The Cleveland Browns' miserable season isn't even over yet, but there's already been a big shakeup of the organization. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam fired Sashi Brown, executive vice president of football operations, hired John Dorsey as general manager, and announced he's keeping Coach Hue Jackson. The Browns are 1-24 since Brown was promoted and Jackson was hired in 2016, so both would seem to share the blame. But Crain's Cleveland sports journalist Kevin Kleps said Brown was responsible for making lousy trade decisions that put the team where it is today.
"Just not getting the quarterback right is the biggest strike against him. When you look at what Carson Wentz is doing in Philadelphia, that's a pick that the Browns had in No 2 with 2016 that they traded out of. And then when you look at what DeShawn Watson did briefly with the Houstan Texans this year. That's a pick that the Browns also had at No. 12 in 2017, and both times, Sashi Brown decided to trade down and not take those quarterbacks and accumulate more draft picks."
Kleps said that would be fine if Brown got the QB slot figured out. But rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has struggled all year with his accuracy. He's thrown only 6 touchdowns, has been picked off 15 times by opponents and has completed just 52.5 percent of his passes. He's got a 58.1 quarterback rating (that's the NFL's way of assessing the overall performance of a quarterback). Compare that to the Philadelphia Eages' Wentz, who's got 29 TD's, just 6 interceptions and is rated one of the best in the NFL at 102.
"They've never figured a way to get the quarteback right, and that's the biggest indictment against him," said Kleps of Sashi Brown. "He does have his share of defenders because of the amount of draft picks he accumulated and because of the position he put the Browns in to strike in next year's draft."
Brown also bungled an attempted deal to get A.J. McCarron from the Cincinnati Bengals.
"It's kinda strange that a 1-27 coach seems to have won a power struggle, but right now, that's what it looks like. John Dorsey could change [Browns owner] Jimmy Haslam's mind and say, 'We probably should go in a different direction after these last four big games are over,' and I wouldn't totally rule that out because it's the Browns," said Kleps. "This is a really strange dynamic and I'm surprised Haslam announced that yesterday in the press release. There's no need to say Hue Jackson is coming back. Let the general manager decide that. It was just...it was bizarre."
In a statement, Sashi Brown thanked the people he worked with. "We were committed and aggressive in our approach, even if unorthodox at times," he wrote. "We made dramatic changes and put in place a foundation on which championships can be built." Brown's method focused heavily on analytics, which reportedly bothered the more traditional approach Jackson takes to assessing football talent. Kleps said Brown's approach could have worked.
"What they did, just if you look at the value they got in these trades, it's perfectly fine. In a lot of cases, they seem to have gotten more than they could have. But when you accumulate these assets, you have to do something with them," he said.
John Dorsey will be introduced by Browns top brass Friday. During his four years as GM for the Chiefs, Kansas City had a 43-21 record and reached the playoffs three times. He was fired in June, reportedly for his management style and poor communication with other members of the Chiefs organization. He was a longtime scout for the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks prior to the position with the Chiefs.
"He's got a very good reputation. He's more of a scout type, where Sashi Brown was a former attorney," said Kleps. "John Dorsey has a really strong scouting background and he's also really comfortable with analytics. So this could be the ideal combination for the Browns, someone who's scouted players but also isn't against using numbers to back it up."