Team Berry arrives in Indianapolis this week to begin putting its mark on the fledgling Cleveland Browns as skeptical fans fear the heavy influence of analytics on the process.
‘I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend, You could cut ties with all the lies that you’ve been living in, And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand, I would understand’
Little did Third Eye Blind know that their lyrics would one day have a direct correlation to the Cleveland Browns and their loyal, passionate fan base. As the latest of many iterations of the franchise’s football management team heads to Indy, we find ourselves on the ledge, remembering the past and fearing the immediate future.
For the sycophants who continue to drink the Kool-Aid, more power to them, but until the Cleveland Browns demonstrate an ability to execute and sustain a successful blueprint, anything less than total skepticism would be naive. We’ve all seen this show before and we all have the t-shirt, so until the team’s hierarchy has the track record to dispel the Cleveland Browns’ own definition of insanity, color us dubious.
For the first time in forever, the cupboard is far from bare at First Energy Stadium. Instead, Andrew Berry heads to Indianapolis armed with the actual foundation of a football team. The perennial search for a quarterback is over. There’s talent and depth at the skill positions. The defense features an elite pass rusher and tremendous talent at the corners. There are football players on the roster. Not statistics and 40 times and SPARQ scores, but actual living, breathing, hitting football players.
Herein lies the rub. With “alignment” being the catchphrase du jour in Berea these days and that matrix being heavily rooted in analytics, are we about to embark on an overzealous commitment to numbers at the expense of players passing the football eye test? The dyed-in-the-wool football types have left the building, leaving behind Andrew Berry and his merry band of spreadsheet-clutching Ivy Leaguers. Be afraid, be very afraid. Or at least leery until we’re proven wrong, happily.