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My Experience with Analytics in the 80s...


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In the past, I've shared I coached football at the high school level in Upstate NY.  Anyway, the last 2 years of that I was a Head Freshman Football Coach - which also meant I was an Assistant Varsity Football Coach.  More specifically, the week didn't end with the game I coached. It ended with the game I scouted (the next week's opponent for the Varsity).  I got handed a thick pamphlet with base formations on offense, downs, distances and gains.  Each play, I completed the rest of the diagram/formation around the 5 OL and QB that were only pictured as well as where the play went before filling in the result of the play.  On defense, there was even more to diagram since coaches liked to vary there fronts.  Let's just say, the time constraints between plays kept our eyes freakin busy but we did it as a trio to make it as efficient as possible.

In any event, I was told all that was expected from our staff was to just document each play and that the Varsity Staff would organize it all at their meeting prior to the next week of preparation.  After the very 1st game of this - I felt like it would have been a huge dis-service to just leave a bunch of diagrams someone else has to organize and sort.  As a has been OL, I've always felt you have to FINISH your assignment.   So I did it.   FWIW, I got paid great cake so I didn't mind it.  In the process, I learned some great stuff around the offenses and defenses I was raised in.  Aside from that, some of our future opponents had to use the same offensive systems as their varsity teams so it also educated us.  This has always been a game where you get out of it what you put into it. The Head Varsity Coach called the AD and raved about the summary report of tendencies, strengths and collateral information that should be pertinent to the upcoming match-up. 

Why all this?  The Varsity Coach could have just Dorsey-Doe'd all my efforts to the garbage can which would have only created more week for his staff.  Like it or not, the game has always needed analytics to organize/summarize and consolidate info of opponents and players being researched.  You only get out of it what you put into it. I keep reading and hearing DePodesta doesn't have a football background at all prior to Cleveland.  Not true.  He played college football at Harvard; and he also interned for the CFL's Baltimore Stallions in 1995. That's more experience than he had in baseball prior to having success with 2 different MLB teams.

There's no denying how many mistakes Jimmy has made since he took over an on-going dumpster fire.  That said and I could be wrong here, I think Jimmy finally got the message that in order to promote an environment where his FO/Management/Personnel/Coaches all work together and trust each other - he had to set the philosophy and criteria of hire around it.  It didn't look like we ever had a total commitment to the Analytics - when parting shots from various egos only confirmed that point. 

JMO, the NFL doesn't owe Ron Wolf's kid a living.  Here's a concept - let him EARN it.  After Eliot Wolf and his right hand man Alonzo Highsmith arrived here, we had a drastic increase in our inventory of guys from the U of Miami (that should be playing for the XFL).  Why?  Were those major research shortcuts really that gotta-have or did Highsmith have an agenda and obligation to his alma mater?  And when I saw Dorsey over-celebrating his selection of Austin Corbett at the top of round 2 with a hug and grab-ass to whoever the guy was behind that research - who's kidding who?  Forget starters for a second - what keepers did they draft on the OL with all of the draft volume they inherited for the last 2 drafts?  Who?  Who are we training up for the future?  How about draft picks on the DL?  Okay Safety?  Who?  And Dorsey remains one of the only FO guys that thinks Greedy Williams was a legit 1st round pick he thinks he wasted our 2nd round pick on. Okay, now onto our situation at LBer.   Ticky-Taki has an abundance of film out there with nothing but arm tackles that Eliot, not to be confused with Ron, Wolf thought was an epic steal.  When Joe Schobert has been healthy here - he led the entire NFL in Tackles.  More specifically, we got some reward for the time spent training the guy.   Isn't that what it's supposed to be all about?  Instead, Dorsey decided this is another opening we need to create.  And why? Dorsey didn't draft him.   Someone else will now benefit from the training and Pro Bowl capability he now has.  That doesn't look like sunshine to me - especially when we're watching the growing pains of an inexperienced LB in his absence.  

While Dorsey made some nice picks with Mayfield, Ward and Chubb - he also created as much roster and coaching staff turnover after a 7-8-1 season as he did after an 0-16.  Some of that change didn't help our young QB unless someone wants to argue that it's ideal to give a young QB 3 different QB Coaches, and 4 or 5 different OCs before snap #1 in season #3. While we had one of the top FA spending allowances - what FAs (not to be confused with trading away players and draft picks for high priced players) did he sign?   While KC appreciated Dorsey's immediate impact, they also fired him for the vision or lack thereof following it unless someone wants to tell me how little Andy Reid knows about winning. While I don't like firing HCs all the time - I think a FO willing to put ego behind working together is a step forward from the direction Dorsey was starting to go in.  And I'm blasting myself for the frustration I shared just last Sunday when I say today that maybe Jimmy finally realized what he needs to make a FO work so whoever coaches this team has a shot at success.  I don't want Stefansky to be our OC when he was hired to be our HC - especially after watching Shurmur, Hue and Freddie fail miserably at it... Not that I have any choice but I'm willing to give these changes a chance for the reasons I've mentioned.  Fan isn't just a prefix of fantastic - it's just another reminder that we're all here because we're not all there...

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2 minutes ago, Dutch Oven said:

Oh no, no frustration from me.

I'm totally in. Can't wait... I'm sure they'll nail the Draft, then the season will unfold in front of us like a fairy tale!

(How do you change the font color to pink again?) 😁



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5 hours ago, tiamat63 said:

Can I get the TL:DR version?  Also, what did the analytics say about all the white people rocking wind-breakers back then?

With or without mullets? 

Basically, Flugs said that he's optimistic about the direction the Browns are heading because everyone seems to be on the same page. Not sure why he went off on a tangent in the middle of his thesis about sacrificing small children to appease some Viking god. I felt it took away from the main subject of his writing. 

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8 minutes ago, Dutch Oven said:

With or without mullets? 

Basically, Flugs said that he's optimistic about the direction the Browns are making because everyone seems to be on the same page. Not sure why he went off on a tangent in the middle of his thesis about sacrificing small children to appease some Viking god. I felt it took away from the main subject of his writing. 

See, that's called dedication.    You're not a viking so I wouldn't expect you to know shit about it, sir.  

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