New Browns GM John Dorsey: Predecessor ‘Didn’t Get Real Players’

It likely depends upon your perspective whether you consider yesterday’s comments from new Cleveland Browns general manager Jon Dorsey as a good sign or bad for the future of the organization. Taking over the reins of a team that has gone just 1-27 over the course of the past two seasons under the banner of Sashi Brown, Dorsey made comments disparaging his predecessor’s work. They lost game number 28 on Sunday.

During an interview for a radio station yesterday, he said that the team has got to get its head coach, Hue Jackson, some football players. “I’ll come straight out with it”, he said. “The guys who were here, the system, they didn’t get real players”.

While the comment was not overly direct, I think it would take some semantic wrangling not to see it as a direct reference to the ‘Moneyball’ philosophy employed chiefly by Brown. But he was not the only member of the organization employed in such thinking.

And, whoops, would you look at that, one of them is still there. Dorsey’s remarks yesterday would not appear to be a good sign for the future employment of the Browns’ ‘Chief Strategy Officer’, Paul DePodesta, who helped spearhead the concept of Moneyball in baseball, now trying to adapt it for the gridiron.

Jackson and Dorsey do not come from that school. And given the failures of the past two seasons, one can certainly gather quite easily that the hangers-on to the Moneyball philosophy in the Browns organization will have their status with the team re-evaluated in the offseason, DePodesta chief among them.

“As Bill Parcells would always say, ‘you are your record’ and you know what? There it is, so that’s the truth-teller in this thing”, he said. “And I’m going to do my darnedest to get Hue players”. Like Myles Garrett, I suppose. Though it’s pretty easy when you have the first pick in the draft.

Yet, as he defended the head coach and the fact that his lack of success was primarily tied to having a lack of talent to work with—he also said that his top priority was finding a quarterback, taking a shot at their second-round rookie DeShone Kizer—he didn’t exactly guarantee Jackson will be back in 2018 when given the platform to do so in the interview.

For his part, Jackson has seemed to welcome the change, saying that he appreciates Dorsey’s enthusiasm for building now to win. He also described the experience of reviewing game tape as (presumably positively) different than with his former Moneyball counterpart.

How do the players feel? Well, at least running back Isaiah Crowell took no issue with his new general manager’s remarks. “I don’t feel like he said anything wrong”, he said. “I feel like he said the truth”.

Then again, a 1-28 record does speak for itself.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • StolenUpVotes

    I honestly cannot believe the prior regime thought this super heavy numbers approach was going to work in a sport that has 22 guys flying around on the field at one time

  • dany

    They need more players like Crowell, he’s sure of his standing on the team and knows he’s surrounded by garbage

  • Michael James

    In all honesty, in theory it wasn’t such a bad approach. They acquired a boatload of high draftpicks. With that amount of picks, a competent franchise (with a good scouting department) would have built a competitive team.
    Unfortunately the Browns’ FO only knew how to get this many picks, but they didn’t know how to use them properly.

  • Brenton deed

    I think it is unwise to publicly criticise your predecessor. It is needlessly ignoble and puts more pressure on yourself. Doesn’t bode well.

    Remember Donahue became destructive at the end of his tenure. Remember him drafting a WR while Cowher had Jevon Kearse on the phone? But nothing was said publicly at the time.

  • Conserv_58

    Meh. We’ve seen and heard this from every regime change the browns have had and they’ve had many since being reinstated as a team in 1999. For a team that has been picking at the top of the draft for so long it’s incomprehensible how they have repeatedly failed to put together a competitive team.

  • Conserv_58

    That receiver being, Troy Edwards.

    The correct verbage is, Donahoe self destructed. I remember that off season and draft vividly. It was reported that Donahoe and Cowher didn’t get along and that there was a power struggle between the two. The Steelers were coaching the AFC team in the pro bowl when a report came out in the Post Gazette that while at the practice for the game, Donahoe was over heard by a local reporter making snarky and disparaging remarks about Bill Cowher. When the news reached Dan Rooney’s desk he was expectedly extremely upset with Donahoe.

    Once draft day came it was reported that Cowher and the rest of the Steelers war room wanted Jevon Kearse, bad. Cowher actually called Kearse the pick before the Steelers and told Jevon that they were going to select him with their pick. When it came time for the Steelers’ pick Steelers Nation waited to hear Kearse’s name being announced. Without saying a word to anyone in the Steelers’ war room, Donahoe, in an act of spiteful vindictiveness toward Cowher, changed the pick. He walked up to the podium, handed the pick to the Commissioner and then to the Steelers war room’s and Steelers Nations’ shock the announcement came that the Steelers selected WR, Troy Edwards. I remember the looks on Cowher’s and the rest of the war room’s faces when they heard the announcement. It was that despicable, underhanded, defiant, and spiteful act that got Donahoe fired. They hired Pittsburgh native, Kevin Colbert away from Detroit and the rest is history.

  • StolenUpVotes

    Sure the volume of picks was a success but this way of evaluating football players just doesn’t work. Too many moving parts

  • SouthernSteel

    Dorsey is a douche bag…why would you say that about your players..Browns being the Browns

  • Conserv_58

    Indeed. There is also the fact that they didn’t draft to fit their schemes. They drafted players they thought were good athletes without regard to if they fit or not. Then again, they changed coaching staffs so often that drafting to fit a particular scheme was fruitless.

  • GravityWon

    I was doubtful about it as the driving factor for personnel selection. There are just too many variables in football. Most of which aren’t captured in data.

    There are seemingly fewer factors in baseball so it worked.

    Not saying number crunching can’t supplement decisions but there isn’t going to be a magic black box spitting out the best player for each draft pick.

  • Sam Clonch

    A #2 overall pick followed by back to back #1 overall draft picks. Has any other team ever been so terrible for so long? Amazing really.

  • Junior708

    Wow, I sure remember that draft, but never heard this story. Remarkable.

  • nutty32

    Supposedly they have effort issues in the clubhouse. Light a fire under these losers and see who really loves football. 0 – 13.

  • nutty32

    Too bad this draft doesn’t look that great in terms of top talent albeit with good depth. But admittedly, I’m no draftnik. Josh Rosen is a major trap. The team taking him high will regret it. He’s a QB camp star with his arm talent and all but is not really good at playing football in real games.

  • Applebite

    It might have been more prudent to err on the side of caution, with his statement. Because should he fail, he too, will be jettisoned, just as Brown was…

  • Matthew Marczi

    If they go winless this year, the answer will officially be no. Only two teams have ever won just two games over a two-year span (Lions and Bucs), and they could be the first to have just one win.

  • Brenton deed

    Sure he self destructed but he did damage to the team and organisation on the way. But back to the original point the steelers didn’t say anything publicly.

  • Brenton deed

    You know there’s a possible sequel too. Donahue went to the Bills and rumour has it that the Steelers were interested in a DL in the second round from Brigham Young and the Bills took him (too spite the Steelers) The guy turned out to be serviceable and the steelers had to settle for a seventh round they noticed while scouting the first guy … I think his name was Keisel!!!!

  • LucasY59

    Those “not real players” are gonna be real excited that Dorsey is their GM…

    I have also seen where he thinks he’s gonna get the Clowns to win the North in 2018 (apparently he’s gonna miracle some real players onto the roster in one offseason) haha what a joke…but it is CleveLOLand

  • LucasY59

    Rosen sounds perfect for the Clowns