Grossi: Josh McDaniels and Mike Lombardi likely to become Joe Banner’s puppets

Fresh off of their soul-crushing loss to the Washington Redskins, it appears that the inevitable shake-up of the Cleveland Browns front office and coaching staff is starting to take more shape. From ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi:

It is commonly believed that GM Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur will not be back. Heckert, my sources say, knew it the day Banner reported to work in October as Haslam’s CEO. Shurmur surely knows it now, after that coaching debacle against Washington on Sunday.

Banner has diagramed an organization chart that calls for football operations to report to him. That means Heckert’s position will be replaced by a glorified player personnel director who will work closely with Banner. He may win some battles but ultimately he will have no real authority to establish a vision, pick players or make trades. Banner will set the agenda.

So who would accept these restrictions? Someone who has been out of the league for five years – Mike Lombardi.

Grossi continues by listing three coaching candidates who could join Lombardi in Cleveland: Alabama’s Nick Saban, Oregon’s Chip Kelly, and New England’s offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Saban is rumored to be on the receiving end of a 10-year, $100 million deal, but has no interest in coming to Cleveland, especially if it is Lombardi who is calling shots.

Kelly would be a serious candidate, but is rumored to want full control of the roster if he would accept a head coaching spot in the NFL. With Banner and, potentially, Lombardi in tow, this would not happen in Cleveland.

The third choice, and potentially the most likely to actually happen, would be former Denver Broncos head coach and current New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. A native of Canton, Ohio, there are ties to the area; at age 36, he is not considered to be much of a retread despite his failed attempt at Mile High. Grossi adds that if it were McDaniels who is hired, it would likely meant that Dick Jauron would be retained as defensive coordinator.

[Related: Did Brandon Weeden call the 69-yard TD pass to Travis Benjamin himself?]

  • maxfnmloans

    Jumpin Jesus on a pogo stick. If this happens, it means we have traded one system of cronyism for another. Can anyone tell me anything notable that either Mike Lombardi or Josh McDaniels have accomplished when they were not working for Bill Belichik or coaching Tom Brady?

    I was so full of optimism when Randy sold. I want to keep my optimism for Christmas.

    The cronyism in the NFL, or the “Boys Club” mentality is really turning me off to the game. Often it seems that decisions are made without the best interests of the team in mind. The person making the decisions may think they’re acting in the best interest of the team, but that is because their biases toward their friends (or old friends nephews) clouds their judgment, and the fans just have to hope things work out. There is no logic, reason or accountability. Except for the fans. If they don’t pay, the NFL will take their team away.

  • BenRM

    I firmly believe Saban is staying at Alabama.
    I want no part of Chip Kelly. He’s going to be the worst college hire since Spurrier.

    I could deal with McDaniels. I think he’s talented, but he had better have learned from being the leagues biggest moron in Denver.

  • JHop

    When will the NFL learn that Belichik proteges don’t turn out to be the next Belichik? I feel like a good portion of the league has set themselves back several years by making the same mistake: Browns, Chiefs, Broncos, Browns again, Jets…

  • gren

    I don’t mind the McDaniels potential hire. What I do mind, is that everyone will basically be Joe Banner’s puppets.

    Can we not have 3 guys who disagree on things and come to a conclusion on what will benefit the team the most? Not one guys saying, ‘oh this guys great, I don’t care what anyone else says, he’s our guy now.’

    I thought the circus already left town?

  • Hypno_Toad

    No McDaniels. No. No. No. No.


    Was it not McDaniels that traded for Brady Quinn and drafted Tebow in the first round? Sure, he wouldn’t have as much control over the roster if what Grossi says is true, but man…I don’t know about that guy. I also don’t particularly remember his offense in St. Louis lighting things up the year he was there, but I tend to think he’s a better offensive mind than the Shurmurnator.

  • Henry Brown

    Ugh listening to the complaints of “cronyism” and agent conspiracies is so annoying. There’s nothing wrong with having your management and coaches all be on the same page. Find something else to complain about, I’m sure it won’t be hard.

