The Cleveland Browns are reportedly working out a deal to hire St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as their fifth head coach since 1999. In our latest "Thought of the Day" in the AFC North, we surveyed the Dawgpound to get the pulse on the potential hire.
Here are a sample of responses this week from our AFC North inbox:
Brent from Great Mills, Md., writes: I feel fine about them hiring Shurmur. I've looked at all the teams he's coached and there's a connection to GM Tom Heckert. I would have preferred promoting Rob Ryan and I hope he stays on as defensive coordinator. I just want my Brownies to score and win games, period.
Eddie Kilroy from Brunswick, Ohio, writes: Why would a losing team go to another losing team for a coach? I'm not doubting Pat Shurmar's ability to be a good coordinator, but I don't think that it's the right move to make him a head coach. Cleveland is a town that wants winners. We want a coach that is hot now and can apply that to the Browns, not a coach that look fantastic because their star player makes them look good.
Matthew Yoder from Newark, Del., writes: Being a Browns fan I'm intrigued by Pat Shurmur. He did a great job with Sam Bradford this year and I believe he could be just as good for Colt McCoy. Granted, Shurmur has ZERO head-coaching experience, and to a certain extent I agree with your point about the lack of success of past hires with no head-coaching experience. But, I believe that Cleveland is in similar position to Pittsburgh and Baltimore when they hired Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh, respectively. I believe the Browns’ front office is finally not in disarray and there are competent people in place to support an inexperienced head coach.
Taylor Klein from Elizabethtown, Ky., writes: Shurmur to the Browns would not be the answer that the fan base wants. If you're going to fire a coach who had the team going before injuries killed them after only two years, you better hit a homerun. This would be the equivalent of trading away Josh Hamilton and bringing in a guy straight from AAA and then sticking him in to bat against Roy Halladay (Pittsburgh) and Cliff Lee (Baltimore). Luckily, the Bengals aren't really like a pitching ace.
Paul H Whitmore from Grand Blanc, Mich., writes: I am comfortable with Pat Shurmur for several reasons. One of those reasons has nothing to do with Pat Shurmur at all. In Holmgren we trust. Looking back on everything Holmgren has done to this point has left me confident that this organization is moving in a forward direction. If Holmgren wants Shurmur, I want Shurmur.
Brad from Cleveland writes: Shurmur would be a horrible decision. He has only been a coordinator for two years. The Browns need a head coach with heading-coaching experience. What will happen is he will come in, not meet expectations, and the team will be back here again in another two years. Only legit option for the Browns to win and win soon is Gruden or Holmgren needs to step out of the luxury box and put a headset back on.
Colin from Athens, Ohio, writes: I think Shurmur will be Holmgren's guy and could end up being his apprentice. With Mike guiding him he could do very well. You mentioned the last coaches without head-coaching experience haven't done well in Cleveland, well Mangini had that experience and he didn't do too well either.
Andrew from Clarion, Pa., writes: I've personally been a fan of hiring Mike Mularkey after seeing the job he's done with Matt Ryan down in Atlanta and the fact that he's been there for multiple successful years. With Pat Shurmur, I've only seen one year of successful development of a quarterback and that is this year with Sam Bradford. He's not the ideal hire, in my mind. But as a Browns fan I've put my faith in Mike Holmgren, and I'm going to trust him to make the right decision.
David from Nashville, Tenn., writes: All of Shurmur's success as an OC and developing a QB are simply signs that he is a good coordinator. The head job is totally different and he won't have time to tinker with a QB; he has to oversee the big picture. There is just no way of knowing if he will be a good HC until he has two years under his belt -- just like there was no way to know about Tomlin and Harbaugh. Holmgren's biggest responsibility now is to help Shurmur put together a competent staff and to keep drafting good players.
Michael from Lancaster, Ohio, writes: Unfortunately, there isn't a strong enough candidate that any Browns fan can be happy with. Jon Gruden would give Cleveland hope to cling to. John Fox would be candidate No. 2. But he is a defensive-minded coach and that hasn't been working in the past with Mangini or Crennel. Mularkey, Fewell, and Mornhinweg all have head-coaching experience and all have done poorly, Shurmur, at the very least, has a clean slate.
AFC North final say
James Walker: Based on the responses we received, most Browns fans are either not impressed or just fairly content with the potential hire of Shurmur. But only a select few are extremely excited and had Shurmur pegged as their first choice. Most AFC North blog readers are aware that I believe Mike Holmgren was the best option and most accomplished coach the Browns could've landed in this search. Holmgren was already in the building, so all he had to do was commit himself. But Holmgren, if anyone, should know what a good head coach looks and sounds like. Plus, Shurmur meshes well with Holmgren's offensive philosophies and has the ability to make rookie quarterback Colt McCoy better. As I mentioned before, winning is what matters in the NFL. And we will see in couple years if Shurmur has the Browns on top of the AFC North division, or if it will be more of the same dominance by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.