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Browns Hire Andrew Berry as New GM

The GM search in Cleveland ends where everyone basically thought it would end, especially once George Paton took his name out of the running. Andrew Berry will return to the Browns from the Eagles as the new general manager. Berry was previously VP of Player Personnel under Sashi Brown before going to Philadelphia to work under Howie Roseman. This is basically an all-in on analytics, with an all-Ivy League trio running the show: Berry and Paul DePodesta (Harvard) plus Kevin Stefanski (Penn). Berry is the NFL's youngest GM at 32 and also gives the NFL a second African-American GM to go with Chris Grier in Miami.

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37 comments, Last at 02 Feb 2020, 5:36am

1 Does haslam understand what…

Does haslam understand what he's doing? He hired sashi Brown in the name of analytics. Then he fired sashi Brown because he lost his stomach for analytics. Then he fired John Dorsey because he wants more analytics? If haslam wasn't so rich, I would question if he can even spell analytics let alone understand it.

2 My read on Haslam is that he…

My read on Haslam is that he hires people based on how good they make him feel and how credible they make their plan sound.  And then one day he wakes up and realises that however hee felt about them, the plan isn't working so he needs to hire someone else.

I suspect he would never hire a Bill Belichick or Mike Zimmer because they tell it to you straight rather than making it sound glamorous or putting a sales pitch on it.

19 I believe you are correct

I agree. I don't think Haslam knows anything about football other than it's almost impossible to lose money as an NFL owner under the current NFL model. It's an expensive toy for him. And he doesn't want to spend the time to learn what it takes to get it right or put up with someone who will (like a Belichick). Until he changes, the Browns will continue to flounder because if he accidentally finds the right person he probably will alienate and lose that person. 

3 Head Coach

Am I wrong here, or did the Browns already fire their old coach and hire a new one? That seems like a really odd thing to do before firing the old GM and hiring the new one. So now we have a new head coach who has been hired by the old GM. How is this not a disaster of a situation?

Please correct me if I'm wrong about the details here.

4 I don't remember if Dorsey…

In reply to by theTDC

I don't remember if Dorsey was still there when Stefanski was hired, but I'm pretty sure he had no say in it.

  The 'disaster' is because of Haslem.  As long as he insists on changing coaches and front offices as often as he changes his clothes (i.e. can't make a plan and stick with it), the disaster will remain ongoing.

8 I think Dorsey was out

In reply to by theTDC

I think Dorsey was out prior to Stefanski being hired.

It is interesting how many teams have moved to this model where the Coach and GM are fairly equal footing both reporting to a team President or directly the owner.

The old standard of GM hiring Head Coach and the HC reporting to the GM is not the default anymore it seems.

10 You're not wrong on the…

In reply to by theTDC

You're not wrong on the details. It was widely reported that the Browns would be hiring the coach first and then the GM. 

7 Dorsey was a very poor hire…

Dorsey was a very poor hire.
He ignored what the analytics guys in the FO had to say.
Then he hired Freddy Kitchens to become the HC, who had zero experience, resulting in the players running the locker room.
It also seemed as if Dorsey signed player that Kitchens had no idea on how to utilize.
Kitchens was bad in his own way as he had a OC making a game plan from Tuesday to Friday, but on Sundays it was Kitchens who called the plays.

Now they have a very young HC and an extremely young GM, both with no experience in the position they are in. They are thrown together and just have to make it work. Which all could go very nice and dandy, that is until the shit hits the fan, like it always does in Cleveland. What if Odell Beckham decides to ignore whatever his head coach wants him to do like he did under Kitchens, then can the HC Stefanski demand a trade from the GM? I guess the GM doesn't want to do it because of the fan backlash.

2 years ago, they drafted Baker Mayfield 1st overall and he played really well in his rookie season. The best way to mess that pick up was to have a string of inexperienced coaches coming in, changing the offense every year and giving the guy no consistency to build a playoff team (que Jim Mora meme).
Well, as I had predicted, all is going according to plan to royally mess up that pick. Baker will enter year 3 with his 3rd or 4th OC (depending on how you count, there was Hue/Haley then Gregg/Kitchens then Kitchens/Monken and now Stefanski/Monken)

Something tells me that in 2021, we're just going to see the exact same thing again.

12 I'll tell you. They should…

I'll tell you. They should've sacked that clown after the 1-15 season.

No one in this world thinks they should've retained Clueless Hue after the 0-16 season. 

But they could've fired Hue as they did, and then kept Haley. 

Then find a head coach who could work with Haley and go from there.

Or fire Haley and promote Kitchens to OC because they seemed to have good chemistry. 

Then find a head coach who could work with Kitchens and go from there.

15 The interesting part about…

The interesting part about firing Hue is that it highlights the lack of decision-making integrity in Cleveland.

When he was going 0-16 they kept him so what was expect next? Logical answer - to start winning.

