Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shurmur's fortunes now in the hands of McCoy

What do you think of the Browns hiring Pat Shurmur?

I’ve been asked that question a lot the last few days and I was a bit surprised to discover that I don’t care.

I know nothing about Shurmur. I have no idea how he will project to being as a head coach.

And frankly what I think means nothing. It wasn’t a hiring that will excite the fan base, but seriously what the fan base thinks of a head coach hiring should mean nothing as well.

I’ve heard people say you have to trust Mike Holmgren. I suppose, but how many times have I heard someone in the Browns front office say, “We have to get this right. We can’t afford to do this again.”

But that really isn’t true, is it?

Browns fans are still going to go the games. Browns fans are still going to watch on TV. The Browns can get it wrong again and again and again and they are still going to make money. Randy Lerner is so stinking rich he doesn’t blink at paying people not to work for the Browns anymore.

If you want financial security in life, all you have to do is convince the Browns to hire you, screw up as quickly as you can, and they will pay millions for you to sit at home.

I heard people give examples of coaching hires that didn’t excite the fan base and how great they turned out, including names like John Harbaugh, Mike Smith and Sean Payton. Of course I can counter with Rod Marinelli, Cam Cameron, Scott Linehan and countless more.

In today’s NFL the head coach only means so much. Why are Harbaugh, Smith and Payton successful? I would say Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees have more to do with the success of their team than the head coaches.

Is Bill Belchick the greatest coach in the NFL because of his defensive genius or because he has Tom Brady?

If you have a star quarterback in the NFL you have a chance to win. The success of Shurmur’s coaching career will be tied directly to who starts under center for him.
Shurmur is getting credit for helping Sam Bradford’s development this season for the Rams. While I am sure that was true, it certainly had to help that Bradford was a No. 1 overall draft pick blessed with great athletic abilities.

Colt McCoy is not Bradford.

But Shurmur comes armed with the West Coast Offense, which is supposed to get the most out of McCoy’s natural abilities. If McCoy develops, then Shurmur will keep his job. If McCoy doesn’t, he won’t.

What does interest me some is how Shurmur got the job. While Holmgren is the man who pulled the trigger, one would hope that Tom Heckert’s fingerprints are all over this choice.

Heckert worked with Shurmur when he was in the front office of the Eagles and Shurmur was an assistant coach. If years ago Heckert identified Shurmur as his guy (if he ever got a chance to hire a coach). That would make me a lot more comfortable.
If the two men have a shared vision on the type of players they want in the specific systems they want to run — that can only be good for the Browns.

Good friends working in concert is a good thing, right. Wait, wasn’t that you what we were saying about Eric Mangini and good buddy George Kokinis? Well, at least this time, the general manager picked the coach and not the other way around. The man picking the players should believe in his coach.

However, if Shurmur got hired because he ended up being the only name left on the list (because the big names said no thanks) and even the middle names weren’t interested in franchise with the most players in the NFL over 30 and no history of winning — well then I am not so excited.

Holmgren did not interview nearly as many coaches as he led us to believe. One hopes it is because Shurmur was so convincing and not because no one else was interested in the job.

Either way Shurmur is the new head coach. How long he stays will depend on McCoy.