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Cleveland Browns hire Paul DePodesta

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by YankeeFan, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Interesting move. Terrible, poorly run team, hires baseball executive, known for his analytic expertise.

    Brilliant, out of the box thinking, or a further example of why the Browns are terrible:

    In a move that is certain to raise eyebrows in two sports, the Cleveland Browns have hired Paul DePodesta of the Mets as their new chief strategy officer.

    DePodesta, a highly regarded player evaluator with the Mets who previously worked for the Cleveland Indians, the Oakland Athletics, the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers, will advise the Browns’ majority owner, Jimmy Haslam, and the team president, Alec Scheiner.

    After finishing 3-13, the Browns are again in rebuilding mode. On Sunday, they fired their head coach, Mike Pettine, and general manager, Ray Farmer, and more changes are expected.

    But it is unlikely any will match the unusual nature of DePodesta’s appointment. A 43-year-old Harvard graduate, he was part of the front-office brain trust that rebuilt the Mets and put them in the 2015 World Series, and he was viewed as the eventual successor to Sandy Alderson as the team’s general manager.

    Instead, a man widely regarded for his analytics pedigree will switch sports and try to fix another broken team, the Browns.

  2. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Somewhere, Bill Plaschke just punched a hole in a wall.
    YankeeFan likes this.
  3. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    Next time, clear an NFL thread with me.
  4. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I'm skeptical analytics can be used in football as well as it is in baseball, but as a Browns fan I'm willing for them to try anything at this point. This could be a spectacular failure or a pioneering movement in the NFL. But the Browns are already spectacular failures, so what's the downside?
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  5. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    I don't know if he'll be any good at this job, but I do see problems with how it's set up.

    The team has no GM, and DePodesta will be reporting to the owner.

    I imagine they will interview potential GMs with the idea of hiring one open to what DePodesta can bring to the table, but as you can see in almost every organization, when a guy isn't in your chain of command, and has no budget or staff, there's no way to be sure people pay attention to him:

    DePodesta will report directly to Haslam and will work with Sashi Brown, the Browns’ executive vice president of football operations.

    DePodesta played both baseball and football at Harvard. But after injuring a shoulder, according to The Harvard Crimson, he left the baseball team and focused on football his senior year.
  6. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    I don't think analytics per se are as applicable to football, at least in talent evaluation, as they are in baseball because of the enormous factor pain and violence play in the sport. But it never hurts to have another smart perspective on board, and if DePodesta does nothing else but keep Haslam away from the future coach and GM, he'll be worth it for the Browns.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure how that plays into it, but I think that most would agree that what separates baseball is that events are so easily isolatable, particularly the pitcher-batter duel, down to each pitch. Evaluating individual contributions in football would be more like evaluating defense in baseball - a bit of a holy grail. I would guess that some of latest advances you hear about in baseball - tracking how fast a ball comes off the bat (i.e. out of the QB's hands), how efficient the player's route was to the ball (i.e. how efficient the WR's route is), etc. - will be utilized pretty heavily over the next few years.
  8. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    I agree with the sentiment that talent evaluation in the two sports is largely apples v. oranges, but since the Browns have been so bad so long, there's only one way to go, so why not?
  9. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    I understand DePodesta originally wanted to work in the NFL but couldn't get in. So he went to MLB. First job with the Indians, actually.

    Browns get no benefit of the doubt. Everything Jimmy Haslam's done has been a colossal failure. So this should be considered as the next colossal failure. At least they aren't doing the definition of insanity -- same old thing, expecting different results. It's a 180 from when they put Mike Holmgren in charge of everything, then watched him ride around a golf cart and take his millions into retirement. (In fairness, that was pre-Haslam.)

    If anything, DePodesta's baseball success can be attributed to getting great pitching for cheap. How much of that is on him? No idea. But the A's thrived because of Hudson/Mulder/Zito (not that anyone would know from Moneyball), and the Mets are going to be contenders as long as Thor/deGrom/Harvey/Matz are pre-arbitration.

    To me, this hiring shows that Farmer/Pettine were out the door weeks ago. Did Haslam get the bright idea to hire DePodesta Sunday night after he fired them? This had to be in motion for awhile, since DePodesta took the job so quickly. If so, at least there is some plan in mind. Hopefully they don't need some new genius way of thinking to tell them that $9 million for Dwayne Bowe is a bad idea, that ignoring wide recievers doesn't work in a passing league, that letting so much talent walk away from the defense last year wouldn't help the team improve, and that Johnny Manziel was a bad idea. (Although maybe it will need that for the latter, as you couldn't convince many Cleveland fans of it.)
  10. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Can they currently do this if they wanted to?

    Do the teams or the league, have this data available to analyze? You'd need a camera on nearly every player, and then need someone to analyze all of this away from the ball action.
  11. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    As YF alluded to, I think how the heirarchy is set up is more important than DePodesta's system of evaluation. You can succeed in any number of ways in the NFL, but if there are too many cooks and no clear delineation of duties, then analytics will be the least of their problems.

    Also, the direct comparisons to baseball are likely meaningless. DePodesta is smart enough to adapt his system to the NFL.
  12. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I think the fear is that any "system" cannot be adapted. It's incredibly difficult to remove context from evaluations. This isn't the first time a team has tried to live by analytics, and previous attempts have failed. Unless DePodesta is better at football than all those other (supposedly very smart) guys, he's going to run into the same problems.
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