When he started winning games the next season and a couple of close overtime losses, they fired him.

From a decision-making perspective that makes no sense. It just leaves you questioning what is valued?  Doesn't seem to be results so what is it?

(None of which is to suggest they should have kept him that long anyway)

16 I also presume that…

I also presume that Depodesta and Sashi Brown filled Haslem into the immediate implications of what "money ball" was all about. I have to imagine they stressed over and over --- we are going to suffer some pretty severe pain in the short run, but it will be worth it in the long run.

 

That Haslem pulled the plug midway through it suggests hes both a liar and a terribly fickle person. 

 

23 " started winning games the…

" started winning games the next season and a couple of close overtime losses, they fired him."

 

Not that it was the greatest sequence of decisions, but this is kind of an oversimplification of the timeline.

They were patient in '16 and '17 because they were trying to tank.

The way they lost the games they did in '18 - they looked downright awful in the 2nd Pitt game, and they had a ton of unforced errors in the Tampa game - when they expected much more improvement - was what ended up being the final straw for Hue.

I largely agree with the sentiment, but there has always been more to the Browns picture than "lol haslam flies by seat of pants."

22 A lot of us were thinking it…

A lot of us were thinking it should be GreggW, but I think the Browns were trying to gamble on the potential of Freddie maybe, possibly, having a high ceiling--I know, I know--while keeping the coaching core intact, and thinking that GW is a known commodity/not high ceiling, or wears on players as has been rumored. 

That's not even getting into the bounty stuff, which likely has effectively blacklisted GW from any long-term HC job.

Worth noting that the Jets and Browns essentially traded places on defensive DVOA between 2018 and 2019 with the team having GW in each year benefiting by about 10 spots.

37 "Adult in the Room"

Quite right that Bountygate has "effectively blacklisted GW from any long-term HC job."

Who on earth thinks the "adult in the room" should be a guy putting bounties on people's heads?

Or for that matter someone who spells "Gregg" with a double G.

11 The Browns have messed up…

The Browns have messed up royally the past several years, and when they finally had the start of something good, they blew it. But it's hard not to like the direction they seem to be making, finally, a sincere and total commitment to. I just hope they can crawl out from the shadow of their recent mistakes enough to give this new regime a legit chance to succeed.

13 The sequence of the hirings…

The sequence of the hirings is still all disjointed. Stefanski was hired before the GM was, giving this a shotgun marriage feel to it. 

 

Ideally, the GM and head coach should be hired in concert so that theres an ideal match in terms of vision. 

 

The current setup could easily lead to dysfunction and blame shifting, which is exactly what got Sashi brown fired.

18 They always seem to be…

They always seem to be making a sincere and total commitment. Then they change course in two years. I'll believe the Browns are making a total commitment the first time Haslam sticks to a plan. 

31 Since DePodesta has been…

Since DePodesta has been there the whole time and Berry was only gone for a year, I would think there should at least be some continuity/familiarity among the staff to build on. I also noticed today that the rest of the ex-GB faction of the front office has been pushed out.

They also interviewed Stefanski for the HC position last year and DePodesta apparently really lobbied for him at that time. It doesn't necessarily mean he would have been Berry's pick for HC, but it does at least seem they both fit within the "wing" of the organization that had been in place the whole time and is now back in charge.

14 Ideally, the GM and head coach should be hired in concert so tha

"Ideally, the GM and head coach should be hired in concert so that theres an ideal match in terms of vision."

No argument there. Not ideal, but certainly workable.

But . . . I suppose my hope to finally see a good Browns team again—Sipe & the Cardiac Kids and the Kosar years were some of my favorite teams—could be obscuring my better judgment.

17 The thing is, the head coach…

The thing is, the head coach is suuuuuch a fickle person that there is a non zero chance that this nucleus is permanently squandered. The Odell situation is the kind of powder keg that even great organization struggle to keep under wraps. Poor one's get fleeced. Its not farfetched at all to see Odell either cut or traded for a song by the end of next season. And considering what they gave up to get him, it will be a total Brownsy move. 

21 I have always been skeptical…

I have always been skeptical as to whether WRs even matter...

Give me possession receivers who will get you the first downs - indeed, like Jarvis Landry - over long-bomb threats who result in the QB forcing risky/tough passes, and are literally almost always team cancers/divas- every time.

24 Ask Bill Belichick how hard…

Ask Bill Belichick how hard it is to win when all your receivers are 6-12 yard possession types.  Or just re-watch what happened to the Patriots this year after they jettisoned Gordon.  Chains don't move.

32 I think it would more or…

I think it would more or less look the same.  When your solitary deep threat can be easily covered by any starting cornerback in the NFL, and you have two WRs, a TE, an an RB all within 11 yards of the line of scrimmage, there's not a lot of room to get open with 10 defenders in the neighborhood. 

