CLEVELAND — After failing in his first two coaching hires, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam needed to find a coach who understood the professional football landscape, particularly in the AFC North Division, and having coached for two of the teams and competed against the other for several years, Hue Jackson appeared to be that man.
The key word, however, is appeared.
In an ESPN The Magazine article discussing Paul DePodesta, the Browns’ chief strategy officer, and his transition to football after a 20-year run in Major League Baseball, an anonymous former NFL executive called the hiring of Jackson “a very bad fit” for an organization switching to the use of analytics in scouting rather than more traditional means.
“It’s not just Hue Jackson,” the former executive told ESPN The Magazine. “When data overrides gut, the majority of his coaching staff will all be there screaming, ‘What the f&$@ are these computer guys doing? They don’t understand football, they don’t understand the locker room. They’re killing us.’”
The Browns have tried a lot of different methods to turn around the fortunes of their franchise during the 17 years since their return to the National Football League for the 1999 season after the original team moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens.
But after another failed pairing of a coach and general manager resulted in 18 losses in the last 21 games and a 10-22 record in two years, the Browns have embraced a new approach, the use of analytics in the decision-making process. At the time of his hiring, Jackson embraced the use of analytics to help the organization improve the talent on the roster.
“These guys are tremendous,” Jackson said in his introductory press conference. “I know everybody is talking about analytics and all those things. Please trust me. I am going to have an opportunity to work with some of the smartest men in football. I’ve been in a lot of different buildings, but I have never had an opportunity to sit down with two of the brightest minds in football in doing what they do.”
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Article Courtesy of WKYC Channel 3 News Cleveland
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