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balero
01-05-2016, 10:20 AM
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/01/05/browns-hire-former-mlb-gm-paul-depodesta/

The Cleveland Browns hire former Los Angeles Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta as their "chief strategy officer".

DePodesta was Jonah Hill's character in the movie "Moneyball".

CEH
01-05-2016, 10:25 AM
Browns have a very different org chart with the coach reporting to the owner while the GM is really an analytics guy. Not sure it will work in the NFL where the personnel guy is looking at analytics independent of the coach.

Buffsroam
01-05-2016, 10:26 AM
He was a complete bust with the Dodgers. He will use his analytical data to further bury the Browns further.

Rohirrim
01-05-2016, 10:27 AM
Browns have lost all semblance of having a clue.

Mediator12
01-05-2016, 10:50 AM
This is extremely interesting. The one thing about football, is that it has so many confounding variables that it is almost impossible to analyze performance individually. Every play has so many moving parts that have to be accounted for in order to see what happens accurately, and all of it can not be translated to simple data points that are actually reliable or accurate in its assessment.

There have been plenty of people pushing the envelope on this, with PFF being the new grading performance standards, but even when the execution happens it can not really account for the subjective genius and ability of the play itself. Where it always struggles is in grading opportunity cost in the execution of this play versus that defense. It also struggles with matchups, situational football, personnel decisions, formation adjustments, scheme corrections, and ingenuity of routes and blocking schemes.

In short, you can only grade film on what you see happen on a given play. It is possible to do that, and coaches have been doing that forever in order to grade player performance. PFF has done an admirable job of trying to quantify that data and they are getting much better as time goes on.

Where they struggle, is applying performance data to skillset and scheme of the players. Chris Harris has been their goldenboy CB the last few years and he has earned that based on his playing record alone. He has done what was asked of him as good or better as any other CB in the NFL the last 3 years. You can not dispute that if you watch the film. However, is he the most gifted and talented CB capable of covering anyone 1v1 in man coverage anywhere on the field. NO. Just ask Antonio Brown how that went down.

So, while measuring the performance of players is fairly simple, and always has been with game tape (PFF is just the first to be so ambitious to watch and grade every NFL play for every player) translating that performance out of that system still remains the prize for analytics in football.

You all know how much this stuff fascinates me because of what I do with changing performance in my own life. I just could never understand the amazing organizational disconnect in NFL franchises over how the organization acquires and attempts to acquire players of certain talents and skillsets. I have spoken with many NFL coaches and Front office people over the years about this and even the most current teams still struggle mightily in connecting the front office with the coaches in this aspect.

The thing about hiring DePodesta is this: it looks like the Browns are willing to change more than just people in charge of a poorly working system. They are going for broke on completely changing the way that team is going to acquire and use talent whether it be coaching or playing. It was bound to happen somewhere and they literally have NOTHING to lose. I can not wait to see how it functions and if it can have any success at all at the NFL level. We shall see!

DarkHorse30
01-05-2016, 10:52 AM
Hahaha - now they should hire McDunce'l, while Miami hires Coughlin to be the perpetual thorn in Belicheater-giant man boobs' side

Rohirrim
01-05-2016, 11:01 AM
This is extremely interesting. The one thing about football, is that it has so many confounding variables that it is almost impossible to analyze performance individually. Every play has so many moving parts that have to be accounted for in order to see what happens accurately, and all of it can not be translated to simple data points that are actually reliable or accurate in its assessment.

There have been plenty of people pushing the envelope on this, with PFF being the new grading performance standards, but even when the execution happens it can not really account for the subjective genius and ability of the play itself. Where it always struggles is in grading opportunity cost in the execution of this play versus that defense. It also struggles with matchups, situational football, personnel decisions, formation adjustments, scheme corrections, and ingenuity of routes and blocking schemes.

In short, you can only grade film on what you see happen on a given play. It is possible to do that, and coaches have been doing that forever in order to grade player performance. PFF has done an admirable job of trying to quantify that data and they are getting much better as time goes on.

Where they struggle, is applying performance data to skillset and scheme of the players. Chris Harris has been their goldenboy CB the last few years and he has earned that based on his playing record alone. He has done what was asked of him as good or better as any other CB in the NFL the last 3 years. You can not dispute that if you watch the film. However, is he the most gifted and talented CB capable of covering anyone 1v1 in man coverage anywhere on the field. NO. Just ask Antonio Brown how that went down.

