Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 May 2013

Black and Brown Blues

Our latest "Inside the War Room" (but not really!) article: Chuck Klosterman visits the Browns.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 10 May 2013

14 comments, Last at 18 May 2013, 3:48am by Jerry


by Passing Through (not verified) :: Fri, 05/10/2013 - 12:27pm

Wow I really didn't like that article. I'm surprised you posted it. There's practically no new information there.

by VarlosZ :: Fri, 05/10/2013 - 2:22pm

And Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass contains practically no good horticultural advice: useless!

Sorry, I really don't mean to sound so dismissive, but the point of the piece (at least once Klosterman was shunned) wasn't to provide a big draft scoop. Sure, the article probably would've been better if he'd had more access, but it still does a pretty good job of painting picture of an NFL front office.

by Passing Through (not verified) :: Fri, 05/10/2013 - 3:36pm

Lol nice Walt Whitman takedown :-P

To me it sounds like Klosterman put in so much effort to get to Cleveland that he felt he had to write something (so many words!) even though he had virtually nothing interesting to say. Anyone who has ever listened to an NFL coach interview (esp Belichick and Harbaugh) knows that teams are secretive.

Hopefully next time Klosterman travels he gets better commitments for interviews and access beforehand.

To take a quick 180, I actually enjoyed the beginning about Mingo and potential trades. Then I kept reading. Then I got annoyed.

by j.r. (not verified) :: Fri, 05/10/2013 - 7:22pm

but it seems like they did make a commitment to let him stay in the war room and then backed out on it when haslam showed up.

just because something - NFL teams' fetishization of secrecy to absurd levels - is well-known doesn't mean nothing interesting can be said about it.

klosterman is hit or miss for me but I enjoyed it. it's definitely more interesting than peter king writing about actually getting to in the war room (a low bar tbf).

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Sat, 05/11/2013 - 8:44am

Mega long articles seems to be Grantlands MO. Like it or not, but it's how they do it.

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Fri, 05/10/2013 - 9:24pm

There wasn't, but I have read Klosterman's books in the past and enjoyed them, and he was mostly fair and organized those ideas well in this one.

I did not realize their analytics expert had Levitt on his resume--impressive, if controversial--and think the movement towards analytics is sorely needed.

by RickD :: Fri, 05/10/2013 - 2:02pm

An interesting story about how the Browns didn't let anybody talk to Klosterman.

Probably would have been a lot more interesting they had let somebody talk to him, and hadn't kicked him out of the "war room" during the draft.

But hey, it's better than Farhad Manjoo talking about why he doesn't like dogs.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Fri, 05/10/2013 - 8:15pm

Otto Graham's name wasn't "Brown."

by Theo :: Sat, 05/11/2013 - 11:29am

"Does this face seem corruptible?"

What is this? Idiocracy?
"Kay. Number one your honor, just look at him."

Not saying he did or did not do anything, but "look at his face" is just plain stupid.

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 05/12/2013 - 6:10am

Pretty sure that was a joke, dude.

by LA Charger (not verified) :: Sun, 05/12/2013 - 1:30am

it was still interesting to read =, if not exactly newsworthy

by CBPodge :: Mon, 05/13/2013 - 4:35am

I agree. Definitely an interesting companion piece to the one by Peter King on his access to the Rams draft room.

The interesting thing about the two articles is that the Rams come off pretty well in King's article - possibly I'm biased as a Rams fan, but it seems like they have a good plan of what they are doing, and are confident in how they execute it. On the other hand, a lot of Klosterman's article makes it seem like, while the Browns might know what they are doing, its not actually clear that they do. The first half of the article is illuminating in their thinking, the second half is pretty damning in their approach to it.

I get that there's some competitive advantage for teams to keep their thinking on players in the draft secret, even after the draft - for example, there's the bit in the King article about how the Rams liked Larry Warford (who went in the 3rd) if Ogletree was gone, and I've no doubt if Warford ever hits free agency the Rams will be linked with him simply because of that. But I mean... that's clutching at straws to a fairly ridiculous degree. It seems to me like both the Browns and the Rams got an opportunity to decent press coverage during the draft, giving good access to neutrals on the draft process and potentially good reassurance to fans on the competence of the people running the draft room. The Rams were (relatively) open* about it, and have come out of it well, while the Browns were extremely tight with their info and have come out of it looking paranoid.

*I'm sure they had a good look over early drafts of King's article to say what could and couldn't be printed.

by Jerry :: Tue, 05/14/2013 - 1:59am

Since you mention it, from the part of this week's MMQB where King discusses Klosterman:

"I asked for some exclusive access, and the team thought it over. I spoke to COO Kevin Demoff and coach Jeff Fisher about it. The team had some concern what might happen if their plans -- unspoken to me at the time, a few days before the draft -- failed and they didn't get the players they wanted. My point is what I said a couple of paragraphs ago: If the team had a plan that was well-conceived, regardless what happened, why be concerned about having someone write about it?

"There were some other concessions I made. I'd check, after the draft with the teams they were having serious discussions with, to make sure they knew I wasn't blindsiding them. And if someone inside the draft room maligned a player or a team (as in: 'Boy, those guys on Team X are worthless foofs') I wouldn't use the chance to take a cheap shot. I was in there to tell the story of the Rams' draft, and in my opinion, if a team is confident in its plan, the story is going to be a good one for the team."

by Jerry :: Sat, 05/18/2013 - 3:48am

Here's a piece by a long-time Ohio reporter about how the Klosterman article describes the Browns' PR savvy all too accurately.