General manager John Dorsey will lead the search for the next Cleveland Browns coach, a team spokesman confirmed Wednesday.
The next coach will replace Hue Jackson, who was fired Oct. 29, one day after a loss in Pittsburgh. The final decision on selecting the coach will be made by Dorsey and owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, with Dorsey’s recommendation weighing heavily.
The decision is significant because Jimmy and Dee Haslam led the search to hire Jackson, and Haslam assisted Joe Banner in the search to hire Mike Pettine and Rob Chudzinski. For a variety of reasons, chiefly not enough wins, none of the coaches lasted three years.
Dorsey’s experience in scouting and player personnel give him strong contacts throughout the NFL and in college football. He has not commented yet on how he might go about the search.
In a best-case scenario, the right coach could bring the team together for future success.
The team’s future organizational structure after the new hire has yet to be determined. Haslam previously had it where the coach and GM/VP reported to him. Having the coach report to Dorsey would be an option.
Free-agent wide receiver Dez Bryant, prodded by Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey to come in for a tryout, said on Twitter on Thursday night that he’s starting his visits next week and that Cleveland will be on his list.
Starting my visits next week…I’m coming to the Land to see you Mr Dorsey
Dorsey had told reporters before the Browns’ preseason game against the New York Giants on Thursday night that he had called Bryant to ask him to come in for a workout, but Bryant hadn’t returned his calls.
Bryant then took to Twitter to tell Dorsey, as well as his 3.5 million followers, that he wouldn’t mind playing for the Browns but that he isn’t ready yet. He said he was still getting himself ready and was enjoying spending time with his children.
A couple of hours later, Bryant had reconsidered and tweeted his decision that he was “starting my visits next week,” including with Cleveland.
Bryant, a three-time Pro Bowler, was released in April after an eight-year Cowboys run in which he became the franchise leader in touchdown receptions. He turned down a multi-year offer from the Baltimore Ravens, ESPN reported, in hopes of getting a bigger long-term deal in 2019.
Dorsey said he wants to bring in a group of receivers next week to help fortify a position where the Browns keep taking hits. On Sunday, they traded Corey Coleman to the Buffalo Bills, then Antonio Callaway, a fourth-round pick who was expected to take Coleman’s place, was cited for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license.
Callaway had numerous off-field problems while he was at Florida and is already in Stage 1 of the NFL’s substance-abuse program after he provided a diluted urine sample at the league’s combine in February. Callaway traveled with the team and was expected to play Thursday night in the Browns game against the Giants.
Wide receiver Josh Gordon voluntarily left the team as part of his aftercare in the NFL’s drug addiction treatment program, and the Browns are not sure when he will return. Backup Ricardo Louis will miss the season after having neck surgery.
The Cleveland Browns general manager met the media Thursday morning and provided little inkling into what direction the team is heading with the first and fourth picks of the NFL draft.
“The draft is seven days away,” Dorsey said. “I like where we are in the process.”
Dorsey talked a few specifics about players but repeated his process mantra even when asked if the Browns would go best player or best quarterback with the first pick.
“There’s still a couple days to get this thing where we want it to be,” said Dorsey, who will have the final say in a draft that will be vital in rebuilding the Browns from the wreckage of a winless 2017 season.
Dorsey met Thursday afternoon with the front office, scouts, coach Hue Jackson and the offensive coaches. He will repeat the process by meeting with the defensive staff on Friday. From those lengthy meetings should come some consensus.
Like many Browns front-office types before him, Dorsey promised consensus will not be difficult to achieve.
“If you are like-minded in your thinking, you’ll be able to see the same things,” he said.
In explaining his process, Dorsey relied more on traditional football scouting, with visual evaluation more important than analytics.
He described his system as rooted in listening to every bit of information he can find and being prudent and patient.
“But also, trust your eyes watching film,” he said.
If that is true, he must have a good feeling about three players who, unlike the top quarterbacks, did not make pre-draft visits to the Browns facility: running back Saquon Barkley, defensive end Bradley Chubb and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.
“All three of them are awesome kids,” Dorsey said. “What more do you need to know about them?”
Regarding the top quarterbacks, Dorsey said four should go in the first round and that five may. He said fixing Sam Darnold’s fumbling issue is not difficult, Josh Rosen is a “broad thinker” and “a neat kid,” and Baker Mayfield is “a pleasant fella.”
“The only thing I care about is, do guys win?” Dorsey said. “Does he have accuracy? Does he have a strong arm? Can he throw the ball in the red zone in tight windows? Can he drive the ball? At the end of the game, does he win? That’s what I look for.”
Dorsey said he will continue to listen to trade offers and will right up to draft day, but he noted that he would not expect any trade possibilities to get serious until next Thursday.
“My phone is still on,” Dorsey said. “The power’s on.”
As for anyone speculating or guessing the Browns’ choice, Dorsey said he pays no attention.
“I go black in this time of year,” he said. “I mean for a month, I don’t listen to radio, I don’t watch TV, and I don’t pick up the newspaper. I kind of sit there. I think scouting. When you do that, you see the purity of information. You see the facts, and you see the film without listening to the outside white noise.