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5 things to know from the Sashi Brown-Paul DePodesta press conference

Another busy day in Berea featured two relatively new faces meeting with reporters.

Though Sashi Brown has been with the Browns since 2013, Thursday served as his introduction to reporters as Cleveland's new Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Paul DePodesta, the Browns' new Chief Strategy Officer, joined him.

Here were the biggest storylines to come from their sessions with reporters.

1) 'Analytics' not just about number-crunching

DePodesta understands the perception of the term "analytics," but doesn't agree with the conclusions that have been drawn by those outside the organization about how his arrival will affect the Browns moving forward.

As he stressed in a meeting with beat reporters before the press conference, football "is not a simulation … it's played by real people."

"It's not really about numbers or algorithms," DePodesta said. "For me it's really just about a mindset and the mindsets about trying to use information to make better decisions, especially in the face of uncertainty, which is what all of these professionals sports are really about. This is something that's been around in football forever. When we time players in the 40-yard dash or we test them in other things at the combine to help us make a better decision in the draft, that's analytics. When you're deciding what play to call on third-and-9 based on what the other defense does, what your capabilities are, you're using analytics to make that decision.

"I don't think it's going to be something that's truly novel, but we're certainly going to be seeking out, not only information but better information to help us make better decisions in all phases, whether it's with personnel, whether it's player development, the draft, etc."

Brown stressed the goal for any football team is to create a "competitive advantage" wherever possible. That'll be the theory the Browns apply to all decisions as they hope to improve their standing in the AFC North and the rest of the NFL.

"We view it as very additive to what we do," Brown said. "It won't be dictating our personnel decisions but hopefully informing them."

2) Goal of personnel decisions: Collaboration

The first question Brown received at Thursday's press conference focused on his qualifications to make the final decisions on Cleveland's 53-man roster.

Brown, who has worked in the NFL for 12 years since the Jaguars hired them on as general counsel, pointed to the attribute many of his former colleagues identified as one of his top strengths. Cleveland's Executive Vice President of Football Operations thrives at bringing people together and accomplishing a shared goal. With the shared vision he, the team's future Vice President of Player Personnel, DePodesta and coach Hue Jackson have for the Browns' on-field product, he expects to reach decisions that point Cleveland in the right direction.

Both DePodesta and Brown understand the skepticism and acknowledge they'll need to prove themselves before many outside of the organization believe they're the ones to help deliver winning football to loyal Browns fans.

"The proof is going to be in the pudding for us," Brown said. "We know that at the end of the day. Like Paul said, we can't guarantee success. What I can guarantee you is that we are competitive as hell, we are going to turn over every stone, keep biases out of our decision and make as informed decisions as possible every single time we can."

3) VP Player Personnel search ongoing

The Browns' search for a Vice President of Player Personnel remains ongoing, but Brown and the rest of the committee hope to land the right person for the job in the near future.

Brown said the committee has interviewed "a number of very talented personnel folks" and acknowledged some of the team's requests have been blocked by the candidate's respective employers.

That was to be expected, Brown said.

"This is an odd calendar period for the NFL," Brown said. "At the same time, teams are going out to recruit personnel staff, it is also the most critical time for personnel groups at incumbent organizations. When we go to a team to ask (to interview) their director of college scouting four months before the draft, you can imagine what a team says. Under NFL rules, if they don't have control of the 53, they are not obligated to let them out. We anticipated and expected this, but it won't keep us from getting a really talented Vice President of Player Personnel."

4) Joe Thomas 'a great asset to our organization'

Brown said he's already met with Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas and was encouraged by the nine-time Pro Bowler's reaction to the recent changes.

Jackson will be the sixth coach Thomas has played for since he landed in Cleveland in 2007. Brown, who has had regular conversations with Thomas in the past, met with him just a couple of days after the season finale and expressed to him how much he's valued by the franchise.

"He is a great asset to our organization on the field and off," Brown said. One of the few guys that stays here in Cleveland. Takes care of his little girls. I have seen him a number of times out in the community. Joe is like us, very competitive. His questions to us were largely focused on how are we going to win. I talked to him about what our plan was, what our strategy was and assured him that we are going to be doing everything to pursue winning here as an organization.

"You would have to ask Joe how satisfied he was with the questions, but he is a guy that is going to be a big piece of what we do moving forward. He has a tremendous amount of insight that we will glean from."

4) Josh Gordon's status still up in the air

Brown said it was too early to think about where Josh Gordon potentially could help the 2016 Browns on the field.

Gordon, who caught 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013, was suspended for the entire 2015 season. He can apply for reinstatement to the league and, if he's accepted, would be eligible to rejoin the Browns in time for the offseason workout program.

"He'll go through a protocol there," Brown said. "If Josh is able to clear that and come back to the roster, we would sit down with him and figure out where he is physically and mentally and move forward."

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