Browns could benefit from swapping Bernie Kosar’s mic for a headset

11959204-largeWith the lights turned off on the NFL preseason and the Cleveland Browns gearing up for Opening Day against the new-look Miami Dolphins, Bernard J. Kosar needs to swap the color analyst microphone for a headset and jump in a booth as a member of the team’s offensive coaching staff.

This isn’t the same blind, name-based faith that led to many fans clamoring for Kosar to be the team’s general manager. This isn’t the same Kosar for Mayor approach that resulted in the former Browns quarterback being hired as a special advisor to Randy Lerner in 2009. This statement, however bold or brash, is rooted in two specific factors: The Browns, once again, are rolling into a season with a question mark under center in second-year hurler Brandon Weeden; and Kosar, despite all of his shortcomings as a player or even as a man, can still tear apart a pre-snap defense like a wolverine devouring a pack of rodents.

Certainly, Kosar has the benefit of hindsight in many cases. As a color analyst, he gives way to long-time play-by-play man Jim Donovan, left to analyze the play after it happens. But with Kosar, there is a character trait that many have grown to embrace over the years as he tends to speak his mind freely and fairly often. While the former All-Pro has pumped his verbal breaks since Jeff Fisher did everything shy of starting an e-petition to oust the opinionated local legend after this season’s first preseason game, Kosar oftentimes finds himself unable to not call out what the opposing defense is trying to do before the play unfolds. Single coverage up top, inside blitz, three-deep man…Kosar is all over it before the cadence is even a figment of the quarterback’s imagination.

This isn’t to say that whomever is in Brandon Weeden’s ear on Opening Day (this will reportedly be Scott Turner, the Browns’ wide receviers coach and son of offensive coordinator Norv Turner) isn’t already pumping the quarterback this information. When Weeden comes off of the field and flips through the binder full of formation snapshots, it’s assumed that these discussions are taking place. But in a world where only the roster is capped in terms of salary and manpower, the Browns can afford to have another pair of eyes in the booth, providing any advantage regardless of how marginal it may be.

With Kosar in the booth, there’s little chance that any questionable sound bites that do get past the filter find their way into a headline. He’s out of the public eye; his place in the Browns history books has little impact. Assuming the former quarterback would want the daily grind of film study coupled with the willingness to be more behind the scenes, it makes too much sense to not have someone with his intellect and ability to communicate what he sees with relative ease1 should not be glossed over.

Where hiring former players as mascots (or “advisors”) in the past was rooted in public relations, adding Kosar to the coaching staff would be rooted in putting the team in the best position to win. It all starts with the quarterback. Having one who—at age 49—can still slice and dice a defense leading the way for one with plenty of room to grow could not make more sense.

Photo: John Kuntz, The Plain Dealer

  1. Seriously. These last few weeks have been tremendous from an Educating the Common Fan standpoint. []

  • Big Z

    I totally agree. Always thought Kosar was brilliant when it came to understanding the game and what the defense was trying to do. I think he could be a valuable asset to this team if given a chance.

  • Harv 21

    Because, you know, Norv Turner needs help, including input regarding who should assist him.

    Stop, Scott. A cogent commentator is no more an effective coach than a successful quarterback is a competent GM. There are hundreds of proven competent assistants out there if Norv thinks he needs one.

  • TSR3000

    Exactly. I love Bernie but I would prefer if he just watched the games from a condo in FL. I don’t trust his judgment or decision making at this point.

  • MrCleaveland

    Agree that there’s a lot of know-how sort of going to waste on a local broadcast of an exhibition game. However, Bernie’s strength is in recognizing defenses at the line of scrimmage and then changing the play. Coaches are such control freaks now that there aren’t many who are secure enough to allow their QB to regularly audible. Certainly not Weeden. Hell, Belichick got upset with Kosar for audiblizing (how the heck do you spell that?) and throwing a TD pass.

    I guess BK could teach QBs how to read defenses, but I’m sure they’re already doing plenty of that.

