Analytics is a word that gets Cleveland Browns fans riled up and while they might think they escaped it with Jim Schwartz, that’s not the case
Cleveland Browns fans have been debating for years about something they truly don’t understand — the use of analytics in football operations. Sure, they bought in during the early days of the Sashi Brown regime as he was stockpiling picks but when the losses started, there was a revolt against analytics.
It became a taboo word and then the dawg pound rejoiced when renowned “football guy” and analytics hater John Dorsey came to town. Of course, he too had his share of issues and was gone in the blink of an eye.
Then, Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski joined forces and the A-Word was prevalent again. But since they’ve had two losing seasons in a row, that term is again the enemy. That was seen when Cleveland searched for a new defensive coordinator and fans were irate over the interview of Sean Desai, an ivy-league graduate with a Ph.D.
Of course, there was an exhale when Jim Schwartz was hired. He wasn’t Brian Flores, who most people wanted, but he has a bit of a mean streak and has coached up some great defenses. And most importantly, he’s a football guy with a Super Bowl ring — no way he’s an analytics nerd, right?
Jim Schwartz is definitely an analytics believer and according to Cory Kinnan of Browns Wire, he’s a “massive nerd.”
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Kinnan discusses how Schwartz reached out to Aaron Schatz, founder of Football Outsiders, and discussed analytics in the NFL when the site was just getting started. Of course, it wasn’t a common term at the time, so no one hated it as they do now.
In addition to this, Kinnan brought up the fact that Schwartz didn’t go to an Ivy League school but still went the prestigious route as he earned a degree in economics at Georgetown — the same major Paul DePodesta (AKA Public Enemy No. 1) has.
But most importantly, he touched on how good Schwartz has been when it comes to running an NFL defense. He’s had success against the run and the pass and was always in the top half of defenses in the league during his five seasons in Philadelphia.
General manager Andrew Berry tried to explain how analytics is just a tool and it is. It’s also been around much longer than anyone thinks since it’s basically breaking down the data — which every single team does.
The difference is, the Browns are open with how often they use the numbers and while Schwartz might not seem like it since he has an edge to him, he’s as much of a believer as anyone else in Berea. Like it or not, that’s a good thing.