Telling it like it is
Refreshing is the adjective that leaps to mind with candid right behind following John Dorsey’s remarks about his new club on Cleveland radio recently.
“I’ll come straight out with it,” the Browns' new general manager said on WKNR, the team’s radio home. “The guys who were here before, that system, they didn’t get real players.”
And he was absolutely right. The analytics system preached and followed by Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta produced only one positive: An unusually high number of draft picks on an annual basis.
What was missing, and this is presumably what Dorsey meant, was those making the selections at the annual college football draft had no idea what they were doing in terms of stocking the roster with quality talent.
Decisions based on analytics have produced a 1-28 record since the beginning of the 2016 season. “As Bill Parcells would always say, ‘You are your record’ and you know what?” Dorsey said. “There it is. That’s the truth teller in this thing.
“And I’m going to my darnedest to get Hue (Jackson) players. That’s all I can ask for and that’s all I’m going to do.” In other words, analytics be damned. Under his watch, talent will be the most important consideration. Nothing wrong with that.
What does that mean for DePodesta? Let me put it this way: If he is still in the Browns’ employ at the next college football draft, I will be surprised.
It’s about time someone in this dysfunctional organization came out and laid out the truth. That kind of candor is refreshing. The current roster has some very talented players. Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough of them to make a difference.
“Let’s be real,” Dorsey said in less than diplomatic fashion. "We’re 0-13, okay? So let’s get this thing rolling. The only way to do that is to start to build this thing.”
Fans need to hear this. Jimmy Haslam III needs to hear this, although the guess is he already has.
Dorsey is going to do this the correct way. Some fans have a difficult time handling the truth about this team. They get bent out of shape when someone says something radically different.
Sometimes the truth hurts. This is one of those times. All Dorsey wants to do is come in, do his job in a way that has proved successful in the past and get this franchise righted and headed in the right direction.
It has been floundering for 19 seasons, for crying out loud, mainly because those entrusted with turning it around have failed abysmally. The big difference is this time, they have hired someone with a proven track record.
The Browns are 1-28 under Jackson and the Brown regime for a reason, not the least of which is the roster is talent-starved after you get past a dozen or so players. They represent the core with which Dorsey will begin his rebuild.
There is a reason the new general manager said one of his goals was to build up the roster from the bottom up. In other words, you are only as strong as your weakest link.
At least one player took it the right way. “I didn’t feel he said anything wrong,” said running back Isaiah Crowell. “I feel like he said the truth.” Resisting the urge here to channel Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men.”
The bottom line is John Dorsey is the right man at the right time for a team looking to escape nearly two decades of embarrassingly bad football. And when some fans have a problem with his forthrightness, it strikes at the heart of the situation.
He is addressing the problem in a harsh and yet honest way that some in Browns Nation are not used to. That will change when they see the fruits of his labor in another year or two.