Browns

The Cleveland Browns are playing a high stakes version of ‘This or That’

Banner and Haslam

Haslam and Banner 595 width

One of my daughter’s favorite games to play in the car is ‘This or That’. You know the premise. Would you rather have a super power or a million dollars? Those kinds of questions.

The Cleveland Browns are playing that game right now. Or perhaps they should have earlier. The question for Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner is this:

Is there really a coaching staff combination AVAILABLE out there better than the one they just lost? Better than the one they are paying $50 million dollars to not coach the Browns?

Rob Chudzinski was fired. Ray Horton is interviewing for at least one head coaching vacancy, but will likely interview for a few because of the Rooney rule. Even if he isn’t hired as a head coach somewhere, it would be tough to imagine he returns to the Browns.

The same is true of Norv Turner. Turner reportedly was quite surprised by the firing of Chudzinski, thinking that the front office was putting things into place for 2014 or 2015 rather than expecting wins in 2013. With his close connections to Chudzinski, running the offense for a different head coach in Cleveland seems highly unlikely. The same goes for Turner’s son Scott who was Cleveland’s WR coach. Defensive line coach Joe Cullen has reportedly agreed to go to Tampa Bay. He certainly won’t be the last assistant to jump ship.

Odds are that this group disbanding isn’t exactly the Andy Reid coaching tree, or Holmgren or Belichick for that matter. What they did have was a good mix of experience and success in their fields.

The Chudzinski hire was collectively easier to swallow knowing that Norv Turner would be running the offense and Horton was heading up the defense.

So is there a combination of head coach candidate and assistant coaches available that is better than the group leaving Berea?

Josh McDaniels is the name most commonly associated with the Browns early on. The 37 year old Barberton, Ohio native interviewed with the Browns on Saturday. His only experience as a head coach was in Denver where he complied an 11-17 record, and might be most remembered for trading up to get Tim Tebow in the first round of the 2010 draft. He is currently the offensive coordinator of the Patriots, the same job he held before taking the head coaching position in Denver.

McDaniels also ran the St. Louis Rams offense in 2011. That offense was the worst in the league and McDaniels was allowed to seek another opportunity after head coach Steve Spagnuolo was fired.

So McDaniels’ only real success in the league has been as the offensive coordinator in New England for Bill Belichick.

Another hot name linked to the Browns is Jim Schwartz to become the defensive coordinator. Rumors have had Schwartz told he will be the next coordinator with approval from whichever head coach is brought in. Those reports have been disputed and denied. Regardless of those reports, Schwartz is a possibility.

There are other names of course. There is current Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Gase has no head coaching experience. The Broncos scored a record 606 points this season under the 35 year old, first time offensive coordinator. Of course, it certainly helps when you have a machine like Peyton Manning who is as much a tactician on the field as he is a passer.

Could the Browns find gold among the candidates that are out there? Of course they could.

Looking at the coaches in play though, is there a combination out there that is definitively better than the trio walking out the door?

Now that’s a good question.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I have a this or that question for everyone: Would you rather never make the playoffs a la the Cleveland Browns or make the playoffs and never win a game a la the Cincinnati Bengals?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Since nothing has “leaked” from Lombardi should we infer that the McDaniels interview didn’t go well?

  • Natedawg86

    More like
    So McDaniels’ only real success in the league has been as the offensive coordinator in New England for Bill Belichick AND TOM BRADY.
    Also, I keep seeing Schwartz as D Coord? Why would brass even think or hint at this before the new HC is hired. Puzzling.

  • Rudy

    Would you rather watch the Browns go through another coaching search where all the best candidates wind up going somewhere else or have nails driven into your skull?

  • Rudy

    Playoffs, definitely. Get in the game.

  • MrCleaveland

    Granted that none of us knows what Chud was like out of the public eye, but it probably wasn’t much different from what we saw publicly. And that is, he seemed to be more of a “facilitator” or counselor than a strong leader. That touchy-feely stuff doesn’t go far in football. For that reason alone, I don’t mind that he was let go.