So, while measuring the performance of players is fairly simple, and always has been with game tape (PFF is just the first to be so ambitious to watch and grade every NFL play for every player) translating that performance out of that system still remains the prize for analytics in football.

You all know how much this stuff fascinates me because of what I do with changing performance in my own life. I just could never understand the amazing organizational disconnect in NFL franchises over how the organization acquires and attempts to acquire players of certain talents and skillsets. I have spoken with many NFL coaches and Front office people over the years about this and even the most current teams still struggle mightily in connecting the front office with the coaches in this aspect.

The thing about hiring DePodesta is this: it looks like the Browns are willing to change more than just people in charge of a poorly working system. They are going for broke on completely changing the way that team is going to acquire and use talent whether it be coaching or playing. It was bound to happen somewhere and they literally have NOTHING to lose. I can not wait to see how it functions and if it can have any success at all at the NFL level. We shall see!

In other words, it's an oddly shaped ball that takes funny hops. ;D

Mediator12
01-05-2016, 11:07 AM
In other words, it's an oddly shaped ball that takes funny hops. ;D

REALLY ;D

It had to start somewhere in the NFL and Cleveland is pretty hard up anyway. I think it will also greatly influence the composition of the next front office and coaching staff. Analytics is not for old school guys at any level.

I actually think it is worth the huge risk for them. I just hope they have a coaching staff to apply all the analytics though or it will fail heavily in the NFL.

Rohirrim
01-05-2016, 11:07 AM
REALLY ;D

It had to start somewhere in the NFL and Cleveland is pretty hard up anyway. I think it will also greatly influence the composition of the next front office and coaching staff. Analytics is not for old school guys at any level.

I actually think it is worth the huge risk for them. I just hope they have a coaching staff to apply all the analytics though or it will fail heavily in the NFL.

Like you say, they have nothing left to lose.

ColoradoDarin
01-05-2016, 11:28 AM
Cleveland hit rock bottom before Johnny Football did?

I am genuinely shocked.

Requiem
01-05-2016, 11:39 AM
If they combine this with slinging darts at a board of player names for their personnel decisions they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Rohirrim
01-05-2016, 11:39 AM
If they combine this with slinging darts at a board of player names for their personnel decisions they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Hilarious!

24champ
01-05-2016, 11:42 AM
Wow....Depodesta? Really? Guy was a massive failure with the Dodgers. Depodesta is a ok/good scout, cog in the wheel guy for baseball front offices because he is smart with numbers but as a GM or guy making the decisions, he sucks. Cleveland...

http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/6c/6cd5b48646f903b66d2e6d10e73bc4ef6f74b38b550fbaf724 b9f9e821f0da8b.jpg

TonyR
01-05-2016, 11:45 AM
Wow....Depodesta? Really? Guy was a massive failure with the Dodgers. Depodesta is a ok/good scout, cog in the wheel guy for baseball front offices because he is smart with numbers but as a GM or guy making the decisions, he sucks. Cleveland...

But did a great job with the Mets, to the extent he deserves credit for that terrific young pitching staff.

bronco militia
01-05-2016, 11:59 AM
hiring a baseball guy to run the football side of the building. what could possibly go wrong?!?!

jmz313
01-05-2016, 12:04 PM
REALLY ;D

It had to start somewhere in the NFL and Cleveland is pretty hard up anyway. I think it will also greatly influence the composition of the next front office and coaching staff. Analytics is not for old school guys at any level.

I actually think it is worth the huge risk for them. I just hope they have a coaching staff to apply all the analytics though or it will fail heavily in the NFL.

Is it really a risk? They have no where to go but up. They gotta try something. But, as you imply, the consumption of the data by the coaches will be key. Coaches by nature will not want to be told their eye tests are wrong.

Paladin
01-05-2016, 12:11 PM
They hired a numbers guy to drive talent acquisition and schematic designs?

bronco militia
01-05-2016, 12:14 PM
Is it really a risk? They have no where to go but up. They gotta try something. But, as you imply, the consumption of the data by the coaches will be key. Coaches by nature will not want to be told their eye tests are wrong.

here's a novel idea: why don't they try keeping the same coaching staff and front office for 3 seasons?! Hilarious!

