With 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
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