  • maxfnmloans

    says the person complaining about what someone writes on an internet message board

  • BenRM


  • Harv 21

    So if your excerpt is essentially all Grossi said, his unnamed “source” didn’t name potential candidates, this is Grossi spitballing. His source is quoted to say only that Heckert “knew” he was gone when Banner reported for work. Wow, that single source is waaay inside, with access to both Banner’s intentions and Heckert’s state of mind. Impressive.
    Really hope we aren’t going to treat every New-Style Grossi attention-seeking post as something necessarily credible to get excited about.

  • 0degreesK

    My goodness gracious… this all sounds dreadful to me.

  • Steve

    Josh McDaniel had more than a pretty good offense when Cassel was the QB.

  • mgbode

    I tried to let someone else bring it up. I tried not to be the one to scare everyone so much. But, people focus on Lombardi being a wretched FO hire (and he would be), but McDaniel’s is worse than Shurmur.

    How do I know? You cannot get a closer 1:1 comparison than McDaniel’s taking over the St.Louis Rams offense from Shurmur and seeing what they both did with Sam Bradford:

    Bradford w/ Shurmur: 7-9(record) 60%comp 18TD 15INT 6.0YPA 76.5QBrating
    Bradford w/ McDaniels: 1-9(record) 53%comp 6TD 6INT 6.1YPA 70.5QBrating

    But hey, we are so happy with Shurmur and the offense we can stand to take a small step downwards, right?

  • ChadF

    I really don’t think that comparison is fair. Bradford was hurt for most of 2011 and really both seasons were for terrible teams. You can only do so much with the personnel you have, especially if that personnel is the atrocious 2011 Rams.

    I like this much better:

    In the 2007 season, with McDaniels at the helm of the offense, the Patriots set NFL records, scoring 75 touchdowns (67 on offense, 50 passing and 17 rushing) and 589 points.

    Now, I’m not saying that I’m all in with McDaniels, but I’m definitely “all out” with Shurmur no matter how people compare to coaching Sam Bradford.

  • mgbode

    well, with the personnel that they had Shurmur helped them go 7-9 and get into a wk17 setting for the division title. McDaniel’s went 1-9 when Bradford was healthy (and that’s even w/ getting his favorite WR Lloyd from Denver mid-season).

    i’m just saying that if you are all-out on Shurmur, then you should similarly be “all-out” on McDaniel’s.

  • JK

    +1 just for jumpin jesus on a pogo stick… that had me LOLing

  • JK

    Another failed former HC? SIGN ME UP!

  • matt underwood

    What the hell is up Grossi’s ass when it comes to just about every browns front office person ever. granted, they all have pretty much blown ass, but why all the hate for lombardi? seems like he has a decent track record, no?

  • John Gilewicz

    Great. Blow up the franchise – again. If they let Heckert go, I may have to give up on the Browns – I can’t believe I am saying that, by the way…
    If Lombardi was SO good, why the hell hasn’t ONE team out of 32 picked him up in MORE THAN FIVE YEARS???? If he was that good, surely SOMEONE in the NFL would have recognized his skills in the last five years.
    Shurmer…meh. But Heckert did more in three years than everyone else in ten – Richardson, Weeden (admittedly jury still out), Schwartz, Gordon, Heiden, Ward, Taylor…and so on. And that is after coming in shortly before his first draft.
    At least we have an owner now that gives a damn, but this is not Tennessee.

  • mgbode

    i wonder what Steve Heiden is up to these days

  • subadai

    Totally agree. Consider the source here people. Grossi has had it in for the Browns since his inability to master twitter got him fired.

  • Tyler Sautters

    Talk about a worse-case scenario.

  • arnold_palmer

    “I want no part of Chip Kelly. He’s going to be the worst college hire since Spurrier.”

    I don’t get why some college coaches demand full roster control… Just because they were good at recruiting, doesn’t mean they will excel when it comes to the 53 man roster.

  • paulbip

    So is banner going to run the draft?

  • ChadF

    How about Andy Reid?

  • John Gilewicz

    lol – funny. Haden, ok? H-A-D-E-N. Although maybe Heckert had a role in Steve too…