Ask The Insiders

As Mike Pettine's search for an offensive coordinator continues, Browns fans questions only heat up.

Question: Now that the dust has settled a little bit, do you believe that OC and QB changes are part of a natural process of getting rid of the remains of Joe Banner's influence, and to be expected?

Now that they are gone, Pettine can hire "his guys". I also suspect that some of the media leaks this year came from one or both of them, maybe even through Banner.

The whole Shanahan departure process initially looked bad for the Browns, but as time has gone by it seems the media consensus is that he was more of the problem than the team.

Lane Adkins: Not really, if it weren't for issues these two guys would still be in Cleveland. Loggains was on the hot seat immediately when he spilled the beans during the draft and only worsened due to the lack of development of Manziel and in the eyes of some within the organization, enabled Manziel in some ways.

Q: Now that the dust has settled, do you see any silver lining in the sudden departure of Shanahan?

Or how would you rate his departure for the Browns? A minus? A Plus? or even?

LA: His departure creates an immediate void in continuity -- with any change there will be differences in scheme, language, terminology and a level of comfort/confidence.

Presently I have heard positives and negatives from players on the change and most are in the wait and see mode.

Q: I think we were all surprised at how little impact Gordon had upon his return. Were Browns coaches (Shanahan) going out of his way to keep Gordon humble? At key times he wasn't even on the field etc.

Does some of JG's apparent disconnect attitude have to do with how the coaches were treating him (a la how last year's DC treated Mingo in 2013?) Or is it all on Gordon?

LA: I wouldn't say they want out of their way anything on Gordon. He returned to the team, was physically is shape, not 100% football shape and he mentally not in a good place according to some.

If anything, the Browns attempts to force feed Gordon hurt them with the efficiency aspects as a unit.

Peyton Manning

Q: Is there any scenario where Payton could be the Browns QB next year?

LA: I don't see it, but can never say never.

Q: Crazier things have been asked. With Manning's career as a QB possibly over could this be a good time for Haslam to call his buddy and offer the OC? It's said no one is better than him at calling plays and schemes. Seems like not only would he be could with offensive scheme but who better to mentor a QB?

LA: When it comes to Haslam and his thoughts about Manning, nothing should come as a surprise, but I have heard little tidbits in the past which doesn't equate to Manning wanting to be in a coaching capacity.

Q: No coaching experience, major student of the game but never heard him discuss Coaching.

But Front Office as a QB Consultant would be interesting. He'd only have a Voice on ONE POSITION, the QB... and he could personally work out and break down film with them in Evaluation. No one does Film like Manning does Film.

We wouldn't Draft a QB, at ANY spot, unless he's on board with it. We wouldn't Sign the FA unless Manning approved. And while they are here, Manning is the guy working them. From QB 1 to QB 3, Manning is prepping you for Film, Manning is running your Drills.

He is likely the best technician in the Game, and as stated no one is better in the Film Room. While being a Traditional Coach might be out, he clearly could be useful in Off Season in Evaluations of QBs and an even greater Asset In Season by Drilling and Film Room Experience with the QBs.

Is there any birdies talking about THIS kind of Job Interest for Manning when he's ready to hang up the cleats (if that's not now), where he's really just got one primary function that straddles FO and Coaching but limited to solely the QB Position?

LA: The constant on Manning from what we have heard is a front office type role in the NFL, or some move toward U of Tenn.


Q: Lane, do you think we have our sites set on a coach that is still in the playoffs? Doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency to hire an OC and coaches are getting hired quickly. If so, who do you think we are waiting for? Thanks.

LA: They have already started the process and while the Browns need to hire an OC and QB coach, the organization isn't going to make a rash or indifferent type decision just to get the hired done.

Q: Lane, in the formal interviews who is actually conducting it and who is sitting in?

To me the OC should be primarily the decision of the HC with input from the GM. Is that what is happening here or is Haslam involved heavily?

LA: HC, GM and staff.