27 Romo . . .

Romo made the likes of Miles Austin and Laurent Robinson look like all pros. There's a definite middle ground between not overspending on a #1 WR and where the 2019 Patriots ended up.

35 Well, to build off the below…

Well, to build off the below comment that TEs are also sort of interchangeable with WRs, Brady didn't need Gronk for 28-3, and the homicidal maniac never won him a SB.

Brady also won with plenty of "6-12 yard possession types," other years, and Randy Moss didn't result in a SB win.

To the point of OBJ in particular, this still bears mentioning, and yes, I know there is essentially no context:

2013 Giants: 7 wins before he was drafted, then in 2014 and 2015, 6 wins each year. 

2018 Browns: 7 wins before OBJ; then in 2019, 6 wins.

Sounds like a pattern to me; and I also look at how Gordon never helped the Browns win anything - in fact, hurt them in 2014.

36 The "pattern", as evidennced…

The "pattern", as evidennced by three players, is that receivers that can get open deep won't result in a Super Bowl win?  That's pretty flimsy.  In Moss's best year, they went 18-1 and set all kinds of offensive records.  That's pretty good.  Gronk was hurt for SB51, but had the signature play of SB53.  The Chiefs right now are chock full o' deep threats.  The 49ers aren't, the Ravens aren't.  I'm not saying you can't win without a deep threat if there are other things, like running the ball or have a mismatch at TE, that you can take advantage of.  But the fact that the Patriots breezed to 8-0 without being challenged (yes, those teams weren't good.  But their defenses generally were average-to-better), lost a close game to Baltimore, cut Gordon, and couldn't more the ball thereafter.  I think it's apparent that Gordon, even when he wasn't catching the ball, was a key part of the offense.

26 100% Agree

100% agree—never trade resources for a diva receiver. For all the talk about fungible backs, there are always great receivers entering the draft year after year.

I am on record in old FO comments when Ben Muth, though it was going against his usual tendencies, felt that Dez was more important to Dallas offense than Tyron Smith was (if it came down to signing one or the other). I thought Dallas should have traded Dez in the last year of his contract at the peak of his value (I never trusted Dez would be able to stay healthy). 

Does't mean you should let your WR well run as dry as the 2019 Patriots did of course.

28 I will admit I took the…

In reply to by BlueStarDude

I will admit I took the other side and preferred Dez(I remember the article you are referencing). The part I missed was the longevity factor. Tyron Smith can play effectively for over a decade and some change. Receiver dominance is usually half a decade and then the receiver needs to transition to possession receiver to maintain their value.

People need to be consistent here. On other threads, everyone seems to defend Rodgers for having no one outside of davante Adams. People have made the same arguments for Tom Brady. And yet we're now debating whether great wide receivers matter that much. Leaving aside the Diva aspect, receivers generally impact the game way more than a single offensive linemen does. As is always the case, all it takes is one horrible player to sink the unit. Look at how much Dallas regressed a year ago when Frederick missed the year.

 

And possession receivers really shine when there is a legitimate threat elsewhere. See Edleman as a prime example.

29 My opinion probably falls…

My opinion probably falls somewhere in the middle - I don't think an offense needs a star receiver to be good, especially with a great QB, but replacement-level or average-at-best WR/TEs (especially more than one on the field at the same time) can be a major drag on your production.

The 49ers this year I think are a decent case study: Emmanuel Sanders didn't put up world-changing numbers after coming to SF, but he was a massive upgrade over the replacement-level players he took snaps from and it helped open up the rest of their passing game in the 2nd half of the season. Garoppolo's pre- and post-Sanders splits are pretty stark.

I do think that a legitimate deep threat at receiver draws attention away from/creates space for other receivers - I guess that might be one way a star receiver impacts the game in a way that doesn't immediately stand out.

30 Well reasoned . . .

You definitely have to take each situation on its own. For instance, I'm a little conflicted, but I lean toward thinking Dallas should re-sign Cooper, which might seem to contradict my earlier stance on Dez.

I’d prefer if Coop showed better consistency as far as his hands, but his ability to win one on one purely on route-running speaks to better longevity (plus I think he's still relatively young for a second contract), and he doesn't have that diva thing going on. He has shown he can open up things for other receivers on the offense, and Dallas really needs to put draft resources into upgrading the defense. I like Gallup but not sure he and Cobb (assuming he's brougth back) and a low pick are what Dallas should be rolling with at this point. 

34 I told this to a friend. if…

I told this to a friend. if you are going to devote serious resources to an offensive line, then you really need to be cheaper with your receivers and absolutely not pay a running back. The whole point of devoting to the line is to hope the extra time will let your receivers get open and make holes for lesser backs.

 

The issue with Cooper is they sacrificed a first round pick for him and his impact is extremely notable. However, same issue with Dez - he is unlikely to outperform the life of the contract and so the best bet, if they can swing it, is to front load the contract and hopefully cut him towards the end.