    We might or might not get the right guy, but it’s clear that we already had the wrong guy. So Jimmy had nothing to lose by firing him.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    That’s a cop out Lombardi would have surely been leaking something if he felt so good about it. I wouldn’t expect McDaniels to do so although if I were Browns fans I’d be preparing myself should McDaniels become the next head coach. And I don’t mean preparing myself for the playoffs.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Great point about Schwartz I thought it was odd too. If it ends up true it’ll be a shining example that the next head coach isn’t making his own decisions if at all.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Of course Chud wasn’t the answer so I have just one question: Who hired him and wasn’t it the same people who called him something like one of the brightest young offensive minds in the game?

  • MrCleaveland

    Sham, what did you expect them to say?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I won’t say the truth because we know that doesn’t happen but you have to admit they laid it on pretty thick when they introduced Chudzinski as their head coach no? I don’t think Chudzinski even believed he was their first choice. He saw/read how they pursued Kelly not to mention Marrone and the others.

    Maybe they actually thought he was one of the brightest young offensive minds I mean that’s how his team should have shown improvement despite no QB, no RB, 1 WR and 1 TE. And please keep in mind I’m not and was not a Chudzinski fan I’m simply saying the people who hired and lauded him are the same people who cut him off at the knees and fired him the night of the last game of the season. Then the next day sat up there and told the fans they deserved better which is why they chose to act immediately not to mention how the decision would cost Haslam’s pocketbook.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Is there a difference?

  • mgbode

    well, we already had nails driven through our skulls the last 7 games of the season, so it’s pretty numb up there.

  • MrCleaveland

    Sham, I don’t understand what you’re getting at. Of course people praise new hires to the skies. You have to. It would be stupid and a p.r. nightmare not to.

    So they praised the guy when they hired him. So what?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    So what? So everybody knew they were full of it especially football people. You think any prospective head coaches aren’t going to pause over how they handled their first head coaching decision, the first major hiring of their regime?

    You only have one chance at making a first impression and for Haslam, Banner and Lombardi their first was an overwhelming DUD!

  • MrCleaveland

    I don’t think prospective head coaches give a rat’s behind about the way they handled their first decision.

    Some people make way too much of this.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Maybe maybe not of course it’ll probably be helped by a few more zeros on the old contract. Lets see if Haslam talks about that hitting his pocketbook next.

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    Josh McDaniels’ 11-17 record equates to a 6 win season. THAT COUNTS AS PROGRESS!!11!!

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    Who in their right mind thinks McDaniels has done ANYTHING to earn this job?

    He was horrible in Denver
    He traded up for Tebow
    He bombed out in STL with Bradford
    His only success is under one of the greatest coaches in recent history
    His only success is with a future HOF QB

    If your Haslem, what can you possibly see in this guy that doesnt scream, “Im going to be eating another $10M contract loss in one season. Again”??

    This has the Shurmur/LaMonte connection written all over it only now its McDaniels/Sexton. Someone in the media needs to drill Haslem and Banner if a Sexton client gets hired.

  • whosevelt

    Except that he had eight wins his first year and three his second, and we know how terrible regression is.

  • @TheDeePagel

    “…the front office was putting things into place for 2014 or 2015 rather than expecting wins in 2013.”

    Rick to be fair, this isn’t what the front office said….they never said they fired Chud because they were expecting wins, they fired him because they felt the team was not improving from week to week as they expected, and as they saw from other teams with first year head coaches.

    To give them credit, they were/are right about that.

    Now the question is, was it the fault of Chud, or if there was a different head coach would it have been different?

    That’s the debate…..not wins.

  • @TheDeePagel

    He didn’t finish his second season, so we don’t know how many he would have finished with….he had 3 after 12 games.

  • Horace

    Yeah, I wish that someone could ask lombardi (if he ever appears for a press conference) how he’s acting in the team’s best interests by leaking every single detail of our organization? Or, another good question for him would be to define what, exactly, he does for the team.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    OY VEY!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    One problem if going by the criteria they said about first year head coaches having teams who improved as the season progressed Andy Reid should also be fired. I mean he started the season 8-0 and finished what 10-6. On top of that he lost a heartbreaker to Indianapolis in the first round of the playoffs.

