Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ho hum

Finally, some movement on the coaching front from the Browns. All it gets from this corner, however, is one big yawn. Same old, same old.

Late last week, the club announced that Dick Jauron is the new defensive coordinator. Today, Chris Tabor was named special teams coach, although teams now like to call their special teams coaches coordinators.

Summarizing, the Browns have taken a decided step sideways as Pat Shurmur prepares for his freshman season with the Browns.

In Jauron, Shurmur has succeeded in quieting the locker room. The decibel level drops to almost inaudible status as Rob Ryan takes his bombast deep into the heart of Texas. Jauron is the polar opposite of the man he replaces.

As colorful and non-diplomatic as Ryan was, the new DC is as low key as they come. After all, he’s a Yalie. He coaches from the neck up. It’s all between the ears. Ryan’s coaching style, on the other hand, is rooted in the larynx.

More on Jauron in a bit.

Tabor comes over to Cleveland spending the last three seasons as assistant special teams coach in Chicago under Dave Toub. Key word in that last sentence is assistant. Granted, the Bears are one of the National Football League’s best teams in that department, but Toub is the major reason, not Tabor, his assistant.

Why at this juncture are the Browns hiring someone with relatively little NFL experience to head a unit that also has been one of the best in the league under Brad Seely the last couple of seasons? It appears as though they have lowered the bar in replacing the veteran special teams guru.

Certainly, there had to be someone better than Tabor out there on the assistant coaching landscape. Hard to believe he was the best choice.

Now then, back to Jauron. Other than familiarity, it’s hard to understand what Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert Jr. and Shurmur saw in this guy.

He runs a bend-not-break defense. He tends to favor the more vanilla approach to defense. As Tom Coughlin’s original defensive coordinator with the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars, he was part of a coaching staff that produced three winning seasons in four years.

Statistically, Jauron’s defenses consistently ranked in the middle of the pack in scoring defense, were weak against the run, racked up a decent number of sacks (130) and lagged in overall defense before he left to become head coach in Chicago..

In other words, nothing about which to get excited. There is little reason to believe he has changed his philosophy.

It’s beginning to appear as though the Browns are trying to ratchet down the aggression on defense (not a good sign because defense is all about aggression) and ratchet up the offense with a pass-first philosophy.

If they are, indeed, serious about slapping some makeup on a rather faceless offense under Eric Mangini and Brian Daboll, then it behooves Shurmur and the front office to go after someone who would not be in learning mode. Just because the new coach wants to call the plays doesn’t mean the new coordinator should be a neophyte.

There would be nothing wrong with going after a veteran coach, someone who knows how to choreograph a splashy offense. Someone like Brad Childress, who was Andy Reid’s top offensive guy in Philadelphia for three seasons before taking over as head man in Minnesota.

Now before you go off the deep end, hear me out.

Nothing wrong with Childress coming in as offensive coordinator and giving the rookie head coach Shurmur some sage advice along the way. Calling plays and being a head coach simultaneously is difficult enough on a veteran, let alone someone doing it for the first time.

Shurmur is going to need some help and someone like Childress would be a solid choice to fill that role. I’d like to think he is the kind of guy willing to subjugate himself for the good of the team.

However, if the Browns follow their pattern of selecting coordinators in the same manner as the past week, it does not bode well for Shurmur and lessens my confidence in what he’s trying to accomplish.

No comments:

Post a Comment