Bronco X
01-05-2016, 12:16 PM
hiring a baseball guy to run the football side of the building. what could possibly go wrong?!?!

Have there been any other examples of an executive who switched sports? The only one I can think of is John Weisbrod, a hockey guy who was the Orlando Magic GM for two years before going back to hockey. Not sure there's any reason to think this can work, but hey... it's the Cleveland Browns.

IndelibleScribe
01-05-2016, 12:23 PM
Have there been any other examples of an executive who switched sports? The only one I can think of is John Weisbrod, a hockey guy who was the Orlando Magic GM for two years before going back to hockey. Not sure there's any reason to think this can work, but hey... it's the Cleveland Browns.

Mickey Loomis is the president of the Pelicans. He oversees the franchise and Dell Demps reports to him.

I think there have been a couple in baseball but I cannot remember off the top of my head.


As far as the hiring of DePodesta goes. I think that this is a push from the Browns to become more analytical in nature.
I doubt he will be the actual GM but more along the lines of helping to structure the FO with a combination of old school and new.

Elway is big on analytics and the FO reflects that.

24champ
01-05-2016, 12:53 PM
But did a great job with the Mets, to the extent he deserves credit for that terrific young pitching staff.

First of all, a lot of people deserve credit for that pitching staff. Depodesta played a role but let's not act like he made that staff because he didn't. Look, as I said he's a fine cog in a wheel, front office staff guy. He is really smart, but it's a different role when you are overseeing the entire organization.

He's got a title of Chief Strategy officer. Far as I know, nobody has that title in the NFL and he only answers to the Owner. I can foresee a lot of issues with the incoming coaching staff.

B-Large
01-05-2016, 01:15 PM
When the "Browns" are mentioned, congress should pass a law Benny Hill theme song must play....

Smiling Assassin27
01-05-2016, 01:15 PM
I said it before and I'll say it again. Unless the Browns are hiring Ozzie Newsome, this amounts to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

B-Large
01-05-2016, 01:26 PM
hiring a baseball guy to run the football side of the building. what could possibly go wrong?!?!

If he's an experienced Executive, who knows how to get good people in place, they may be okay.

USMCBladerunner
01-05-2016, 04:56 PM
Meds post was great. Rep.

This is pretty interesting, but I'm not sure what it means. What does a chief strategist do? Player analytics?...sure. Situational football strategy?...perhaps.

That they hired a baseball guy to do this is even more interesting. I don't think it will work, but Cleveland has nothing to lose.

Punisher
01-05-2016, 05:32 PM
They should of hired me

DivineLegion
01-05-2016, 07:49 PM
Why is this so revolutionary? John Elway is all in on analitics, and even asked the NFL rules commission if he could have his analytic team on the side line, but was rejected. If anything this shows the Brown's are just riding a trend not paving the way.

Mediator12
01-06-2016, 12:33 PM
The use of analytics—or the systematic analysis of data and statistics—is not a new concept in professional sports.

I think we need to take a look at exactly what analytics is and is not right now. A ton of NFL teams use analytics software to create detailed game reports based on tendencies and situations of the plays that are used by coaches to create a strategy for the game plans they create for each team the face every week. That is commonly referred to as analytics in the NFL.

There is also the use of Analytics in tracking player performance as I talked about yesterday. Included with that, are many factors that are hard to truly separate as being causes for performance on any given day. There are also analytics into situational football, nutrition, conditioning, film study, technique, etc.

So, let's just see exactly what CLE is doing here with Analytics:

1. They have hired a full time analytics consultant (Chief Strategy Officer) to report to the owner in DePodesta. This IS new. No one else in the NFL does this. His job is to evaluate every aspect of the on and off field football operations and advise on how to do anything better in the future. In this case, analytics refers to all kinds of Process analysis which is what I do every single day. Whether it be business, scouting, personnel, or relational processes. It is a holistic approach to the organization with a LOT more oversight into success and failure without focusing on who made the failure, but HOW to fix it going forward.

"Paul has invaluable experience in management and leadership with a number of highly successful sports teams," Brown said in a statement. "His ability to create better processes and systems throughout organizations, his use of data as a tool to produce better outcomes, and his relentless focus on looking for innovative ways to create more success will be a strong asset as we look to be as comprehensive as possible in our decision making."

