The Browns announced earlier that they’ve hired Paul DePodesta from the New York Mets (yes, the baseball team) as their new chief strategy offer. This intriguing news comes on the heels of their hiring of lawyer Sashi Brown Executive Vice President of Football Operations.
You know what? I kinda like what the Browns are doing. If nothing else works, at some point you gotta say “Screw it” and try something else. They have clearly sucked at running the team like a normal football team, so instead, why not run the team without a true football perspective at the top?
These two moves do mean, however, that the Browns need a certain type of General Manager. They clearly can’t have Sashi Brown act as a GM like many Executive VPs of Football Ops do. They need a GM who knows football through and through and who has the ability to work well with a new kind of management above him. No way does a guy like Bill Parcells take the job, and Chip Kelly wouldn’t be the right guy with his ego, either (not to say that Parcells or Kelly were ever linked there). Cleveland probably needs a first-time GM who is more open to collaboration.
Hiring DePodestra and Brown also signifies that the Browns need an overhaul of their culture in the locker room. Johnny Manziel is definitely gone, as the only way to keep Manziel and give him yet another chance would be with a strong coach with a lot of respect around the league. Again, Parcells is an example here, as he might actually have the clout to get Manziel to be an adult in Cleveland. Sean Payton and his QB expertise would also be a good example. The moves that Cleveland has made in management suggests that they’ll be looking for a different type of coach — one who is also more collaborative to match their new GM. That’s probably the right approach to the Browns with how terrible the culture of their team has been for over a decade and a half now, as they can do without the spectacle of bringing in someone like Payton.
Maybe the Browns took that whole “The definition of insanity” phrase to heart a little too much by hiring guys who don’t even have a football background, but I can’t knock the hustle. Then again, the team owner is still Jimmy Haslam, so this will probably fail also.