I have been on record defending Mike Holmgren’s process of hiring Pat Shurmur… to an extent. I will never turn any situation like this into a completely black and white situation though. It is nearly impossible with so many moving pieces as the transition takes shape. Would Rob Ryan stay, or would he go? Well, now we know he has moved on to Dallas. How about special teams coach Brad Seely? Adam Schefter cast some doubt about his return to Cleveland with some 49ers news yesterday. While I can still defend the process of hiring Pat Shurmur, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have some doubts and fears about what is going on right now.
First the good things though. Dave Wannstedt and Dick Jauron are still in the running for Browns’ defensive coordinator. I liked Rob Ryan, but if anybody was going to replace him, I wanted it to come down to some really experienced candidates to help this first-time head coach. These two coaching vets fit that bill for sure. Part of my desire to see Holmgren find a young hungry guy to be head coach was bringing big-time experienced coordinators to help him. In my mind that is a perfect environment for developing a head coach. Holmgren at the top and at least two more experts flanking Shurmur on his right and left.
Unfortunately though, Holmgren decided to let Pat Shurmur call his own plays. That pretty much eliminated the chances of that wish getting granted. I find it difficult to imagine one of the premier, experienced offensive coordinators deciding they want to come to Cleveland and do all kinds of work, and then not get to call the plays on Sunday. Based on the interviews for offensive coordinator, it seems that fear might be pretty well founded in truth as the Browns talk to QB coaches looking for a promotion.
That’s not to say that the Browns’ coaching staff is doomed. Far from it. Maybe the plan is to bring in an offensive coordinator who can be Shurmur’s support staff and Mike Holmgren is going to mentor the entire offensive side of the ball from the President’s office. I don’t have any information that this is the case, but I hate to just call out negatives without acknowledging that we aren’t privy to the whole plan. If everything in this world that I didn’t understand was doomed to fail, we wouldn’t live in a very good world. Trust me.
We’ll just have to see how things play out. Still, I am wary that a first-time head coach is going to be so embroiled in the offense and calling plays that some other part of the job may suffer like in-game management. If there is one thing I will be furious about with any coaching staff it’s problems with clock management and challenges.
One thing’s for sure. No matter how this plays out, Shurmur will have a lot to prove. That was going to be the case no matter who the Browns hired as head coach, including if Holmgren had named himself to the post.