It's hard to pile on to Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur at the moment, since he just guided his team to its first win of 2012.
Unfortunately, much of the blame on a struggling franchise falls on the man in charge of the on-field product on Sundays. In the "win now" mentality of the NFL, there isn't much room for dismal results.
Shurmur must improve his 5-17 record pretty drastically between now and Week 17. Otherwise, it is likely he'll find himself replaced under the new ownership of Jimmy Haslam.
All hope is not lost, though. There is still time for the Browns to salvage this season; and for Shumur to salvage his job. In a report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot, new president and CEO Joe Banner had wonderful things to say about Cleveland's current head coach:
He’s an extremely good guy, he’s just a really good person, he’s a very hard working guy, he’s a very principled man, he’s got a wonderful family and I don’t think you’ll find anybody as more passionate at trying to do the best they can and succeed as well as they can.
If Shurmur gets the ax after the season ends, it won't be due to a lack of effort. His familiarity with Banner from the Philadelphia Eagles organization also won't hurt, especially if GM Tom Heckert remains in his position.
In the event that Shurmur should be let go, though, here are some potential replacements the Browns may consider.