Cleveland Browns: Choosing the Right Coordinators Key to Pat Shurmur's Success

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2011

When team president Mike Holmgren selected Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to be the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns, it left many Browns fans a bit concerned.

While it is undoubtedly a good move to bring in a coach who shares philosophies with both Holmgren and GM Tom Heckert, many fans were hoping for a proven commodity with prior head coaching experience.

Shurmur has never been a head coach at any level, and has only two years experience as a coordinator in the NFL.

Even with no head coaching experience, there is reason to believe that Shurmur can have success coaching the Browns.

He is a young, offensive-minded coach who Holmgren believes can breathe new life into the Browns and help develop quarterback Colt McCoy into the cornerstone of the franchise.

However, in order for Shurmur to succeed, Holmgren will need to surround him with coordinators who can help him transition to being the man in charge.

This will be especially important on the defensive side of the ball. An experienced coordinator is needed who can run the defense and allow Shurmur to focus on what he knows best.

The Browns are currently in the process of evaluating Dave Wannstedt and Dick Jauron for the defensive coordinator position.

While neither coach may top fans' wish lists, both men have extensive experience, not only as defensive coordinators, but as head coaches themselves. This is important because the Browns are expected to make a switch to a 4-3 defense.

Shurmur is going to have his hands full implementing his own changes on offense, which will likely be a variation of the West Coast offense that he knows best and is favored by Holmgren.

It will be a difficult task to change both offensive and defensive philosophies in one offseason, and Shurmur would be best served by having a defensive coordinator who knows how to lead on his own.

Wannstedt spent 11 seasons as a head coach with the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins and Jauron spent just under eight seasons as head coach of the Bears and Buffalo Bills.

The need for experience at the offensive coordinator position is not as dire, as Shurmur plans to do the offensive play-calling himself. However, it is still vital that the Browns find a capable coordinator who can create a sound game plan and prepare the players.

It has been reported that the Browns have shown interest in Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn. Zorn worked with Holmgren in Seattle and helped develop Matt Hasselbeck into a franchise quarterback. Perhaps he could do the same for Colt McCoy.

Another option is Rams receivers coach Nolan Cromwell, who not only worked with Shurmur in St. Louis, but also coached with Holmgren in both Green Bay and Seattle.

While Cromwell has never been an offensive coordinator at the NFL level, he did serve in that capacity at the collegiate level with Texas A&M.

Mike Holmgren will need to weigh his options wisely and make the right choices in the coming days, because finding the right coordinators will be just as big of a decision as choosing the head coach.

For better or worse, Pat Shurmur is now the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. If Shurmur is to be the one who finally brings a winner to Cleveland, he is going to need all the help that he can get.

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