Pettine is square in the middle of this and rightfully so.

Haslam has not been interviewing candidates.

Q: Lane, does the OC hire result from a combined agreement amongst the coaching staff, Farmer, and Pettine, or is it mostly Pettine's choice? Seems to me Pettine's opinion should carry the most weight since it's his team to coach and his team to lose.

LA: Pettine and Farmer

Q: Lane, how in the world can the Browns always be one of the first teams in need of a coach of any type, but always seem to be the last one to hire one? Seems as if they always get a guy nobody else really wants at the time because of this to me. Why have they not even interviewed candidates yet when other teams that needed coaches later have already hired someone? I know they want to get it right, but it seems to me if you wait to long you end up with either a guy new to the type of coach they need or a guy nobody else was looking seriously at.

LA: Just because you don't read about it until after its done in many cases, doesn't mean the Browns haven't discussed, gained interest or shared thoughts with candidate types.

If you look at the OC types hired to this point, each had discussed the opportunity with the HC hired prior to the hiring process.

To this point, Chan Gailey and Greg Roman are going to teams with new HCs, and I don't believe either was going to be the OC of the Browns to be honest.

Now, the game is being kicked up a notch with the Raiders hiring Del Rio and his interest in Trestman and Gase.

Q: How is the Front Office rectifying their opinion of Trestman versus the debacle that occurred in Chicago this year? Watching this unfold ringside, it is clear that while he wasn't the only fly in the ointment, there was little to show offensive flexibility or excellent communication skills. Any insight you can shed as to how the FO is processing this past year will be digested with vim and vigor (right up until he signs with the Raiders. ;) ).

LA: Teams look at former HCs that are available for coordinator roles in a manner of how does/did this coach handle his coordinator/position role, achievement, efficiency, communication, teaching and growth development.

Trestman's 2014 Bears team underachieved, the defense was terrible, OL play was mediocre and the play of the QB was terribly inconsistent. There was reason Trestman wanted the Bears to retain McCown, which they did not. While Trestman was able to communicate with starting QB Jay Cutler, the player just never grasped the responsibility and play within the offensive scheme.

Teams are not worried about Marc Trestman the offensive mind and play-caller.

Q: Old JH has to be really pissed. We have missed out on a number of OC, Gailey to NY, Trestman to Oak, Lienhan back to Dallas. I have read a lot of your Fast lane articles but with all these OC going to other teams over the Browns what does that say about the state of the Browns? I am not getting a very good picture of the future of the Browns. The ledge is starting to look like the only answer.

Will we ever get over the fact that we are a dysfunctional team?

Will we ever be a above 500 team or even win more the 4 games a season?

LA: I have stated the Browns did not view Gailey as a must have type......the talks with Trestman were positive and Del Rio in Oakland has interest in him and Adam Gase........Linehan was never an option, Dallas selected him over Callahan and will pay him huge dollars (did not want to leave Dallas)

This thing is just kicking off and the Browns have identified and scheduled interviews with some interesting candidates.

Q: Could the browns hire Adam Gase as OC or even possibly fire Pettine and hire Adam Gase cause Mike Silver said today that Gase is loved by Haslam ! He wants him as coach and could Haslam just decide to fire Pettine and hire Gase and put manning in front office any chance since Gase hasn't gotten a job .

LA: Gase is talking to the Broncos about the HC job and has talked with his former Denver DC Jack Del Rio about the Oakland offensive coordinator job, as well as the 49ers.

I have heard nothing that leads me to believe Haslam has any desire to fire Pettine. If he did so, ANY credibility he has left -- which isn't a lot would be lost and we would see staff and players looking to get out.

Q: I for one like what the Browns are doing. Not making any rush judgements.

1. They not just hiring to hire. Roman never interviewed Gaily was rumored for Browns but he never interviewed either.

2. You have to make sure Pettine is comfortable with the choice. I feel Pettine was forced with Shanahan and that was part of the problem.

