Haslam gets it right with Dorsey
Now that Jimmy Haslam III has finally discovered the quickest way to become competitive is to hire someone who has been successful in rehabilitating National Football League franchises, he needs to introduce him to the local media and then disappear.
The hiring Thursday night of John Dorsey as the Browns’ new general manager is decidedly a step in the right direction, one that sends a signal that the Browns owner has finally seen the light.
This is Haslam’s fifth crack at getting it right in the front office and a quick perusal of Dorsey’s résumé indicates the days ahead, even with the club headed again toward NFL infamy this season, are in good hands.
There is no question Haslam had already made up his mind to hire the former Kansas City Chiefs general manager when he sacked Sashi Brown mere hours before announcing Dorsey as his choice.
Dorsey, jobless since last June after losing a power struggle with Chiefs coach Andy Reid regarding authority over final say of the roster, brings tons of experience to a Cleveland front office aching for it.
It is assumed he will take over Brown’s role regarding final say of the roster for the Browns with credentials that dwarf Brown’s. It is also assumed the current scouting staff will remain in place until after the season.
But like most general managers in a new job, expect Dorsey to recruit people with whom he is most comfortable. It is also possible he will retain some of the current scouts.
Dorsey, 57, has spent a vast majority of his NFL administrative career with the venerable Green Bay Packers organization, serving all but one of his first 22 seasons there in various front-office capacities before being named general manager in Kansas City in 2013.
He was drafted as a linebacker out of college and played five seasons for the Packers (1984-89) before heading into the administrative end of the game.
He has a cultivated a strong reputation as a shrewd judge of college football talent and is credited with aiding in drafting such players as quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is headed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame after he retires, and linebacker Clay Matthews III for the Packers.
The Cleveland media and fans will find out the status of coach Hue Jackson Friday when Haslam introduces his new GM. It is assumed one of the stipulations of Dorsey accepting the job was the retention of Jackson.
Why else would Haslam boldly declare earlier Thursday in his prepared statement announcing Brown’s dismissal that Jackson would, indeed, be back next season? It would be the same situation
Dorsey faced in Kansas City with Reid, who was hired ac coach nine days before the Chiefs brought him in to take over for Scott Pioli.
The Dorsey-Reid team was 43-21 in those four seasons in Kansas City with three appearances in the postseason. The Chiefs were 29-67 the previous six seasons.
In his last Chiefs draft last spring, Dorsey selected Patrick Mahomes II, the club’s future quarterback, and running back Kareem Hunt, whose sensational start this season quickly caught everyone’s attention.
In his five drafts with the Chiefs, Dorsey selected 11 players who are current starters, including four of the five offensive linemen (he also signed Browns tackle Mitchell Schwartz as a free agent), dynamic wide receiver Tyreek Hill, cornerbacks Steven Nelson and Marcus Peters and tight end Travis Kelce.
He does come with some baggage, however. According to a piece in the Kansas City Star, Dorsey was accused by a source protected by anonymity of having a management style that “could wear on people.”
He also apparently likes to operate independently. Again from the Star, “John does stuff and doesn’t tell people why.” Sounds a little but like Joe Banner, whose stay in Cleveland wasn’t brief enough a few years ago.
But the bottom line is Dorsey gets results, something Browns fans haven’t seen or experienced since the old Browns moved to Baltimore a generation or so ago.
And now it’s up to Haslam to stay out of Dorsey’s way. Cool it with the micromanaging. Let the man do his job with minimal interference.
The Brown front office, through a series of trade machinations, has provided the new GM with a boatload of picks in the next college draft, 13 overall, including five in the first two rounds and a high third-rounder in addition to (reportedly) nearly $100 million in salary cap space.
Overall, the Browns will make six of the first 65 selections in the lottery. That will probably seem like Christmas to Dorsey, a factor that might have been the hook to get him to commit to Browns. Rumors also attached him to the brand new vacant New York Giants job.
There is also no question now that Jackson importantly will have more respect for the experienced and much more successful Dorsey than Brown, whose slow learning curve resulted in abject failure and his ultimate departure.
As for the analytics approach to football that labeled the Brown-Paul DePodesta regime, forget it. It is gone. Dorsey is a former scout and that means only one thing: Molding the roster is back to the old fashioned way of procuring talent.
Entrusting Dorsey with the immediate future of this franchise is unquestionably a strong move, one designed to excite a fan base that has waited far too long for its team to regain a large degree of dignity and respect around the NFL.
This time, Haslam got it right. It’s about time.