Found March 05, 2013 on Waiting For Next Year:
Yesterday, I wrote about how I thought that the analytics revolution in Berea would be subtle. Today, I’m going to suggest some practical ways that analytics could be used inside the building to help the Browns. More often than not, it will be supplemental reports to help increase confidence levels in decision-making processes in an effort to reduce the frequency of inevitable mistakes. Put simply, there are so many decisions made in the NFL that you’re going to mess up sometimes. Why not do everything you can to mess up less often? Teams will need scouts forever, so don’t think that scouts will ever be antiquated. Let’s just say that the Browns decided they desperately needed to find 3-4 linebackers in this draft from rounds three through seven, you know, hypothetically 1 . Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to take all the best 3-4 linebackers, put them in a data set with their heights, weights, various combine stats, NFL years played, NFL dollars earned, and more? Then all of a sudden you’ve applied some filters to an unmanageable list and let your scouts concentrate on a more focused group of players. That’s a no-brainer and most scouting departments do this kind of stuff already, I’m guessing. Add a few more layers of complexity, start getting creative with the variables and that’s where the next competitive advantage comes from. If you’re truly in sync as an organization you’re spending your time becoming an expert with a group of players that you aren’t competing with the whole league to get. That’s what Pete Carroll did. Pete Carroll seemingly accomplished this at the cornerback position. Pete Carroll has giant physical corners in Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman. Browner is 6-feet-4-inches tall and weighs 221 pounds. He’s a 28-year-old journeyman who was most recently with the Calgary Stampeders before Pete Carroll signed him up. In 2013 Browner will complete the three-year $1.29 million deal he signed. Granted Browner wasn’t drafted by the Seahawks, but Richard Sherman was. He was taken in the 2011 draft in the fifth round. He’s 6-foot-3-inches tall and weighs 195 pounds. His contract is four years and $2.2 million that runs through the end of 2014. Contrast these guys with guys like Darrelle Revis and Joe Haden who are quick 5-foot-11 guys who make tons and tons of money. Granted, both Revis and Haden were under the old rookie salary structure, so let’s look more recently at the 2012 draft. The Bills took a corner in the first round 2012 when they grabbed Stephon Gilmore out of South Carolina. Even under the new salary rules for draft picks, Gilmore signed a four-year deal for just north of $12 million fully guaranteed. In one player taken highly in the draft the Bills are spending more than the Seahawks have in their two big, physical corners combined. In the salary capped world of the NFL that’s important when constructing the best possible roster of players to compete. That’s not to say that Gilmore is better or worse than either Sherman or Browner. It is simply to point out that the Seahawks found a market inefficiency between the style they wanted to play and the way the market values cornerbacks. Pete Carroll wins for now, but it’s probably short-lived. Assuming in the world’s largest copycat league that others now try to copy Pete Carroll’s design, the price just went up on big corners. Those big corners on the draft board with 4.56 40-yard dashes that were lasting until the fifth round might go much sooner and get paid more. So, this year’s advantage is next year’s over-payment.  That’s where analytics kicks in further in an organization all working together on the same page. Subtle coaching changes to a scheme to fit a certain player characteristic helps the scouting and personnel department focus on getting pieces that are available and useful. The analytics department helps analyze the list of players and hopefully limit the necessary scouting time on players that won’t fit. Maybe the analytics department uses win probability numbers in certain situations to even help the coaches decide on a subtle change to their scheme. Back to the Browns. Let’s say the Browns want to get off on the right foot defensively this year, but they just don’t see big middle linebackers or elite pass rushers that will be in their grasp? Maybe Ray Horton and his staff decide to run a new variant on the 3-4 that relies on linebackers who resemble big safeties rather than typical linebackers. They decide that they will drop into coverage more often than not. Then all of a sudden, maybe the Browns’ scouts have a mission to find “undersized” speedy linebackers and instead of being a disadvantage, they’re creating the new thing that everyone else wants to copy. I’m making all this up, of course. I have no idea if that would work. Ray Horton is the defensive coordinator for a reason. I’m just pointing out that this is yet another way an organization is able to stay competitive all the time through innovation other than the necessary drafting and development that every team aspires to do well. Yet again, another example of where analytics can help supplement an organization by enabling creativity and helping them execute a plan. More coming on all this. I will discuss how we need to separate process from the obsession with outcomes. A guy I met at the conference tackled it a bit already here, but I’m going to have my take on it as well soon. Now, I wonder if there’s a way to exploit market inefficiencies in franchise quarterbacks? Joe Flacco’s agent thinks not. ___________________________________ Ha. Hypothetically.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Browns “impressed” with Greg Little’s maturation

