CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – New Browns general manager John Dorsey has his hands full as he begins the unenviable task of trying to resurrect a once proud franchise turned doormat and laughingstock of the NFL.
Hired on Dec. 7 to replace executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, Dorsey has 3 key issues staring him in the face as he begins his work in Cleveland: evaluating the state of the roster, figuring out if he can work with head coach Hue Jackson and finding a quarterback.
All 3 of those issues were addressed in an interview with 92.3 The Fan Tuesday afternoon with Adam ‘the Bull’ and Dustin Fox.
First, the roster.
Dorsey joked that he’s “not a wordsmith” and that comments he made last week in a radio interview concerning Brown not adding “real players” the last 2 years were taken out of context, and so he clarified them with Bull and Fox.
“My intent was to say we don’t have enough good football players,” Dorsey said. “There’s some good football players on this team, and if I have it my way, we’ll have more [good] football [players]. And we’ll create that competitive depth at every position that you [need] in order to succeed and move forward. That’s what I’m gonna do.
“Are there some good football players on this team? You bet there are, but you know what? We’re gonna get some more good football players on this team and we’re gonna get some W’s here, too.”
As it stands right now (2017 Pro Bowlers will be announced soon so this is subject to change) but the Browns are just 1 of only 3 teams that have not netted a single Pro Bowl player from the 2012-2017 NFL Drafts, hence the team’s 20-74 mark since 2012.
Dorsey also made it clear, his intent was not to publicly criticize Brown or the work he did.
“I don’t take shots at past regimes,” Dorsey said. “Sashi is a good person and I’m gonna try to do things the way I think will help this organization move forward.”
Dorsey will answer directly to Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, meaning that he does not have the authority to fire Jackson regardless of the team’s record at the end of the season.
“Hue and I have a really good relationship,” Dorsey said. “I think ownership has said that Hue would be back. I’m excited to work with him here. I’ve been really impressed with how Hue messages to the players. I’ve always thought head coaches should be leaders of men.”
Dorsey was pressed twice more on the Jackson front – if it is 100 percent Jackson would be back, and if he had the choice would he bring Jackson back to which he simply replied both times: “I think ownership has spoken on that question.”
Since taking over as GM, Dorsey has had several conversations with Jackson about moving forward together.
“We’ve had great conversations, and part of those conversations have been talking about trying to build that strategic plan for the 2018 season as well,” Dorsey said. “And I think as long as the head coach and the GM are on the same mindset, I have to understand — this is how I view things — I want to understand what makes the Cleveland Browns’ offense successful by position. I want to understand what makes the Cleveland Browns’ defense successful by positional specifics. Once I get that clear objective of that, I can go get the types of players for this coaching staff to move forward and create that competition that we continually talk about.”
As it stands today the Browns are positioned to pick first and fifth in the upcoming draft which is prime real estate to take a quarterback. Cleveland has started 28 different ones since 1999 and the odds that Dorsey will seek No. 29 are pretty high.
“This is a quarterback-driven league. We all know that,” Dorsey said. “First and foremost I think it is imperative for DeShone [Kizer] to play the next 2 games out and show some growth moving forward and understand if you do make mistakes, lets learn from those mistakes and lets move forward.”
Dorsey has already begun the evaluation process of the upcoming draft class of quarterbacks.
“By no means it is set in stone right now. I think we’re in the first phase,” Dorsey said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do there but the cupboard isn’t bare in this class.”
Dorsey was also asked if there was anything that could prevent him from taking a QB atop the draft.
“You know what? We’ll see when it comes,” Dorsey said. “I’ve always been a guy that’s take the best available player. I’m not gonna show my hand now. I don’t think it’s proper to do that.”
The Browns will finish last in the AFC North with double-digit losses for the ninth time in the last 10 years this season but Dorsey is confident he’ll be able to return the franchise to competitive level in 2018.
“I want to be competitive year-in and year-out in the AFC North,” Dorsey said. “That’s what you do. That’s your objective when you go in You have to capture that. The Steelers are a good football team. The Ravens are a good football team. The Bengals are a good football team but you know what? The Cleveland Browns are going to be pretty good because we’re going to be competitive next year.”