Sunday, January 5, 2014

Throwing stuff against a wall

Stop it already with all these coaches’ names.

I like a coach search as much as anybody, and this search for the next victim, er, coach of the Browns is as intriguing as it gets. But come on.

All these names being thrown out there is enough to drive any fan absolutely nuts and all pundits to unheard of heights of speculation.

Josh McDaniels, Bob Stoops, Dan Quinn, Adam Gase, James Franklin, Gus Malzahn, Todd Bowles and maybe your next-door neighbor are the latest culprits as the guessing game as to who succeeds Rob Chudzinski as the Browns’ new coach commences. Did I miss anyone? Urban Meyer? Nah, he’s too busy trying to fix Ohio State.

Don’t think for a minute that the Browns’ brass doesn’t love all this attention. Think of it. Free publicity almost around the clock in the wake of the negativity that surrounded the dismissal of Chudzinski a week ago.

Everyone wants to break the news first whether it’s on a local or national level and they’ll do it anyway they can to do it. To achieve that goal, the fans and pundits throw as much crap against the wall as they can, figuring some of it might stick.

The fans, of course, get most of their information from those much closer to the situation, those so-called insiders who purport to know what’s being discussed in the boardroom. And then the fans take what they read, hear and/or see and blow it out of proportion.

It’s a game that’s played every time an important decision such as this needs to be made. It’s a game to the fans because it somehow makes them feel closer to the situation than they really are.

All kinds of opinions are put forth and shared, whether on radio talk shows or the Internet. And until the new Browns coach is named, those opinions and subsequent disagreements will continue to spew.

Should the Browns take a chance on an untried college coach? Or should they try again with a National Football League coordinator? Lord knows the latter route has proved disastrous the last 15 seasons.

Of all the names in the hopper currently, McDaniels is the closest to being a retread. He’s got failure listed on his resume. Seems he had a few personnel problems in Denver a few years ago when the owner mistakenly allowed him to run the football program.

He wasn’t nearly ready.

Some say he’s ready now after heading back to New England, where Bill Belichick once again took him under his wing and better prepared him for his next gig. Belichick used his stint as the Browns’ coach a generation ago as a learning tool to better himself for his eventual comeback as coach of the Patriots.

Did McDaniels learn his lesson in Denver? Is he ready to take on a new venture with the Browns if he wows Jimmy Haslam III and Joe Banner in his interview and is offered the job?

We all know Browns General Manager Mike (The Ghost) Lombardi wants McDaniels and will lobby hard to bring him to Cleveland. The Ghost’s strong relationship with Belichick is the driving force behind that.

McDaniels had better make damn certain Cleveland is his best place to land, though. Fired coaches in the NFL rarely get second chances. If they fail a second time, they are usually done. Just ask Eric Mangini and Romeo Crennel. Lose in two cities and you are finished.

So McDaniels better think long and hard and make certain Cleveland, if he is offered the job, is the place he wants to be, especially with a front office that seems to have a hair trigger on firing head coaches.

He is young enough and bright enough to wait until the right opportunity comes along. Maybe he takes a long look at the Cleveland roster and determines that yes, this is the kind of team I think I can turn around.

Then he has to remember that most of his success has come as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for Tom Brady. And if weren’t for Brady, Belichick might not own three Super Bowl championship rings today and be a virtual lock for residence in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Thus, we have a chicken and egg situation. Is Brady a future Hall of Famer because of McDaniels? Or is McDaniels considered the next Belichick (in some quarters) because of Brady? Considering Brady thrived when McDaniels bombed in Denver, the latter seems more likely than the former.

Coordinating an offense or defense in football is substantially different than being a head coach. Success in one does not necessary beget success in the other. The responsibilities are vastly different. Coordinators coach players. Head coaches coach coaches.

Once again, is that a lesson McDaniels learned from his Denver experience? If the Browns seriously want to hire him, that’s a question that needs to be addressed.

Tomorrow: A look at the other candidates. 


  1. Whatever happens, success most likely depends on picking the right QB then developing him, protecting him and giving him all the tools. Until that is done, we could go through 100 coaches and it'll never make a difference. Talking coaches and uniforms and politics inside the Browns and Flying J... none of that matters.

  2. And how do you pick the right quarterback? Unless the next Andrew Luck, John Elway or Peyton Manning is there, it's a crapshoot. The Patriots getting Tom Brady in the sixth round was dumb luck.

    I don't think there is a potentially great quarterback in this draft. So no matter who the Browns pick as coach, he'll be dealing with Brian Hoyer and who knows who else.

    And pls at least sign your name next time.