Browns President Mike Holmgren made Pat Shurmur his first head coaching hire in Cleveland.
That’s why it’s no surprise that Holmgren is backing Shurmur completely after a disappointing 4-9 start to the year.
“We have a very, very competent young head coach who will be here for a long time,” said Holmgren via the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
Later Holmgren was asked to elaborate: “He’s going to be the head coach. I’ll elaborate on it, he’ll be the head coach.”
It’s too early to evaluate Shurmur as a head coach. It’s not too early to say that the Browns and their fans probably didn’t expect a step back after Eric Mangini left.
Holmgren acknowledged that doing a year with Mangini had its downsides.
“This is like the second first year and you can say, ‘You wasted a year,'” said Holmgren. “We know that now, I suppose you could say that now, but at the time? No. I don’t regret the decision I made.”
While the Browns didn’t have a great record under Mangini, they pulled off some impressive wins and were a difficult team to play each week. They were a little unlucky, losing seven games by one score last year. This year’s Browns team is not as competitive.
Holmgren’s saving grace since arriving in Cleveland is that his drafts have been solid. That should pay off for Shurmur in the future, assuming he’s very, very competent.