After a dismal 2011 season that saw the Cleveland Browns finish 4-12 and rank 29th in the National Football League in total offense head coach Pat Shurmur vowed to relinquish play-calling duties and hire an offensive coordinator in the hopes of giving the anemic Cleveland offense a shot in the arm.
Childress does have a fair bit of experience as an offensive coordinator, functioning in that capacity for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2003-2005 before taking the reins as head man for the Minnesota Vikings in 2006, and he is very familiar with the "West Coast" offense that Browns team president Mike Holmgren and Shurmur prefer.
However, "Chilly" also has exactly one season of play calling experience on his resume, as head coach Andy Reid called the plays while Childress was in Philadelphia, and Childress, much like Shurmur, relinquished play calling duties to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell after his initial season in Minnesota.
In that one season calling the plays in the Twin Cities the Vikings finished 6-10 and ranked 23rd in the National Football League in total offense, and while that roster wasn't exactly overflowing with offensive firepower it's not like Childress is inheriting a juggernaut in Cleveland, a team that may well have the least talent on that side of the ball in the NFL.
The Vikings did go on to successful seasons in 2008 and 2009, coming within one game of the Super Bowl in 2009, but their success in those years (as many Vikings fans will readily attest) seemed to come more in spite of Childress' best efforts than because of them, and the team imploded in 2010, leading to Childress being fired.
Was Brad Childress a good hire as Offensive Coordinator?
The Childress hire may well have less to do with his qualifications to resurrect Cleveland's woeful offense than it does with a man by the name of Bob Lamonte, an agent who just so happens to represent Holmgren, Shurmur, and wait for it...
Heck of a coincidence, don't you think?
As a lifelong Browns fan I was pleased when Shurmur announced after the 2011 season that he would hire an offensive coordinator, as he at times seemed clearly in over his head last year trying to juggle the responsibilities of both rookie head coach and play caller.
However, that glimmer of hope has now been replaced with an all-too-familiar sense of dread, as in hiring Childress instead of a much-needed boost all the Cleveland offense got was another kick in the teeth.
UPDATE: Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweeted Friday evening that Shurmur may actually continue calling plays for the Browns offensively, at least early on, which just seems to make this hire all the more puzzling.
Browns coach pat Shurmur retains playcalling duties for now, but discussions will take place and nothing has been finalized, source said.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 27, 2012
Maybe Childress was brought in to try to develop quarterback Colt McCoy or another signal caller acquired in free agency or the draft, but even if he were to have success in that regard how does the Browns offense take a step forward with Shurmur, who as I said looked lost at times in 2011, still making the play calls?
Like I said Browns fans, get used to the AFC North cellar, cause it appears we're going to be hanging around there a while.
Maybe we should get a pool table.