Mike Holmgren obviously thinks Pat Shurmur is a good coach — he hired him in Cleveland.
But he hopes Shurmur makes some changes in his next job, which could allow the talents that are clearly there emerge to a greater degree.
Holmgren told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News that Shurmur could stand to lighten up a bit as he prepares to take the Giants job (you know the one that can’t technically be offered yet).
“I’m a grinder, but I had fun coaching,” Holmgren said. “I said, ‘Pat, I don’t think you are having enough fun. Everything is doomsday. Joke with the guys. Tease them. Let them see you are human.’ He was scowling. He’s a good play caller, he’s a good offensive coordinator. In my brief time with him in Cleveland, I saw some light at the end of the tunnel. . . .
“I believe the players in Cleveland respected him. He came off like a hard ass all the time. Very stern. Players are players – they respect you as long as you are honest. Bill Walsh said it to me once: ‘If you kick them in the ass, if you do it in practice, that’s okay. But don’t let them leave the field without telling them something good.'”
Holmgren also noted that Shurmur read every word that was written when he was running the Browns, something he won’t be able to do in New York because there will be a lot more words.
“I told him, ‘You can’t let it get to you,'” Holmgren said. “‘Don’t create an adversarial situation.’ I tried to counsel him that way.”
Any reasonable person would learn from previous mistakes, and there’s certainly a track record for coaches leaving the Browns and performing much better the second time. And Holmgren clearly hopes that Shurmur evolves, and enjoys the process more this time.