Changes have been, and are still coming to the Cleveland Browns. As one can expect, one way or another, the changes can be traced to Browns team president Mike Holmgren's past.
Pat Shurmur, head coach of the Browns has recently hired four assistants to his coaching staff. Each of these assistants can be linked to Holmgren, Shurmur or Browns general manager Tom Heckert.
As Browns quarterback coach, we have Mark Whipple, who was quarterback coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2004 to 2006. He would coach Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who in 2004 would go 13 wins with no losses, an NFL record for a rookie. In 2005, Roethlisberger would become the youngest rookie to win a Super Bowl.
Whipple spent the 2008 season as offensive assistant for the Philadelphia Eagles, which is his connection to Shurmur and Heckert. Shurmer was quarterback coach, while Heckert was general manager.
After spending two seasons with the Miami Hurricanes, Whipple would be fired in 2010.
Bill Davis, linebackers coach, has 19 years of experience in the NFL, including the Browns 1999 expansion season, as he was defensive quality coach. He has been with eight different teams, however, his most notable achievement was with the Arizona Cardinals. In 2009, the Cardinals defensive unit allowed only 325 points, fifth-best in the NFL.
Davis has his connection via Michigan State, where from 1990-91 he was a graduate assistant, while Shurmur was an assistant.
After finishing 29th in defense, the Cardinals would release Davis in 2010.
Dwaine Board, defensive line coach, is no stranger to winning in the NFL. While playing for 10 seasons, he was on the winning end of two Super Bowls, and earned the Defensive Player of the Game award in Super Bowl XIX. As a coach or player, he has been to six Super Bowls, winning five, along with 15 division titles.
Board was defensive line coach for the Seattle Seahawks from 2003-08, this is the connection to Holmgren, as Holmgren was head coach.
Mike Wilson, receivers coach, has coached at the pro and college levels. He coached tight ends and receivers for three years at Arizona, and has two years of coaching receivers for the Oakland Raiders.
During his 10 seasons as a receiver with the San Francisco 49ers, Wilson would win four Super Bowls. This is the connection between Wilson and Holmgren, as Holmgren was quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator for the 49ers.
Changes are coming to the Browns, as evident with the recent hirings of coaches and assistants.
Holmgren is surrounding himself with disciples of his coaching philosophies, descendants of his coaching tree or individuals that he has coached.
The hiring of Dick Jauron as defensive coordinator, along with the addition of Board, who's experience is in the 4-3 defense reflects a change on the defensive side of the ball.
Shurmur, who has yet to hire an offensive coordinator, has said he will be calling the plays this season. Leading one to believe that the Browns will go without an offensive coordinator in 2011, as the New England Patriots did in 2010.
Holmgren has "grabbed the bull by the horns," and is making changes to a team that has been playing with no true identity. He has surrounded himself with the people he feels necessary to achieve his goal, people who share his philosophies.
Holmgren came to Cleveland with a plan, and given his past, one can easily see that his plan is to win.