Is it possible that the Cleveland Browns finally have an owner who knows what he’s doing—or rather knows when he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but that he has somebody who does? The organization has undergone major renovation not simply from just last season, but from the middle of last season, and it certainly doesn’t feel as though Jimmy Haslam has had a ton to do with it all.
Since the start of last season, the head coaching position has gone from Hue Jackson to Gregg Williams to Freddie Kitchens. The defensive coordinator position has gone from Williams to Steve Wilks. The offensive coordinator position has gone from Todd Haley to Kitchens and now to Todd Monken.
But Kitchens will be calling his own plays.
The person that has been spearheading this process is general manager Jon Dorsey, who was part of yet another midseason shakeup in 2017 when the Browns let go of their previous general manager whose name I’m not invested enough to recall at this time—nevermind, it was Sashi Brown—bringing in the veteran from Green Bay and Kansas City.
One of the notable things that we heard from Dorsey during the team’s press conference in introducing Kitchens as the next head coach was that, as had not been the case in the past, Kitchens will be expected to report directly to Dorsey, rather than to Haslam.
“Freddie and I are going to work together on a day-in and day-out basis”, he told reporters. “There’s a belief of a traditional structure model in place and sometimes I think that’s best. But at the end of the day, Freddie and I are going to make an unbelievable amount of decisions together in unison, because we are such likeminded in our thinking. We are going to have daily and weekly conversations with ownership”.
In Pittsburgh, Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert make unified decisions, but Tomlin does not report to Colbert. They both report directly to Art Rooney II.
As Cleveland.com notes, it’s significant that Haslam did not address the media during the whole process, which has been out of character for him during his time as the Browns’ owner. They were in attendance at the press conference, but merely as observers. It was also Dorsey who oversaw the hiring of the myriad of assistant coaching positions that they forcibly vacated.
“My job is I know a lot individuals in this thing, but I think we do it together and we bounce ideas off each other all the time”, he said of one of the new assistants he brought in. “I’ll make a suggestion or two and if he likes it, he’ll act on it. That’s why we always talk. We’re always talking together to get the overarching goal, and that is let’s attack the task at hand and let’s get it right”.
If the Browns are becoming anybody’s ‘vision’, so to speak, it’s Dorsey’s. And frankly that may be the best thing they can do right now. Goodness knows everything else they’ve tried has failed.