Spinning the wheel of coaches
Round and round she goes and where she stops, nobody knows.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the National Football League’s coaching carousel wheel spinning furiously in the last few days after the Black Monday fallout.
The Cleveland spins stop at names like Chip Kelly, Bill O’Brien, Ken Whisenhunt and Ray Horton. All will be, or have already been, interviewed by this weekend as the Browns seek Pat Shurmur’s successor as the club’s head coach.
It’s almost as though there are hundreds of names on that wheel as the seven teams scramble to plug their vacancies. And each team looks for something different.
Teams such as Arizona and Chicago, whose strength lies on defense, look for an offensive mind to help create the necessary balance to compete. Others seek someone whose forte is stopping the opposition.
It’s almost a circus as the seven wandering teams take aim at what might seem like a plethora of candidates. Some of those candidates can’t talk right now because they are either tied up with a college bowl game or an NFL playoff game.
Right now, the flavor of the day for the Browns seems to be high profile college coaches. Owner Jimmy Haslam III and CEO Joe Banner understandably want to make a big splash with their first hire.
That’s why Kelly and O’Brien appear to occupy the top rung right now. The mercurial nature of what they hope to accomplish could cause a sudden switch, however, once the interview process commences.
Factor in that the Cleveland vacancy is not nearly as attractive as, say, the ones in Philadelphia, Chicago and San Diego. The Browns’ record in the last 14 seasons isn’t exactly a screaming endorsement for choosing Cleveland.
Even though they are not yet wedded to Kelly, who might have to be a different type of coach in the NFL as opposed to the gimmick-loaded offense he oversees at Oregon, zeroing in and then landing him would be a huge gamble.
Who knows how many times the Browns will have to spin that wheel before finally deciding on where to stop and then move in on their target? Banner has said the selection of a new coach would be made quickly.
I’m sure he didn’t figure he would have competition from six other teams. It’s a situation where the Browns might be forced, for whatever reason, to take the plunge prematurely and cross their fingers that it’s the correct move.
Just because Haslam and Banner have seemingly fallen in love with two college coaches does not necessarily mean they will wind up with either. It’s rare that the first names that pop out of the rumor mill are the ones who ultimately wind up with the job.
The interviewing process separates the solid candidates from those who will do and say anything to get the job. The weeding-out system is a tried and true method of identifying the strong candidates. Many candidates eliminate themselves.
Unless Haslam and Banner are so convincing (verbally and monetarily) that they can land their man quickly and then move on to select a player personnel chief, the selection of a new Cleveland coach might take longer than they bargained.
As long as the coaching wheel continues to spin, just about anything is possible. No one can be ruled out. And that’s what makes this little game they play so much more fascinating.
While Browns Nation eagerly awaits the new coach to be anointed, all kinds of speculation will be tossed around. Rumor Central will be ramped up to peak capacity. That’s the fun part. Sides will be taken with certain candidates and cyber fights will break out.
One conclusion is certain: Haslam and Banner had better get this choice right. Browns fans have had enough with the incompetence of the Lerner family the last 14 years. They will not stand for continuation of that incompetence.
The grace period for Haslam and Banner has expired.