The Cleveland Browns appear to be pretty pleased with one of last season’s big question marks in wide receiver Greg Little. In his latest Sunday column, Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer describes Little and teammate Josh Gordon as integral parts of the team’s future, but it is only little who appears to have calmed nerves regarding his maturity and work ethic. “Reviewing the...

Report: Browns will puruse Kruger, Avril in free agency

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer,  the Browns will go after defensive end Cliff Avril and linebacker Paul Kruger when free agency kicks off next week. Cabot says they may also pursue Desmond Bryant of the Raiders and Quentin Groves of the Cardinals. The Browns have over $46 million in cap space, but they’d be wise to not spend it on any and every free...

Chris Weinke on working with Weeden: 'Brandon's got a special arm, no doubt'

Former Heisman trophy winner and Carolina Panthers quarterback Chris Weinke has been wokring with Cleveland Browns QB Brandon Weeden at the IMG Football Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and Weinke likes what he sees, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Brandon's got a special arm, no doubt,'' Weinke said. "I'm very impressed with him...

Browns will not raise ticket prices for 2013; cell service issues to be rectified

Cleveland Browns season ticket prices will remain flat for the 2013 home schedule, the team announced today. This marks the fifth straight year in which the price of Browns season tickets has not increased, representing the second-longest current streak in the NFL. In addition, with the current pricing structure, the average cost of a Browns ticket is the second least expensive in...

Kevin Costner to star as Browns GM in new movie shooting in Cleveland

A story this morning in the Buffalo News is exciting for the city of Cleveland, and Browns fans. It appears Cleveland was chosen over Buffalo as the location for a new movie called “Draft Day” which will star Kevin Costner and be directed by Ivan Reitman. “A furious fourth-quarter rally mounted by New York State officials – including a top aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ...

Fantasy Football Player Profile – Brandon Weeden, QB

Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns Player Profile Height/Weight: 6-3/220 Birthdate: 10/14/1983 School: Oklahoma State FANTASY FOOTBALL ANALYSIS The Cleveland Browns rolled the dice on a late-20′s quarterback out of Oklahoma State in Brandon Weeden during last year’s NFL draft in hopes that they could go against the grain and find a bargain to lead their offense into battle...

Lombardi Promoted; Farmer Added

Michael Lombardi now has his third title in six weeks. He is now the Cleveland Browns' general manager. Meanwhile, Ray Farmer was named the assistant GM.

Banner Report: The Quarterbacks

You may remember back in 2010 (you know the last time there was a complete overhaul in Berea) we wanted to give incoming President Mike Holmgren a hand evaluating the roster. We are nothing if not equal opportunity. The Browns have a completely new group in charge this year. Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi, Rob Chudzinski, Norv Turner and Ray Horton take over a 5-11 team. They have plenty...

Seattle Seahawks: Team Needs in the 2013 NFL Draft

As we continue the Team Needs series for the 2013 NFL Draft, we proceed to the team with the twenty-fifth overall pick; the Seattle Seahawks. After a remarkable season that saw Seattle become the darlings of the NFL, Seattle has to be considered an NFC favorite headed into 2013. The play of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was a big part of both of the above reasons as he was arguably...

WFNY Podcast – 2013-03-05 – Diminishing returns in baseball stats?

Jon and Craig got together to talk sports, and this is what went down. MIT Sloan conference (again) Nate Silver the rockstar Baseball analytics… are they a diminishing returns game? Stability to run an analytics department Chip Kelly might be the best thing that ever happened to the Browns Pete Carroll, tall corners Baseball and the closers came after saves Pat...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.