This would be my dream job and it looks like someone is finally doing it!

2. Sashi Brown Vice President of football operations is in charge of the football operations. It also opened up a strange loophole that allows teams to refuse letting their own people interview for CLE. Nevertheless, CLE gave him the authority over personnel issues and administration issues. The GM, really a personnel Director, will report to him not the other way around. This is NEW.

3. Alex Scheiner is the club President in control of the business side of the Browns. No one is talking about how HE fits in here. Scheiner is a huge fan of business and sports analytics and hired a guy named Ken Kovash to track the analytics for CLE.

My thoughts are that with the latest traditional structure fail with Manziel, Mingo, Justin Gilbert, and possibly Danny Sheldon being first round major underperformers the last 2 years with the old scouting system that Kovash's analytics could have shown a different story. Behind the scenes Kovash advocated for different players, and now that the team has had the opportunity to look back over those reports it showed Farmer and Pettine to the door.

So, what is truly interesting here is the Dream I had 10 years ago about changing the horribly outdated ways of scouting and personnel acquisition are coming to fruition with the new emphasis on analytics. It has already invaded the business side of the NFL and been hugely successful there. Now, it is being injected into the organizational structure of at least 1 miserably failing NFL team. CLE has nothing to lose and everything to gain if they can be the first to the party and make it work.

The one thing I really think is missing is the relationship side in the buildings. EVERYONE is talking about how important it is to have a great working relationship among the Front office and coaches. It is still a huge struggle for most NFL teams. The other side of this is the scouting players aspect with Social Intelligence and mental acuity of players being the main reason for most NFL players failures. That is not an analytics thing, but mental emphasis. There is no question in my mind this is the last barrier to more successful drafting for teams. Hopefully, that is the next step for the NFL ;D

Rohirrim
01-06-2016, 12:49 PM
Sounds really interesting, but I still think you have to have somebody on your scout team who can look a college player in the eye and get a gut feeling for what kind of heart they have. This, to me, is the biggest hurdle to good drafting. Remember, Ryan Leaf excelled in every analyzable category. Some guys just want the payday and don't really care about anything else. Some don't really want to play anymore, but have no other options to make that kind of money having gotten a degree in basket weaving. Some are idiots and others are aholes and will jack up your lockerroom. Some just can't make the psychological transition to the professional life. How do you feed character into the numbers? ;D

IndelibleScribe
01-06-2016, 12:57 PM
The GM is the biggest key for Cleveland now. The structure is changed but the quality of the GM will be the most important factor in making this work.
He will have to be a new age and forward thinking type. He has to mesh well with DePodesta and find the right HC.

Mediator12
01-06-2016, 01:04 PM
Sounds really interesting, but I still think you have to have somebody on your scout team who can look a college player in the eye and get a gut feeling for what kind of heart they have. This, to me, is the biggest hurdle to good drafting. Remember, Ryan Leaf excelled in every analyzable category. Some guys just want the payday and don't really care about anything else. Some don't really want to play anymore, but have no other options to make that kind of money having gotten a degree in basket weaving. Some are idiots and others are aholes and will jack up your lockerroom. Some just can't make the psychological transition to the professional life. How do you feed character into the numbers? ;D

That is what I am talking about in the last paragraph. As much as I hate Polian, he had the smarts to hire a renowned sports Psychologist to differentiate Leaf and Manning as well as Edgerrin James versus Ricky Williams after the Marshall Faulk trade. You used to get the top players at the combine to do mental testing, but most Agents are not allowing their clients to do this there any more.

KCStud
01-06-2016, 01:05 PM
Analytics have been used for years in the NFL, specifically in draft season to make big boards.

Chiefs GM uses the Decision Lens program which he learned in GB, so Seattle and Oakland use it as well.
Plug every aspect of a players athleticism/body structure into the program and filter Out the best athletes. Then meet with them to evaluate their heart/football IQ etc.

Richard Sherman is a good example. He was a tall, long CB with Above average size hands, solid strength and ran a nice 40/3 cone time for what was there in round 5. He was obviously filtered as the best athletic player left so late.
Add in his elite intelligence, passion and confidence and there Ya go.

I don't really see a big difference in baseball or football when it comes to this. Same concept really.