Cleveland Browns Offseason: How Did Mike Holmgren Do in the Coaching Search?
Eric Mangini, Rob Ryan and Brian Daboll are all out.
It was only a matter of time. Mangini was a good coach but he had numerous shortcomings throughout his two year span with the team. His inability to effectively draft and identify talent being the most apparent. Not only was his 2009 draft absolutely forgettable, but he also had a "dog house" in which talented players were kept from playing because of "character flaws" or disputes they had with Mangini's coaching style.
Mangini, however isn't the coach of the Cleveland Browns any longer. That honor belongs to the young, former St. Louis offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur. Some have called Shurmur "inexperienced" and "unworthy" of his job. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While he has little experience as a head coach, his knowledge of the offense is something that Cleveland coaching staffs of the last two eras haven't had.
Shurmur also fits the criteria Mike Holmgren had in mind. Holmgren's coaching credentials are nothing to scoff at, having been an assistant in the great Bill Walsh's caching staff in San Francisco. Shurmur fits the mold of the typical Holmgren guy, a relatively unknown guy who has a similar offensive mindset.
Shurmur isn't, however, a defensive guy by any stretch. However, Dick Jauron can be considered experienced if nothing else. Jauron has head coaching experience, most recently with the Buffalo Bills in 2006-2007. Jauron needs to be able to work with the talent he has, as Rob Ryan did. However, it's not going to be long before GM Tom Heckert gives Jauron real, young talent guys to work with. This defense could be dangerous as early as this year, but to be safe, two or three years as an estimate is very within the realm of possibility. Jauron gives Shurmur an experienced guy to mind the other side of the ball.
The Browns also hired Mark Whipple as their quarterbacks coach. Whipple was instrumental in the early success of Ben Roethlisberger, one of the most successful quarterbacks in the AFC. Whipple also experienced as a coordinator, most recently at the University of Miami. The 'Canes were supposed to have a dynamic offense this season, however with the regression of quarterback Jacory Harris, the offense fell short of its expectations.
Shurmur and Holmgren did a good job by filling out their coaching staff with Dwaine Board (Defensive Line), Mark Wilson (Wide Receivers) and Chris Tabor (Special Teams). All of which look to be solid pick ups, and all of them in areas the Browns struggled in last year. Tabor being the exception, he was brought in to replace the great Brad Seely.
They also didn't try to "fix what ain't broken" by retaining George Warhop (offensive line), Gary Brown (Running Backs), and Steve Hagans (Tight Ends).
All and all, I think that Holmgren did a good job at handpicking a coaching staff. The team needed an identity made in the traditional Mike Holmgren style. While Homgren himself isn't coaching the team, I believe he chose the right guy to act as him in the locker room and on the sidelines. That is why Shurmur is going to be successful, because he has the potential to becomoe the new Holmgren.
Let's hope this coaching staff is given the trust and personnel they need to make their offensive and defensive systems successful. My guess is that they will. We won't know until we see.
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