Over the holidays, it has sometimes felt like my wife and I have been in the car more than we’ve been home. As an unintended consequence of that, my writing for WFNY has effectively fallen off the face of the earth over the last 10-14 days.
Coincidentally, the one major Cleveland sports story in that time period has been the house-cleaning in Berea and the prospects of a new regime both in the front office and on the sidelines. I am bummed that I have not weighed in more thoroughly here, but that stops now!
I wanted to make this a quasi-open thread to gauge where our readership is at relative to the names out there for both positions… both the rumors, and perhaps the ones we don’t hear about. More than just the rumors, though:
As a fan, WHO DO YOU WANT?
I’ve broken my answers down into a few categories. Feel free to follow suit in the comments. A couple of caveats: I’ve left Parcells off this list for two reasons: 1. Who knows what he’s going to do, and when he’s going to do it? 2. I’m a bit on the fence, because dude never stays in one place for more than 3-4 years, and I want to build something that can self-sustain for a decade.
1. My Wish-List
This is the pairing I would love to have in a vacuum. In other words, whether it’s likely to happen or not, if this were Madden and you could seemingly always outbid the computer for guys, these are the guys I would hire.
GM: Floyd Reese
Coach: Mike Shanahan
Both guys bring instant credability to the franchise. Both have been perennial winners, and both have built multiple playoff teams in their careers. Look at Tennessee’s team right now, and ask yourself if you would take the players they have on defense over our current roster. Reese built most of that team. Look at Denver’s history on offense. Aside from this year when injuries killed them, they have been a team that can run the ball almost at will, and can win in cold-weather climates almost every year. Plus, neither of them have any connection to anyone previously here, which is one thing I think the team desperately needs: a clean break. Tell me that combination of guys wouldn’t work here!
2. Rumored guys I could live with
These are names we know the Browns have contacted and have or will most likely have interviews with.
GM: Rich McKay
Coach: Steve Spagnuolo, Jim Schwartz
McKay has been involved in the rebuilding of two once-woeful franchises in his career, and let’s face facts: that’s where we are. Spagnuolo has worked with Tom Coughlin, who is a successful coach who instills discipline (minus Plaxico, of course) in his teams through sheer will, and Spagnuolo has built a juggernaut defense that lost its two best pass rushers from a Super Bowl team and still managed to create havoc for opposing offenses. We’ve talked about the Titans’ defense, and Schwartz has been with a solid head coach in Jeff Fisher for years and himself has a pretty solid defensive unit. The Browns offense is much closer talent-wise (if everyone is healthy) than is the defense, and so someone like Spagnuolo or Schwartz could help to close that gap.
3. I will sell my season tickets.
This is the category of guys that are rumored to be in the running, but of which I want little or no part.
GM: Scott Pioli
Coach: (in order of most likely to make me sell my tickets to least likely) Josh McDaniels, Kirk Ferentz, any other college coach except Pete Carroll who isn’t coming to the Browns, Eric Mangini
You might sense a theme here. I’m done doing “Patriots West!” with this team. I’m NOT sold on McDaniels’ credentials at all. Name one coach from the Patriots/Belichick tree that has succeeded anywhere. [checks watch] Got one? Yeah, me neither. My hunch is that Belichick runs that entire franchise, and the rising tide of his abilities raises all boats. Mangini looks almost as listless on the sidelines as did Romeo, Charlie Weiss can’t win at Notre Dame with top recruiting classes and solid QBs, we all know about Romeo. As for McDaniels, I’m not sold on a guy whose calling card includes having Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, a solid o-line and a solid defense. And Bill Belichick. Ditto Pioli. Unless there’s some way to take stock of who makes all of the personnel decisions in New England, color me skeptical of anyone other than Belichick from that franchise.
Further, I don’t understand the infatuation with Kirk Ferentz. I know he and Pioli are buds, and I know he coached for the Browns once upon a time, but seriously… I can’t think of a college coach whose name keeps coming up in rumors every time the Browns have an opening who would be less qualified. Iowa IS NOT THAT GOOD, PEOPLE. Other than Bob Sanders and Dallas Clark, can you name me an Iowa player who’s been a stand-out in the NFL? Steinbach? Aaron Kampman? If anything, he would bring to the table an ability to potentially develop some linemen, given his experience there. But, what else? Why is this guy even being mentioned?
So, there you have it. My list. What say you, folks?