First off, a frank admission.
I was hoping the Browns would hire Mike Sherman to be their next offensive coordinator. Why? Because I think he has a better offensive mind that anyone else out there who was jobless.
The Browns reportedly had considered Sherman and Brad Childress for the job. It baffles me why they chose to go with Childress. His credentials pale in comparison to those of Sherman, who wound up succeeding Brian Daboll in Miami.
Then I thought it had to be the Bob LaMonte connection. LaMonte, whose Cleveland presence grows with every front-office hire, was Childress’ agent and got the job because Sherman was not in the LaMonte stable. I figured wrong. He is.
What a pipeline LaMonte has with the Browns. From Mike Holmgren to Tom Heckert Jr. to Pat Shurmur and now Childress, the agent might as well set up a satellite office at 76 Lou Groza Blvd.
So why did the wrong guy wind up in Cleveland? We’ll never know the real answer to that one, but here’s a guess. Sherman wanted total control of the offense, including calling plays, and Shurmur said no.
Childress, who called plays just one season in his National Football League coaching career, was more than willing to cede play calling to the head coach. After being out of the NFL last season, he just wanted to get back into the coaching ranks anyway he could.
Sherman was a highly successful head coach in Green Bay after succeeding Holmgren, who moved to Seattle. As the head coach and play caller, the Packers racked up a 53-27 record in his first five seasons, winning three straight NFC North championships.
Due in large part to significant early-season injuries to Ahman Green, Javon Walker and Bubba Franks, the Packers slipped to 4-12 in 2005 and gave the front office a reason to pink slip Sherman.
Childress does not own nearly as impressive a resume. He was given a large share of the credit when he was offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, but Andy Reid called all the plays for the Eagles.
After Minnesota tapped him to succeed Mike Tice in 2006, the Vikings struggled under Childress for a couple of seasons before winning back-to-back NFC North titles. He called plays his first year in Minnesota, when the Vikes were 6-10.
Darrel Bevel took over as offensive coordinator upon the arrival of Brett Favre in Minnesota. The two had worked closely while in Green Bay. Childress, meanwhile, busied himself as the head coach and de facto general manager. He was fired late in the 2010 season.
If Shurmur continues to call the plays for the Browns, we can look forward to pretty much what we saw this past season. What could Childress, who was Shurmur’s boss in Philadelphia, do to enliven a moribund offensive philosophy? He doesn’t have a young Donovan McNabb, as he did in Philadelphia, or a revitalized Favre, as he had in Minnesota. Unless Holmgren, Heckert and Shurmur decide Colt McCoy is not the guy for this offense, Childress is stuck with mediocre talent.
Would Sherman have been able to get more out of this talent? Maybe. Maybe not. The only certainty is that we’ll never know.