Don't Play the "What If" Game on John Dorsey
We need to talk about Bob McGinn’s fascination with John Dorsey. About this time last year, McGinn dropped a column saying that Dorsey would be a great fit to be the next general manager of the Packers.
Since then, Dorsey was fired by the Kansas City Chiefs and hired as the new general manager for the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland hired Dorsey in such a way that other teams were more or less prevented from interviewing him, snapping him up midseason before other jobs had begun to open, including the job in Green Bay.
Since then John Dorsey has put together a front office that is basically “Green Bay East.” He’s hired both Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf (who may not be in Cleveland for long), and now the Browns are managed by three guys with significant connections to the Packers organization.
The Browns will be rebuilt pretty quickly. Cleveland has a number of high-end draft picks and over $100 million in cap space to spend this offseason. It’s a pretty desirable job, and John Dorsey is well within his rights to want that job.
Arguing in favor of Dorsey
In a recent column, McGinn contends that Dorsey was basically sitting around in Door County waiting for the Packers to call. They never called him, and McGinn says that’s a grave mistake. If Dorsey would have been hired, McGinn argues, Highsmith and Wolf would’ve stayed with the Packers, they probably could’ve retained Gutekunst and Ball, and the Packers would have had a loaded front office.
There’s no way of knowing that this is true. It’s a wonderful theory, but there’s no way of verifying that, especially after the fact. Unless you can get a one-on-one interview with each of these men and ask them point blank if they would have stayed if Dorsey was hired, you can’t know whether they would have stayed.
Clearly, Highsmith, Wolf, Brian Gutekunst, and Russ Ball all had upward ambitions and wanted to improve themselves. Why would those ambitions have gone by the wayside if Dorsey was to come to Green Bay?
Dorsey has been a very good general manager, but he’s not without faults. McGinn is convinced that Dorsey could walk across Green Bay anytime of the year -- not just when it’s frozen over. Maybe he can, but the weight of the evidence doesn’t bear that out.
What do we know about John Dorsey?
During his time in Kansas City, he put together a lot of good, but not great, teams. He probably benefited from playing in an inconsistent AFC West. He’s put together good defenses, but nothing great enough to get them deep into the playoffs. His offenses have regularly failed to get its receivers into the endzone, partly because his receivers weren’t very good.
He gave up two second round picks for Alex Smith, and Smith was the best quarterback he could ever get his hands on. Finally, Dorsey was essentially fired by Andy Reid, a guy who shared a level in Kansas City’s org chart. If you consider Dorsey to be a strong personnel executive, how do you square that with the fact that he got outmaneuvered by Andy Reid and failed to hold on to his own job?
Obviously, I’m stacking the deck against Dorsey, but McGinn is doing the same thing on Dorsey’s behalf. The bottom line is that we just don’t know that John Dorsey, Brian Gutekunst or anyone else is a sure thing. We have to wait.
I realize that it’s a terrible way to analyze the NFL, but it’s the truth. It’s not great content to tell you to wait three years before making a judgment on whether the Browns and Packers made the right moves at general manager.
But living by shoulds and coulds and maybes and buts is a terrible. Let’s wait to see how this plays out. We know two things right now: John Dorsey did not get a call from the Packers, and John Dorsey is now the general manager of the Cleveland Browns. Until we know anything more, we can’t evaluate these decisions.
This post is an adapted transcript of the most recent episode of Blue 58, a Packers podcast from The Power Sweep. Listen to the full episode below, and don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, CastBox and more to stay on top of the best in Packers news and analysis.