The new front office executives hired by the Browns this offseason come from an analytics background, led by new chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, who was an important figure in Moneyball and a longtime baseball analytics guru.
But the Browns’ new head coach does not come from an analytics background, and a new ESPN Magazine profile of DePodesta suggests that coach Hue Jackson is likely to clash with the analytics people in Cleveland. The profile quotes a former NFL executive describing Jackson as “a very bad fit” for the approach DePodesta wants to take.
That executive also said Jackson’s coaching staff will not be on board with the analytics department’s decision making, and predicted that there will be fireworks in the draft room.
“It’s not just Hue Jackson,” the former executive said. “When data overrides gut, the majority of his coaching staff will all be there screaming, ‘What the f— are these computer guys doing? They don’t understand football, they don’t understand the locker room. They’re killing us.'”
For his part, Jackson has said there’s a process and a plan in Cleveland and he’s on board with it. But if the Browns struggle this season, questions will surely be raised about whether the analytics approach is in fundamental conflict with Jackson’s traditional football approach.