    So I guess the only ones who will benefit from his insight are us local viewers four times a year. (I can’t see BK doing radio color.)

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Primary drawbacks:
    1) It’s questionable whether Bernie is a good teacher/communicator as a coach would need to be.
    2) He’s making a lot of on the spot analysis that can’t be explained until the sideline (he can’t stand next to the QB as he’s making his reads), and one would assume that the current coaches are capable of the same.
    3) Bernie’s adjustments don’t work as often in modern-day offenses, which allow for less audibles, though Norv’s offenses actually do seem to do so. Then again, Norv also seems to be setting up Weeden to do exactly that, so not sure Bernie adds anything.

    I love Bernie as an analyst, and he’s a brilliant mind. But that’s what one expects/hopes the Browns’ current coaches to be as well, and so far there’s no reason to assume that’s not the case. When you hear many NFL coaches and assistant coaches break down film they say a lot of the same stuff. It IS cool to hear Bernie doing it in those 5 seconds pre-snap, but I don’t know that that’s anything particularly special for what he is.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Bernie knows his stuff there is absolutely no doubt listening to him call out defenses on virtually every play does get annoying. But his becoming any kind of assistant is a long shot at best. If it hasn’t happened already I doubt it ever will.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    You forgot diminished skills Bill.


    Kosar is better than John Madden was.

  • hopwin

    Everyone is better than Madden. “The team who scores the most points is going to win.”

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Got to disagree with you bud. Bernie provides insight that Scott Turner can’t…he provides actual quarterback experience. Having a WR Coach is nice…but why not a former All-Pro QB whose best asset was his mind?

  • “Stop, Scott.”

    LOL. Yeah, probably not.

  • Harv 21

    All competent former QBs sound smart in the booth because they are. But playing and coaching are not the same skill set. Having the capacity to absorb and apply field knowledge doesn’t mean you can impart it to others. The brightest geek in the class is not necessarily a good teacher. Bernie has never coached anyone (and who says he even wants to, or has the ability what with his post-concussive issues). In his 20 years out of the game don’t remember anyone trying to hire him.

    I’d ask all the pro-Coach Kosar peeps here: would you want him if he wasn’t an old fav Brown? Should Jim Brown be RB coach? Do you have any reason at all to think Norv needs help? And how do you fire Bernie if he’s not right for the job or uses his local status to call his superiors out?

    This is all so about warm fuzzies, so not about football, so Cleveland Weird.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’ll bet half the Browns fans didn’t know that!

  • Ben Frambaugh

    I get your point…i would like to see the guy get a chance to coach. Maybe he was given a shot and we never heard about it. If that’s the case, then cool. The reason why I prefer Bernie over Brown…in my experience, guys who were physically dominant tend to not make good coaches. It might b4 because they had do much natural talent that it was more instinctual than intellect. I don’t get that vibe from Bernie. As a guy who played smart back in school as opposed to relying on athletic gifts (snicker), I guess I lean towards a more coaching attitude. Then again, i have been told I have a talent for teaching…so there might be more me projecting my attitudes on a guy I rooted for.

  • Sam

    I will be in the vast minority here, but listening to Bernie makes me cringe. It’s like watching a game with a drunk, bitter uncle. He is the master of hindsight as he over analyzes every play after it happens like he knew it was coming in the first place. It’s pretty obvious that Jimmy D gets fed up with him as well.

  • Mad_Elf

    Montana stated that Kosar was “the most cerebral quarterback” he’d ever seen. I’ll take his word for it, thanks.

  • Chuckles

    I have been saying this for YEARS!

  • Chuckles

    It’s not about being a former Brown. It’s about Bernie’s ability to know the D before the formation is even set. The man was what we think of Peyton Manning now, with regard to how Manning reads and adjusts.

  • Harv 21

    I’ll take his word for it too. Doesn’t mean he’d be a good coach. Or that he wants to coach. Or that he’s needed here as a coach. Or that the current coaches would be comfortable working with him.