3. There are some good offensive minds out there, Cavanaugh, Difellipo(sp.). I don't know why everyone is so cought up on Gase and Trestman. Both are good but it's not the end of the world.

How do you think the Browns are handling the search.

LA: Unless they have a guy or two that simply stands out above the rest, you have to take the time to talk to capable candidates to get the fit this organization needs.

Q: It's a bit relieving to hear Haslam is not taking part in the interview process, as this should be really Pettine's decision. IS there a point to where he does get involved, anything deeper than the "welcome aboard, meet the boss" meeting?

LA: My understanding is Haslam is letting his guys do their job.

Q: I'm thinking that with no QB, the Gordon issue, six OC's in six years, difficult schedule next year, Quick-Draw Haslam, etc. that talented candidates might see this as a situation to avoid. Have you heard anything regarding OC candidates feelings towards the Browns? What about your league contacts in general?

LA: OC candidates are very aware and will ask questions regarding the expectations and the influence of Manziel on the scheme, structure and stability.

Q: Possible Bernie maybe be getting through to FO in some capacity or at least maybe has ear to get Trestman here or at least have Trestman be interested in coming back?

LA: Trestman is interviewing on his own accord and is interested in continuing his coaching career.

Q: Keep hearing a lot of names popping up in the Browns' OC search. Each time they are getting permission to talk to other coaches does that mean a full sit down interview? Or do they need permission from teams to even talk to coaches briery, even over the phone to gauge their interest? And can an "interview" really just be a conversation to pick guys' brain?

I guess I'm just wondering how serious they are about some of these names or are they just "putting the feelers out"?

How about QB coach, are some of these names being mention as OC candidates really for that position?

LA: Some cases it is a full blown visit, some cases has been telephone discussions to gauge interest, fit, etc.

These interviews are also used for future reference on a coach.

Interest comes in various degrees, not all are true candidates, but there has also been interviews which a candidate surprises a team and things develop.

The possibly of OC interviews could lead to a coach gaining an opportunity in a different coaching role.

Q: How about Randy Fichtner of Steelers. Randy has 8 years in NFL, 3 as Receivers Coach and 5 as Quarterback Coach. He was rumored as a potential candidate last year when they were looking for an OC. Offensive Coordinator/Quarterback Coach for 4 years at Arkansas State and same position at University of Memphis and set records at both schools.

LA: I know Fichtner's name has come up, but to what degree I am uncertain. I am getting the feeling here that the Browns seek an OC that has had experience in the role, or have discussed an OC hire that is a dynamic type coach without OC experience -- and adding a senior offensive assistant to help bridge the learning curve.

Q: It seems like Tony Sparano has been mentioned as OC candidate of interest but nothing very solid yet. Now that it looks like he's out of the running for HC in Oakland do you see him being a stronger, more prominent OC candidate for the Browns and/or others?

LA: Sparano will get some looks, but teams mainly will want to discuss his availability as an OL coach.

Q: I know it's too naive to think that the Browns would hire an OC just for the above reasons however there has to be a spot for our TE coach Angelicio (sp?). Based on your Fast lane the idea of pairing him up with Cavanaugh might provide a lot of benefits?

your thoughts?

LA: I have absolutely no issue with the Browns looking at their own, if the person is capable and adding a senior voice for experience and development is a potential bonus for Pettine and a younger OC candidate.

Q: Cross another option off the list , Roman, Gailey, now Callahan signed with Redskins. More will fall once Del Rio and Bowles start hiring.

LA: Dude, don't panic.

Gailey and Roman were highly unlikely for the OC job.

The Browns were high on Callahan, but there was nothing they could have done to get him.

This isn't the most desirable job out there for starters and we are seeing HC coaches that have spoken with OC types prior to their hire, setting up the immediate hires we have witnessed.

The Browns want to get this done, but their desire to talk to many leads to those coaches also having the opportunity to speak to other teams as well.

To me, its hard to imagine not having a couple/few names that are nearly must have types -- I attack those candidates and get one hired.

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