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Cleveland Browns Rumors Swirl as Team Prepares for Final Game

Jason LaCanfora and crew are at it again, posting rumors of potential shake-ups in Cleveland. Are they accurate? We begin our attempt to pierce the fog and the FUD as the off-season beckons.

CBS' Jason LaCanfora today reported that the Cleveland Browns are seeking a "football guy" to install in the front office alongside GM Sashi Brown and the team's analytics gurus:

While coach Hue Jackson is not planning to request the removal of top football man Sashi Brown, or the influential analytics department he has built, the sources said there will be a strong push to ownership to reconsider the flow chart. The coaches would like a proven, old-school talent evaluator involved in player selection to provide checks and balances with the current setup.

The report, if true, would seem to indicate that the coaching staff is less-than-enthusiastic about the crop of players drafted in 2016, despite the solid play of Emmanuel Ogbah. The vast majority of the team's many picks have had a negligible impact, and the coaching staff may be worried about a repeat during the team's crucial 2017 draft. With the team owning multiple picks in the first two rounds, success in the 2017 draft is an organizational imperative. 

Putting perhaps a more realistic spin on the report is NFL.com's Ian Rappoport, who suggests that the team is merely looking for "a little more scouting muscle" to add to the staff without necessarily ripping up the whole org chart:

The Browns still believe in coach Hue Jackson, even if it turns out to be a one-win season. Owner Jimmy Haslam still believes in the analytical-based approach of their higher-ups. But the Browns are said to be searching for a little more scouting muscle. The expectation is for Cleveland to hire a top scout, likely right below GM Sashi Brown, to serve as the main football voice and be charged with finding the kind of players Jackson covets.

As usual with this sort of reporting, there is more than a bit of fuzziness at the edges. LaCanfora's "strong push" does not equal a done deal, and Rappoport's "searching" may result in lower-level help as one would question how many of the league's top scouts would want to battle with the team's analytics gurus. Per usual, there are undoubtedly many different opinions in the building, and the ultimate direction will come at the behest of Jimmy and Dee Haslam. 

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