Updated Pat Shurmur Hot Seat Odds: Will Cleveland Browns Fire Head Coach?

Brandon AlisogluCorrespondent INovember 4, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14: Starting quarterback Brandon Weeden #3, Head coach Pat Shurmur and wide receiver Josh Gordon #13 of the Cleveland Browns celebrate during the first quarter after Gordon scored a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The remainder of the 2012 season will be Pat Shurmur's audition to continue his gig as an NFL head coach. But can his performance keep him employed with the Cleveland Browns?

Shurmur has lit a spark this season that few could have expected.

The team has been much more competitive than their 2-6 record would indicate. Four of Cleveland's losses have come by one score or less. In their "blowout" loss to the New York Giants, the Browns had a 14-0 lead before falling apart in the second quarter.

All jokes about Brandon Weeden aside, those stats are the marks of a young team enduring the growing pains that plague the inexperienced.

Now, the Browns must take a couple steps forward as the season wears on. If they do, no smart football mind would disrupt that type of flow to blow it up and start over.

Look at the 2010 Detroit Lions.

They won the last four games of the season and the optimistic atmosphere around the team was palpable. The players believed. The notion that the momentum carried over to next year (which resulted in the Lions' first playoff appearance in 10 years) might be overblown, but there is a certain motivation that seeing progress provides.

The Browns are in a similar position. They've won two of their last three games and have a chance to lay a foundation for 2013 and beyond.

The main reason that Shurmur finds himself on the hot seat so quickly after taking the job is the change in ownership. Jimmy Haslam III bought the Browns in mid-October and promptly demoted the president of football operations, Mike Holmgren, while bringing in Joe Banner as the new head of the organization. 

Banner knows Shurmur well (both worked for the Philadelphia Eagles in the early 2000s) and that obviously works in the current coach's favor. Whenever a new regime takes command of a franchise struggling to find success, there is a prevailing sense that it's time to clean house. 

However, based on the progress the team has exhibited thus far, Haslam and Banner would be smart to see how the season plays out. Considering both come from persistently successful organizations that understand commitment and consistency are two cornerstones to build upon, that's exactly what they'll do.