Since 1999, Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Terry Robiskie, Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini have taken turns as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Robiskie finished out the 2004 season for Davis, who resigned.
Now it’s Pat Shurmur’s turn to right the ship. An offensive coordinator for the St.Louis Rams the last two seasons, Shurmur will be taking on his first head coaching job at any level.
Browns President Mike Holmgren is making a bold statement in selecting the 45 year old Shurmur. Holmgren will look like a genius if the Browns can become consistent winners.
The fact that Shurmur runs a west coast offense helped get him the job. Holmgren has stated more than once that Shurmur is a team player. That probably made him more attractive than a veteran coach with a huge ego.
Now it’s time to get down to business. The hiring of coordinators should happen soon.
Look for the Browns to sign a veteran defensive coordinator. It would make sense allowing the new head coach to not have to worry about that side of the ball. Offense is Shurmur’s expertise.
On offense, I look for a young coach to be Shurmur’s top guy—possibly a quarterback coach/coordinator and someone who can be trained to fit the Browns new system.
After his assistants are in place, Shurmur can tackle the current Browns roster. Make no mistake, there will be turnover.
Cleveland General Manager Tom Heckert will be in charge of finding the players to fit both the new offense and in all likely hood, the new defense. A switch to a 4-3 seems almost certain.
A change in defensive philosophy will require a different type player for the front seven. The Browns already have a need to over haul that area making it not that be that big of a deal.
Is Colt McCoy going to be the guy at quarterback? That is the biggest question that will need answered on offense.
The changes in offensive personnel should be minimal. The philosophy will change greatly.
The Browns already have a decent line in place but could use a right tackle. If McCoy is deemed to be the quarterback, the Browns should be able to make the switch effortlessly.
Running back Peyton Hillis should fit in with no trouble. He is an outstanding receiver as well as a runner. The biggest need here is another wide receiver or two.
While Brian Robiskie looks like a good fit for the west coast, the Browns will need to add some talent to this position. I’m excited to see what Josh Cribbs can do in those short crossing routes.
Tight ends Ben Watson and Evan Moore should also fit right in. Both have excellent hands and decent speed.
With all the changes that will be taking place with the Browns over the next few months, there is only one I care about—becoming a winner.
Mike Holmgren has said he hopes Pat Shurmur is the last head coach he has to hire. I’m sure all Browns fans do as well.