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11:53 PM

Browns Sign Seven to Reserve Contracts: Practice squad players retained following the end of the season. http://bit.ly/f9sECK

An Offensive Blog Post
Dave Kolonich on January 5th, 2011 AT 5:41 PM

After reading the OBR's Lane Adkins' initial postings regarding the latest Browns coaching search, one word came to mind.


Of course, Lane's work is anything but.  Premium OBR subscribers already know that Adkins is one of the most efficient and trustworthy Browns reporters around. 

Adkins: Examining the Candidates

But rather, the first few candidates already identified qualify for such a term – in slightly different ways.

First, the Rooney Rule – which at its heart is intended to be an equalizer in terms of NFL human resource fairness – can sometimes prove laughably misguided.  NFL teams have to adhere to this rule, which states that at least one minority candidate has to be interviewed before a coaching hire is made.

On the surface, this rule does cast a wider net of available coaching candidates and can create a situation where a below the radar interviewee can obtain an elusive head coaching job.  Or, if anything, a minority candidate can use the rule to at least gain some experience for a potential future interview – one that may be slightly less of a "token" opportunity.

However, the irony of the Rooney Rule is that many NFL teams are simply "satisfying" the requirement – after having already drawn their list of candidates.  In such a situation, a defensive coordinator such as Perry Fewell is hotly pursued by teams with a coaching vacancy – but not necessarily as a serious candidate. 

Which is kind of a shame – particularly in the case of Fewell, who turned around the Giants' previously leaky defense in 2010, after guiding the Bills to three wins as the team's interim coach in 2009. 

The point here is that Fewell's race is overshadowed by his actual potential as a full-time head coach.  Of course, one would never know such a thing – despite Fewell's calendar suddenly being filled with coaching interviews.

Anyway, this entire issue is probably far too sensitive and complicated to truly explore, but it's odd that so far Fewell is the only Browns' candidate who doesn't have an offensive coaching background. 

The other names on Adkins' list include Marty Morningwheg, Darren  Bevell, Mike Mularkey and Mike McCoy – all offensive coordinators in the league.  Conveniently enough, the person in charge of making the ultimate decision – Mike Holmgren – is renowned for his roots in Bill Walsh's West Coast Offense.  And of course, the Browns' recent offensive production has been just that.

Which brings me to another point….what exactly is Holmgren looking for?  A head coach or an offensive coordinator?

If Holmgren chooses from one of these four candidates – or even expands the search to the likes of Jon Gruden, Pat Shurmur or some other offensive wunderkind – what does this signal for the Browns' defense moving forward?

If an offensive-minded head coach is brought in, then obviously the focus is shifted to that phase of the team.  Granted, the Browns' offense has struggled for over a decade now – meaning that such a move is warranted.

However, if we glimpse at other NFL teams around the league who employ an offensive-minded head coach – think Green Bay's Mike McCarthy and Houston's Gary Kubiak – then the realization becomes clear:  Holmgren – or his newly hired head coach – is going to have to find a worthy candidate to run the team's defense.

Consider the case of Green Bay, where McCarthy – another Walsh/Holmgren disciple – has turned over the defense to veteran coordinator Dom Capers.  Something similar just occurred in Houston, where Wade Phillips is set to take over the Texans' Achilles Heel.

In this sense, it becomes obvious that Holmgren has just made his life more difficult by choosing to go the offensive route – assuming that he does. 

Although current defensive coordinator Rob Ryan could be a likely candidate to remain with the Browns, it's anyone's guess as to what will actually happen.

As for what could have been, it's interesting to think about the possibilities of Eric Mangini hanging around another year – only with a new offensive coordinator.

After all, it appears that plenty are available.



7:54 PM

(Subscriber) Adkins: Examining the Candidates: Lane’s offers his thoughts on some of the early possibilities. Wh… http://bit.ly/ht5RHv

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