By HCR Staff | Jan. 14, 2020
Based on his track record, any objective observer would have to conclude that Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has failed Browns fans thus far. He’s cycled through team presidents, head coaches and general managers at a rate that, as far as we can tell, is unprecedented in NFL history.
Coming off another double digit loss season, Haslam has once again terminated people in all the key positions. But this time, he’s trying something radically different–he’s going to make his Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta the de facto head coach and general manager of the team.
That’s right–DePodesta, who lives in San Diego, essentially will call all the on-field and off-field shots for the Browns.
Yes, we know the Browns just announced former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as head coach, and they are interviewing GM candidates (Andrew Berry and George Paton are the most current names).
But DePodesta ran the head coach hiring process, and he’s running the GM hiring process. DePodesta also possesses the Chief Strategy Officer title, and that encompasses duties that typically are reserved for head coaches and GMs.
Now we’re reading reports that Stefanski has to submit game plans for approval in advance to DePodesta, and that a DePodesta analytics staffer will be on the coaching headsets during games as well, and have access to the coaching staff.
This leads us to conclude that Haslam has allowed DePodesta to experiment with a system where the head coach and GM essentially are widgets to be manipulated by DePodesta as he sees fit. Stefanski and the future Browns GM simply will be empty vessels to carry out DePodesta’s orders.
We don’t follow Major League Baseball closely, but what the Browns are trying appears to be the norm in baseball. So perhaps it could work in the NFL. We doubt it, but given the Browns’ recent spectacular failures, what’s the harm in trying this?