TEMPE, AZ – SEPTEMBER 08: Quarterback Brian Lewerke #14 of the Michigan State Spartans drops back to pass during the first half of the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)On Saturday afternoon, the Michigan Wolverines went into East Lansing and dominated the Michigan State Spartans. The Wolverines stifled Michigan State’s offense allowing the Spartans just 94 total yards of offense.Quarterback Brian Lewerke put together a truly awful performance, completing 5-of-25 passes for just 66 yards through the air. At one point late in the game, Lewerke was benched in favor of backup QB Rocky Lombardi.After the game, some wondered if Lewerke was hurt. As is turns out, Lewerke entered the game with a right shoulder injury and didn’t practice the week leading up to the game.MSU QB Brian Lewerke confirmed after the game that he has a right shoulder injury.— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) October 20, 2018The Spartans quarterback revealed head coach Mark Dantonio left the decision of whether or not to play up to him. It’s an interesting tactic from the head coach – especially given Lewerke’s struggles on Saturday.The junior quarterback revealed he injured the shoulder in Michigan State’s win over Penn State last weekend.Next up for the Spartans is a home game against Purdue.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Austin Davis attempts a pass during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 3, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Courtesy of TNSSince returning to the shores of Lake Erie in 1999, the Cleveland Browns have established themselves as the laughingstock of the NFL. There have been two separate ownership families, seven head coaches and an uncomfortable number of starting quarterbacks — 24, to be exact. Cleveland has tried a lot of different things since joining the league as an expansion team, and nearly all of them have not panned out. If they did, the Browns would have made the playoffs more than just once, they would have had a coach who lasted more than 64 games (Romeo Crennel) and they would have had more than a single season in which one quarterback started every game (Tim Couch in 2001). After the 2015 season came to an end, the change in regimes once again took place. Coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer were both fired, sticking the Browns back in rebuilding mode. Since relieving Pettine and Farmer of their duties, owner Jimmy Haslam began his process to replace them. In it, he turned heads across the country with two out-of-the-box hires. First, Haslam promoted Sashi Brown to executive vice president of football operations from his previous role of executive vice president of general counsel. As part of the promotion, Brown was given final say over the 53-man roster. Outrage ensued from the Cleveland fan base, mainly because of Brown’s credentials. A Harvard-educated lawyer without a formal football background granted final say in the roster clearly is unconventional. Obviously, you can’t please everyone, and Haslam likely expected some backlash from the move. Cleveland fans, like myself, are known for their passion. They want their team to break out of this 16-season slump. They weren’t sure what in the world was on Brown’s résumé that Haslam thought made him worthy of his new role. Haslam pointed to Brown’s background in analytics as what made him suited for the job. OK, that’s fair. Brown’s appointment means Cleveland is going the route of advanced statistics to make talent accusations, like many teams within the MLB do. It has worked in baseball, why not in football? Right? Then, just two days later, the Browns really showed the world they were serious about analytics when they brought New York Mets’ vice president of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta on board as chief strategy officer. DePodesta, a Harvard graduate like Brown, is known for his knowledge of analytics. He was also featured in Michael Lewis’ book “Moneyball” about the Oakland Athletics. The fire that Brown’s hiring ignited only grew more intense after the addition of DePodesta was announced.But here is the thing: Cleveland consistently has gotten hirings and personnel moves wrong. Each time it hit the reset button, the organization tried to be like other teams, bringing in former New England Patriots’ assistants like Crennel and Eric Mangini. The Browns brought in Mike Holmgren and Joe Banner, who each enjoyed success in previous stops around the league. But just a few seasons later, they were dismissed after failing to engineer results. Promoting Brown and poaching DePodesta to come to Cleveland and try building a team with a strong commitment to analytics is the opposite of what the franchise has done in the past. If nearly everything the Browns have previously tried has been wrong, what is the harm in doing the opposite? Analytics are not foreign to football. Many within the game are hesitant to adopt them, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be successful. The Browns spent the past 16 seasons being behind teams. Maybe now, just maybe, they’re getting ahead of everyone else.A new coaching staff needs to be assembled and a fresh general manager needs to be hired, but with the numbers on their side, perhaps the Browns are finally turning things around. Of course, the experiment with Brown and DePodesta could be a massive failure. Or it could be a major success and winning football might finally exist in Cleveland again. Cleveland fans’ displeasure with the two new hires only stems from the fact they want their team to be successful. It is hard to imagine, though, that analytics can assemble a team worse than what the Browns have had lately.