienced candidates." He is "liked and respected throughout the league and would bring credibility to a winless team" (ESPN.com, 12/7). In Cleveland, Terry Pluto writes of the candidates available right now, Dorsey "probably is the best." He has a "solid track record and a lot of experience." But Pluto writes he still questions the "quick marriage of Dorsey and Jackson" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/8).
BREAKING RULES? USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell notes the Browns have "drawn a swift rebuke in the context of the Rooney Rule." Fritz Pollard Alliance Chair John Wooten "suspected the Browns might have violated the league’s rule that mandates at least one minority candidate be interviewed for GM and head coaching positions." Wooten: "Dorsey is a very top quality GM. I am livid that the Browns would totally ignore the work all of us to make the Rooney Rule meaningful." However, a Browns spokesperson said that the team "complied with the Rooney Rule before the job was offered to Dorsey." The team "wouldn’t reveal the identities of any minority candidates interviewed" (USA TODAY, 12/8). NFL Network's Ian Rapoport cited sources as saying that the Browns interviewed former Bills GM Doug Whaley "prior to hiring" Dorsey (TWITTER.com, 12/7). Meanwhile, NBC's Mike Florio said, "I've never seen a team move this quickly. Sashi Brown out, John Dorsey in in the same day, and they did it during ('TNF') last night. It's almost like they didn't want anyone to notice what they were up to" ("PFT," NBCSN, 12/8).
WHERE IT WENT WRONG: The PLAIN DEALER's Cabot notes analytics "wasn't the problem" when it comes to Sashi Brown's lack of success with the team. Every team in the NFL "relies on the numbers game to some degree." The problem was that Brown "tried to out-think the rest of the NFL and assemble an executive team devoid of someone who actually had a track record of success in this business" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/8). SI.com's Albert Breer wrote Haslam's "biggest mistake" was hiring Brown and Jackson together. The Browns are starting over again "thanks to an inability to see the one thing that takes down more teams than anything else on a consistent basis." The team's football operation "wasn’t aligned." The franchise in Brown "brought aboard an analytically-driven, outside-the-box business-side-bred executive to put together the roster." In Jackson, they "hired an old-school coach who’s spent 30 years teaching the game" (SI.com, 12/7).
SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE: USA TODAY's Bell notes two years ago, Haslam "declared he would stick with his new regime, seeking the type of stability reflected" by AFC North rivals in the Ravens, Bengals and Steelers. Bell: "Yet here we go again. It’s 'Groundhog Day,' a movie that reflects the state of the Browns a lot better than 'Moneyball' ever did." With the possibility of an 0-16 season, Haslam has "ordered up another do-over" (USA TODAY, 12/8). NBC Sports Bay Area's Ray Ratto noted Dorsey has to "know that the owner changes his mind every 20 minutes" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 12/7).