April 23, 2014

NFL Rumor: Bruce Arians wanted Browns coaching job “badly”

Per WEWS’ Mike Cairns, we have word that former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Bruce Arians wanted to return home but was not granted an interview.

Arians, the current offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts, was one of the two men whom most Browns fans had claimed to have wanted to be the next head coach of their team. He is also one of the main antagonists in the 10-year retrospective playoff piece that hit WFNY earlier this weekend.

Since leaving the Browns after the 2003 season, Arians, 60, spent several years (and two Super Bowls) with the Pittsburgh Steelers — the team in which Jimmy Haslam III had minority ownership — before being relieved of his duties and helping the Colts make the playoffs one year after winning just two games. He is expected to interview with the Philadelphia Eagles later this weekend.

[Related: Browns’ exhaustive coaching search is refreshing]

Browns fans split on Chip Kelly and Bruce Arians as favorite coaching candidate

As the Browns start to interview candidates and whittle down the list, I was curious where Browns fans were on the list of candidates. I posted the question to our Facebook page to let everyone weigh in, and two candidates emerged as the favorites.

Some of the comments were interesting too. [Read more...]

Heckert on difference between Browns and Colts

Tom Heckert had a statement released by the Browns today, but he also spoke to WKNR’s Tony Grossi and gave this little nugget.

“The difference between us and the Colts is the Colts won the close games and we didn’t,” Heckert said. “We’ve proved we can play with anybody. I think the outlook is awesome.”

In many ways Heckert’s right, but if you look a little bit deeper and ask why the Browns didn’t win their close games you arrive at two things almost every time, in all likelihood.

1. Quarterback

2. Coaching

How much of those two things Tom Heckert had control over is anyone’s guess. Certainly Pat Shurmur was always mostly tied to Mike Holmgren who worked with Pat’s uncle Fritz. Additionally, it has always been speculated that Mike Holmgren was the driving force behind drafting Brandon Weeden. Even if Tom Heckert would have drafted Brandon Weeden, it is usually assumed that Holmgren drove the decision to do it with the second pick in the first round rather than waiting until the second round.

Maybe it’s one of those baseless assumptions and rumors, but it sure seemed that way with the press conferences after the draft.

[Related: Browns Release Statement on Firing of Heckert, Shurmur]

Ulrich: Bruce Arians Deserves A Look From Browns

Nate Ulrich at The Akron Beacon Journal this morning is throwing former Colts interim coach and current offensive coordinator Bruce Arians’s hat into the ring for the Cleveland Browns head coaching job.

“Banner has harped on how important it is for a head coach to possess desirable leadership qualities. Arians, 60, obviously isn’t lacking in that category, and now he has proof.

“You see what he does with offenses,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who played for Arians while he was an assistant for the Steelers, said this week during a conference call. “You see what he can do with a team like the Colts. No disrespect to a lot of the Colts’ players, but they’ve got a lot of guys that people probably haven’t heard of. They’re playing obviously with some motivation for Coach Pagano. But [Arians] knows how to motivate guys, and they want to play for him and he’s a players’ coach. He listens to what the assistant coaches and the players have to say. He’s not an ego guy, so I think all those tangibles can make him a good head coach.””

Arians was the Browns’ offensive coordinator from 2001-2003 under Butch Davis.

The Browns, of course, still employ head coach Pat Shurmur heading into the season finale tomorrow against Pittsburgh. Now, as for any days past Black Monday, that seems to be the world’s worst kept secret.

Related: 2012 Sucked; Four Reasons Why 2013 Might Be Better

Bruce Arians claims responsibility for weird timeout

Bruce Arians appeared to be trolling the Browns when he called timeout with one second left in the first half. Arians had an explanation, but after hearing it, I still don’t really understand the logic.

“I don’t have the button to our special teams coach, so I was trying to run down and catch him to call timeout with four seconds left to make them kick the ball and just try to block it and see what happened,” Arians said. “We end up screwing our defense by having too many people out there and giving them the shot for the Hail Mary. That’s on me all the way.”

Regardless of how weird the theory is there, I love the last line. “That’s on me all the way.” An (acting) head coach showing accountability for a strange and wrong decision. Arians was just lucky that Brandon Weeden’s rocket toss to the end zone didn’t bite him when given the opportunity by the Colts head coach.

[Related:Pics: Browns question special teams holding calls against Ray Ventrone]

The Truth About Butch

Just when you think its a slow day in Cleveland sports, a not so fond blast from the past resurfaces that makes you laugh and aggravates you all at once.

During a media session in Dallas yesterday, Pittsburgh Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians let loose with some built up anger and unleashed it on his former boss, Butch Davis. Arians was the Offensive Coordinator for the Browns under Davis during the infamous January 2003 playoff loss to Pittsburgh. Not that I need to remind any of you, but the Browns blew leads of 24-7 in the third and 33-21 with just over 10 minutes left that culminated in a 36-33 loss to the hated rival Steelers.

Talking to Gregg Rosenthal of Pro Football Talk about that fateful day, Arians pulled no punches at who he blames for that colossal, Cleveland-esque collapse. [Read more...]

Super Bowl Media Day: Rob Ryan’s Defense Getting Some Love

Though he has now been hired and fired twice in the last three seasons, his hybrid 3-4 defense was the talk of a select bunch during Tuesday’s Super Bowl media day frenzy.

Stifling opponents like New England and New Orleans this season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, there is a growing excitement in Dallas – Ryan’s new home – as they look to improve their defense over what is already a tough defensive division in the NFL East. The Dallas Morning News used the word “mind-bending” when attempting to describe what other quarterbacks face when a Rob Ryan-led unit lines up on the other side of the ball.

“It’s confusion,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said on Tuesday. “For me, it was chaos. For them, I’m sure it’s organized chaos. If you have players that can play within that system, you’re going to get a great defense.”

[Read more...]