Browns want to hire coach first, then personnel man


The first rule of coaching searches remains: If the last guy was fat, the next guy will be skinny.

While that doesn’t have anything to do with the physical dimensions of Pat Shurmur, the Browns made it clear Monday they’re going to go the opposite direction for their next head coach.

During his press conference Monday, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said he planned to hire a coach first, then a personnel man to replace fired general manager Tom Heckert.

“Our focus right now is getting the right head coach and if that happens everything else will fall into place,” Haslam said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The Browns tried the grand poobah (Mike Holmgren)/GM/young coach model, so now they’re going back toward what CEO Joe Banner’s more familiar with from Philadelphia, where Andy Reid enjoyed tremendous power.

“We believe the head coach will have a bigger role here,” Banner said. “The top quality is someone with really strong, dynamic leadership. . . .

“If we ended up a coach who was extremenly strong in personnel, he may have a larger role, in particular, final say [on the roster.]”

“We made the decision the person with the greater impact will be the coach. This was the first decision we made.”

Giving a coach full personnel authority is a model that’s hard to pull off, and limits the scope of personnel men who will be ready to climb aboard.

If they get the right coach, it can work, but historical precedent shows it’s a tougher path.

33 responses to “Browns want to hire coach first, then personnel man

  1. Please bring in Bill O Brian i think he would be a perfect fit in Cleveland and would get us in the right direction. We need to draft another QB like that Ryan Nassib from Syracuse.

  2. Reading between the lines, I think the plan at this point is to keep all options on the table, which is smart. By hiring a personnel guy first, the Browns would effectively scare away several high profile coaching candidates who might not want to work with the pro personnel director and/or might want to have more power over the roster.

    Given that dynamic, I am intrigued. The Browns have just telegraphed that they must be considering high profile candidates – Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, Nick Saban, etc. By keeping an open mind about the scope of coaching power in the next regime, the Browns have just ensured that they will at least have a shot at making a deal to bring a top, proven name to Cleveland.

    This is the right move.

  3. I think franchises are too trigger happy when it comes to firing coaches these days. The Browns are clearly headed in the right direction with new pieces in place, and Shurmur’s players clearly liked him a lot. Not everyone can have Jim Harbaugh level success right away.

    Let’s remember that it took the great Chuck Noll until his fourth season to post a winning record.

  4. The description they gave is Jon Gruden to a tee. Strong leadership and attention to detail. The HC will also have the possiblity to make personnel decisions. This means a more than average power to the head coach. I call it Jon Gruden is HC/GM and Mike Lombardi player personnel director.

  5. Outside of Saban, is there a coach available right now that would even be able to demand final control on personnel?

  6. The entire organization must have like-minded people who can also complement each other and work together (See Seattle). It is NOT just one guy. Doesn’t sound like much changing in Brownieville … except for the names. Sorry Cleveland, you DO deserve better!

  7. Haslam is going to spend whatever he needs to make the Browns a successful. It seems that he might know something about certain coaches that the rest of the league does not.

    They’d be smart to keep Jauron as the DC.

  8. There you have it. Simply said, very transparent and an otherwise unambiguous message. Coach will have control of virtually all aspects of product on the field from plays to personnel. This format opens the door widely to Mr. Lombardi where the only saving grace is that he’s effectively neutered on player talent evaluation and selection side of things. Unfortunately as the author says about this approach, “but historical precedent shows it’s a tougher path.”

  9. I think someone will be taking over a team on the rise. This division is going to be up for grabs next year and all 4 teams could win it. Browns have a stud RB and some great defenders. Weeden will get better and a good coach could make a huge difference. (i.e. Alex Smith) I would love to see Cleveland competing again, fan base deserves it.

  10. The AFC North up for grabs? Come on, Cleveland is the odd man out in that division, you can’t discount what Baltimore and Cincy have done as well as Pittsburgh always putting a team on the field that can compete for a title. Cleveland has alot of work to do before they are even thought of being a contender for a playoff spot or the AFC North title.

  11. My money is on Bill O’ Brien. I would prefer someone with more experience especially if this person is going to have more power in the front office. I don’t see Saban, Kelly or Gruden being likely.

  12. I wish I had a million dallors I would put it all on Nick Saban taking this job. The browns have never even been to a Superbowl. If he turns them around his legend it established. Also, he would wan’t complete control. That’s why they’re going to hire the coach before the GM because the Coach is going to have a big say as to who the next GM. The only other person it may possibly be and I doubt it seriously is the Big Tuna

  13. I think Haslam may have what it takes to change the Browns for the better. I can see a big-name coach signing for a lot of money and having some success.

    The key will be how they draft and manage signings. If they can truly emulate the teams that place the emphasis on drafting high-quality players and getting good value through the rounds, they have a chance.

    There is a core of young, raw talent in Cleveland, and with a good system / good coaches, they could build on that. But will they?

  14. I think everyone is overlooking the fact that for all intents and purposes, they already have a GM: Banner. So hiring a HC makes sense to get the best one available with more power for the HC. That means the “GM” they hire will only be the head scout for college and FA. I am sure he will have input on draft day, but my guess is the HC will have final say after hearing everyone’s input. This will work if all can work together. It also sounds like they are keeping Jauron as DC, which is good!

  15. My cousing works at burke lakefront airport here in cleveland and informed us that “the Chin” flew in on Haslams private jet last wednesday. Read into it what you may.

  16. This makes it official. Banner has final say on the roster. More double digit loss seasons coming.

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