The Browns Pick… Pat Shurmur?

Update:  This morning the Cleveland Browns announced that St. Louis Rams Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur will be the 13th head coach in franchise history and the fifth since the team returned to the NFL in 1999.  An introductory press conference is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 11:00 AM and will be broadcast on 850 WKNR during The Really Big Show.  Stay tuned, additional details to follow. 

So much for that extensive head coaching search… at least for the time being, but stay tuned.

The interwebs are blowing up with the news that the Browns are currently in negotiations with Pat Shurmur to be the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns.  After three interviews and about a week of “searching” it looks like the Browns have already made up their minds.

Do you hear that?  Do you hear the overwhelming sound of silence?  That silence is Browns fans looking at each other and thinking, “Huh?”  To say that the hiring of Pat Shurmur is not exactly instilling a sense of excitement in Browns fans would be an understatement.  This isn’t the big name hire that a lot of us were expecting when this search began.  Many expected numerous interviews and numerous big name candidates to be thrown around.  I listed roughly 8 or 9 names last week when the search began.  Out of those names, the only candidates that have been interviewed thus far are Mike Mularkey, Perry Fewell, and Shurmur.  One could make a case that Fewell was only interviewed in order to meet the requirements of the Rooney Rule, so does he really even count or was he a token interview?  Meanwhile, names such as Gruden, Fox, Mornhinweg, Billick, and Childress etc. have yet to step foot in Berea.

So what gives?

Now that it appears the Browns will be hiring Shurmur a whirlwind of rumors are being tossed around both nationally and locally.  Some of these rumors are agent Bob LaMonte is looking to lock up the Cleveland Browns with his clients, Mike Holmgren is looking to get a yes man so he can essentially coach the team from upstairs without having to work the 18 hour days, and that when it’s all said and done Holmgren will actually be the coach with Shurmur acting as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, and head coach in waiting.  There is also speculation that this isn’t a done deal, things could fall through, and next week we could be talking about the hiring of John Fox.

Whether or not any of the above occurs or not, one question remains.  Does Mike Holmgren know what he’s doing?

We were promised a detailed and lengthy search with no rush to judgement.  Now we’re in a position where a week into the search and the Browns are ready to name a coach.  Was Shurmur really that impressive during his interview that the Browns couldn’t let him get away?  Why hasn’t any other team with a head coach opening wanted to speak to Shurmur as well?  Shurmur doesn’t have a track record of leading high-powered offenses, so what drew Holmgren to him in the first place?

From the outside looking in nothing about this really makes any sense…and that’s an understatement.

Keep in mind that while Shurmur is “Unproven Coordinator Dude” there is also the chance he could turn into the next great NFL coaching hire.  After all, just look around the league to see the recent trend in successful head coaching hires.  Mike Smith in Atlanta, John Harbaugh in Baltimore, Raheem Morris in Tampa, Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh, Todd Haley in Kansas City, and Rex Ryan in New York.  All at the time of their hiring were unproven coordinators and a few of them had never even been heard of.  Based on this sample there is something to be said for hiring the unproven coordinator.  Unfortunately for every Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh there’s also a Chris Palmer or Cam Cameron, so you never really know what you’re going to get.

So when you get down to it, this is going to be a wait and see kind of hire.  It’s not going to excite the fan base.  It’s not going to be an instant catalyst for success.  But what it will be is another piece to the puzzle.  Whether or not its the right piece or the right fit we won’t know until well into next season.  The only thing we can do as fans is trust in the decision and trust that Mike Holmgren knows what he’s doing.

And that is the key component to this entire thing.  In the past Randy Lerner and his bumbling cast of idiots have been making these decisions.  This time around we have an experienced infrastructure in place that can aid Shurmur in making decisions and acquiring the talent.  He’s not on his own in any way, shape, or form.  Will this finally translate to success on the field for the Browns?  We’re going to have to wait and see.

For now “The Process” is forever continuing…

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