  • Robbie S

    I believe he was answering your playoffs question and I agree.

  • Robbie S

    Nails driven into your skull would end the suffering. The Browns just continue it.

  • CB Everett

    The Tebow trade up is not an argument. It was an idiotic move, yes, but he won’t have drafting power. And plus, every single time I hear the Tebow drafting being thrown out, people somehow forget to mention that he also drafted Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in the same draft as Tebow. If we disregard drafting history, fine. But otherwise, we have to give credit where credit is due.

  • Rick Manning

    Hey anyone wanna talk about the Cavs?

    Yeah, me neither…

  • Tron

    I know people don’t like Mcdaniels and with his record I can understand why. But I would really like this hire. He’s an Ohio guy and he has passion. He’s young and can still learn a lot. I think our situation is one in which he can succeed.(don’t know why I think that, BUT I DO!)

  • saggy

    pretty good point.

  • @TheDeePagel

    True…but the playoffs trump all. Would anyone be surprised if they come out in 2014 with a “winners” schedule and go 3-13 and Reid gets canned?

    I’d probably be surprised if Reid got fired in the situation because he has made the playoffs now with two different teams, but still that kind of thing is what happens in the NFL today.

  • @TheDeePagel

    Ok….let me go on record as saying that McDaniels is not my choice.

    I give him 1.5 pom-poms out of 5 possible.

    Of all the names so far, Stoops is my 5 out of 5 pom-poms…but too bad he is a false rumor.

  • Wow

    Hey they only need to win 5 for progress!

  • Wow

    Hey they only need to win 5 for progress!

  • MadreHillSuperstar

    No talk about Franklin then? Oooooooookay.

  • saggy

    Bynum and picks for Deng. I like it.

  • WFNY_DP

    “Looking at the coaches in play though, is there a combination out there that is definitively better than the trio walking out the door?”

    Yes, because Joe Banner says there is.

  • James Workman

    No, there is not.

  • arnold_palmer

    Chud was an Ohio guy with passion…

  • Harv 21

    Good article and analogy, Rick.

    I’m so sick of the revolving door that it will be hard to give the new staff any honeymoon. This morning heard Lovie Smith talking about the Bears’ struggles after he left Chicago and he said “but they’ve only had those coaches and that system for one year.” Meanwhile, here in the land of “it’s a process” and “building for sustained success,” guys like Josh Gordon, Buster Skrine, Jabal Sheard and Mitchell Schwartz will have their third head coach, coordinator, position coach, and system in 3 years.

    Seems like Banner/Lombardi are less likely to bring in coaches who have succeeded in that particular coaching position before than people who fit within an organizational chart that must have Banner perched so high atop that his influence remains unthreatened. Even if they stumble on the Next Great Coach, I just don’t see the protection of one’s power as a sustainable model of NFL success.

  • Kevin unemployed engineer

    Chud got a bad deal. He did understand you can’t run run pass punt lose no matter if youre on your third string qb. He tried, I dont care who the New coach is cuz their new and that’s tough enough, we should be discussing draft and whats depressing is we are forced to pick for need and not for athletes. A new qb even in a qb league is not the answer. We need best available player no matter what position. They are Clowney, Barr, Hageman, Evans, Lee, Mosley Shazier Watkins. IF I WERE GM I’d try to get a
    One or two of these studs. We do have two first round picks. People say April’s best time for browns fan…I get sick because I watch Baltimore piits and cinci take all the players I’d want on my team and it’s depressing.

  • Kevin unemployed engineer

    Chud got a bad deal. He did understand you can’t run run pass punt lose no matter if youre on your third string qb. He tried, I dont care who the New coach is cuz their new and that’s tough enough, we should be discussing draft and whats depressing is we are forced to pick for need and not for athletes. A new qb even in a qb league is not the answer. We need best available player no matter what position. They are Clowney, Barr, Hageman, Evans, Lee, Mosley Shazier Watkins. IF I WERE GM I’d try to get a
    One or two of these studs. We do have two first round picks. People say April’s best time for browns fan…I get sick because I watch Baltimore piits and cinci take all the players I’d want on my team and it’s depressing.