Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Cleveland Browns are reworking their staff in an effort to shake things up and bring in better results, and this time it’s totally definitely going to work. Except there is some logic to it this time. There is always some logic, until we realize in hindsight why the first plan didn’t work.
The current plan seems to be to throw the moneyball philosophy out the window. Perhaps not wholesale, though they is still in play. But the changes that they have made to their front office this season clearly signal a shift in philosophy from new school to old school.
The acquisition of John Dorsey as the Brown’s new general manager was the first step. In contrast to Sashi Brown, Dorsey has a football background, and is considered a ‘football guy’. He played linebacker for the Green Bay Packers in the 1980s for five seasons and then cut his teeth through that organization.
Shortly after his playing career ended, he became a scout for the organization before working his way up to director of scouting, a post he held for over a decade. He left for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013 to take a shot at general manager.
Now he has another shot, and he is bringing the Packers band back together. Two of the first moves in the Dorsey era (eras frequently don’t last very long in Cleveland, mind you) have been to bring in some old blood from the Green Bay front office.
It’s a good time, too, since the Packers are doing some cleaning house this offseason after they failed to make the postseason, shaking up both their coaching staff and their front office. Departing Green Bay for Cleveland are Eliot Wolf, named assistant general manager, and Alonzo Highsmith, named director of football operations.
Wolf his a highly sought-after commodity as one of the younger risers among executives, currently just 35 years old. He, too, cut his teeth in the Packers organization, rising from pro personnel assistant in 2004 to director of football operations. He is the son of longtime Packers general manager Ron Wolf, who also presided over the Raiders for the better part of three decades prior to that. He is in the Hall of Fame.
Highsmith, like Dorsey, comes from a playing background, a third-overall draft pick in 1987. He played for three teams as a fullback and running back, though he joined the executive ranks late, joining the Packers’ front office in 2012, previously serving as a scout beginning in 1999.
These additions are a radical departure from the Ivy League minds that were ushered in with Hue Jackson being installed as head coach. And perhaps this is an approach that better suits a coach like Jackson, whom the owners appear to be loyal to, for at least another season, despite having the worst two-season span in NFL history.