Much has been made in both local and national media circles about the process of how the Browns will appoint their new HC and GM. Initially, it seemed unclear as to what path this process was going take. However, in recent days this has become much clearer. All paths lead to Paul DePodesta, the Browns’ chief strategy officer, who will conduct the search for the next HC. The final decision lies with a group comprising of ownership and upper management consisting of both Dee and Jimmy Haslam and their son-in-law JW Johnson.
DePodesta has been involved in previous HC searches, favoring Sean McDermott over Hue Jackson and advocating for Kevin Stefanski in the last search over Freddy Kitchens. Perhaps the third time is the charm for DePodesta, who appears to retain the ears of ownership and has remained a constant when all around him has changed. This is why the process, this time around is crucial. With ownership in a “Can’t fail” position, it would be advisable for them to analyze the mistakes they have made in the past and avoid having competing interests in the building at all costs.
Reasons to be hopeful
When we hear of candidates whom we may not regard as “Top candidates”, we should pause for a moment and consider the importance of this process. It is imperative for the organization to leave no stone unturned; interviewing as many suitable candidates and exploring every avenue possible is the correct approach. Building an image of a credible search can but positively impact an organization who has suffered badly on the PR front in recent days and weeks; this process can help rebuild its tarnished image and hopefully lead to the best candidate being appointed.
Jimmy Haslam, in his end of season press conference, alluded to the process and how it will be seen to completion this time around, clearly stating the power structure of the organization as follows:
- DePodesta running HC search
- Ownership/management group to select HC
- New HC will have input to GM selection
- Both GM and HC to report to ownership
This clearly sets out responsibilities for the individuals involved and how the relationship between operations/strategy function of the organization will be kept separate from the football side, with DePodesta showing no inclination to get involved in a GM role himself. Also, the decision to hire the HC first and to allow him to have input into who is hired as GM, should eliminate the friction which has been rife in the last two administrations between the “football guys” and the “analytics guys”, allowing for a forward-thinking cohesive approach across the front office.
With ownership aligning themselves with DePodesta and a HC in lockstep with his GM, there are reasons to be optimistic as a browns fan for the coming season. The Haslam’s ownership of the Browns has been fraught with front office tensions and internal power struggles. At the very least, this issue appears to have been dealt with in this round of sweeping changes. The proof of the pudding will, however, be seen in the eating. The fan base firmly in “show me some Ws” mood, with the passing of a season full to the brim with expectation and ultimately delivering nothing.
Slan go bhfoile