July 31, 2014

Browns’ exhaustive coaching search is refreshing

It came out this morning that the Browns’ brass interviewed former Arizona Cardinals coach (and former Pittsburgh coordinator) Ken Whisenhunt. This, on the heels of their interview with Ray Horton and news of their forthcoming interview with Chip Kelly. Those are just the names of candidates that we know of since Joe Banner and Jimmy Haslam stationed themselves in Arizona around the Fiesta Bowl where Kelly’s Oregon team is set to face Kansas State tonight. The Browns have been linked to other names as well. Obviously their first move to go to Arizona shows that their first priority is Chip Kelly. Whether or not you like or agree with that, compared to the last two coaching searches in Berea, this one definitely feels different. Different in a good way.

Randy Lerner hired Eric Mangini nine days after he was fired by the Jets. He did so only after failing to land Scott Pioli as his general manager. Lerner spoke to other candidates like Steve Spagnuolo, Josh McDaniels and outgoing Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker before hiring Mangini. 

When Pat Shurmur was hired the Browns had promised a wide search for their next coach. It remains unclear if Mike Holmgren tested the waters on bigger candidates like Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher in an unofficial capacity, but again it seems the search was anything but wide.1 The official record will show that Holmgren interviewed Mike Mularkey, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Shurmur. An article from the AP also points out that Marty Mornhinweg’s name was bandied about but a meeting never happened.

Of course if the Browns get into a meeting with Chip Kelly on Friday and consummate a deal to make him the next coach of the Cleveland Browns, the number of interviews for Banner and Haslam’s search won’t be all that different. In fact, Horton, Whisenhunt and then a hire of Chip Kelly would seem to be even fewer, but the ambition of going after a Chip Kelly is at least something. Again, whether you like Kelly as a candidate or not, the fact that there is competition for his services from the Bills and Eagles is a clear differentiator from the hunt that led the Browns to Shurmur and Mangini.2

Of course none of this guarantees the Browns will get it right, whatever “it” is anyway. There’s never any guarantee of that. At this point all you can do is judge the process. That being the case and given the most recent comparisons for Browns fans, this search appears to be off to a decent start at least.

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Footnotes:

  1. At the time I gave Holmgren the benefit of the doubt on this point assuming he had talked to those candidates. I’ve never been afraid to admit when I was wrong. []
  2. And even if you love Eric Mangini, it’s hard to say the search that landed him in Cleveland was exhaustive. []
  • Vindictive_Pat

    I’m hoping we can believe Kelly’s words on this one if he ends up being HC… he stated to Mary Kay Cabot and in his little video session with Urban Meyer that he believes very much in tailoring the offense to fit the personnel (and I think he’s shown that in his stops as a college OC and HC). At New Hampshire his offense was fifth nationally in pass yards per game… not exactly the same as the offense he had at Oregon.

  • http://twitter.com/rwryley Bob W Ryley

    Take it from someone in Philly who watched Banner’s act for many years. He’s a cheap SOB who will treats his players like crap during contract negotiations. Player/Management relations under Banner will not be good. His comment a number of weeks ago that he wanted to make the Browns the most “fan friendly” team in the NFL had Philly observers rollin’ in the streets with laughter.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Looks like Marrone is fact now… Chris Mortensen reporting that the Browns interviewed him today.

  • cmm13

    “had Philly observers rollin’ in the streets with laughter.”

    ….or disgust if Banner learned from his experiences/mistakes in Philly.

  • cmm13

    And the worst draft picks.

  • cmm13

    The first time that photo was used I thought it was an ad for “Maury Finkel’s House of Lawyers and Such”

  • saggy

    Whatever happened to that Gentry guy who got the red ticket in his locker?

  • MallaLubba

    …on a related note: C-sharp.

  • Harv 21

    yessir. The hottest HC candidate I ever remember was Gary Kubiak, who every year flirted with teams and then stayed as an assistant at Denver. And when he finally took the Houston job in ’06, sure took a lot of roster building before he was considered a competent HC.

  • http://twitter.com/jlsclarity Javis Sneed

    perpetual sinus infection.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Even though we now know the issue is moot, I think your point is fair. From what I read about it, though, the argument they were trying to make is that O’Brien would claim the contract was signed under false pretense and thus the entire contract would be nullified. I don’t know if it would have worked because I too am not a lawyer. I was just relaying the info I had read.