The Cleveland Browns need a dramatic change at the head coaching position to shake the roster out of the apathetic state it has been in for the last five years. Of all the candidates, Ken Whisenhunt is the answer they have been looking for.
According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, Whisenhunt had an interview with the Browns on Wednesday in Arizona.
Ken Whisenhunt is latest to interview with #Browns, per sources. Yes, in Arizona, where owner Jimmy Haslam & CEO Joe Banner are camped out— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 3, 2013
Whisenhunt, who coached the Arizona Cardinals for six seasons and led the franchise to its only Super Bowl appearance in 2008, developed a reputation for being an offensive genius during his time as offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers before moving to Arizona in 2007.
Recently-fired Browns coach Pat Shurmur was supposed to be that offensive-minded coach who was going to turn around a franchise that finished 29th or worse in total offense from 2008-2010. He had two years, posted a 9-23 record and the offense didn't finish higher than 25th in yards per game.
The Browns are examining all options for their next head coach, as they should. According to Mike Garafolo and Erick Smith of USA Today, they will interview Oregon head coach Chip Kelly after the team's bowl game on Thursday.
Kelly's offensive pedigree in college would certainly look appealing to teams and fans in the NFL, but trying to bring that package into the next level might not work so well.
Remember, Steve Spurrier was the best offensive mind in college football and flamed out in the NFL.
According to a report from ESPN.com, the Browns are intrigued by Kelly's system and its potential impact on the NFL.
Kelly's fast-paced offensive system is intriguing to the Browns, who fired Pat Shurmur earlier this week. New England coach Bill Belichick consulted Kelly this summer and has incorporated aspects of Oregon's up-tempo game into the Patriots' offense.
Whisenhunt has a history of success in the NFL, especially working with quarterbacks. What happened with Arizona the last two years can be partly blamed on him, but the offensive line was dreadful and constant injuries to Kevin Kolb never gave the team any stability under center.
The Browns are trying to develop a quarterback in Brandon Weeden. He did have his share of problems as a rookie in 2012, but he had a better completion percentage than Andrew Luck and threw for nearly 3,400 yards.
Trent Richardson is a decent offensive line away from being a superstar at running back. He had 950 yards and 11 touchdowns with a quarterback who kept turning the ball over and defenses knowing they had to line up to stop him.
There are pieces in place for the Browns to be a much better team than they have been. It is just a matter of finding the right coach to get that talent to play up to its potential.
Whisenhunt has proven throughout his career that he has a knack for finding the strengths of players, especially on offense, and getting them to play to those strengths.
An established NFL voice is what the Browns need. Whisenhunt was put in a bad situation, some of it his own doing, with the Cardinals the last two seasons.
Give him another chance with a franchise that has pieces to succeed, and he can prove why he was one of the most sought-after coaches before he got the Arizona job in 2007.