Blowing up the Browns – Again…

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South
By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

You’ve heard of the HBO series “Hard Knocks,” right? And the Amazon series “All or Nothing.” Well, welcome to the newest addition to the NFL Docu-drama scene: “Blowing up the Browns!”

Yep – it’s that time of year again…. time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, change the filters in your furnace, and change head coaches in Cleveland.

But wait, there’s more! This year, in a surprising plot twist, they’re also revamping the entire front office!

In a move that surprised no one, besides Freddie Kitchens himself, the Browns relieved him of all coaching duties within hours of the Week 17 loss to division foe the Cincinnati Bengals. While the Browns finished third in the AFC North, and had a record of 3-3 in the division, the overall record of 6-10 was just something fans and ownership could not ignore.

General Manager John Dorsey is rumored to have argued in favor of keeping Kitchens, of understanding the learning curve involved for a first time head coach and he wanted to give Kitchens more time. Team owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam disagreed and Kitchens is gone.

But what, for me, was the real stunning news this week was that Dorsey is also leaving the team. The official statements from both the Haslam and Dorsey give the usual politically correct blah-blah nonsense. The reality is that the Haslams want to restructure the power dynamic and decision making duties in the front office.

It seems that the Browns Chief Strategy Officer and former baseball analytics guru Paul DePodesta is moving up in the ranks. Rumor is that Dorsey was told the new structure would take final say on player acquisitions, etc., and give that to DePodesta. That was something Dorsey couldn’t roll with so he opted out, and I can’t blame him.

Personally, I am a data analytics queen during my 40+ hour work week. I LOVE numbers and what they can tell you about the past, the trends, and how they can affect decisions regarding the future or show ways to correct current problems. BUT – and this is a huge but- THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY ANSWER. Analytics MUST be combined with other factors in order to see the whole picture. And I digress…

Reckless speculation abounds that this opens the door for New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to take over as Browns head coach and also bring in his friend Nick Caserio to be the new GM. This would seem to be a good thing in that having a coach and GM on the same page is important for an NFL team. Wouldn’t be my first choice as the new coach, but so far no one has called and invited me to participate in the interviews…

Frankly, Browns fans and I agree on one big factor in this head coach search: Experience Matters! The only thing the Browns haven’t tried through their last 7 or 8 coaches was hiring someone with experience. Someone who had been to the playoffs. Instead, they are giving guys their first chance to be a head coach and it hasn’t worked out well.

I’d love to see Mike McCarthy or Jim Schwartz take over this team. A man who has “been there and done that” is someone these young players can respect from day one. This team is far too talented to play as poorly as they did this season and I don’t see how training someone brand new to the head coaching ranks will improve their on-the-field performance next year.

Fan reaction has been crazy since Sunday…. who do you think the Browns will be bringing in? And is blowing it up one more time the right move? Hit me up on Twitter!



Talk NFL with Kate on Twitter / @ClvlndK8 

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