Inside Skinny: Comments on a Short List

The Browns are looking to establish a "credible" football organization, starting with the man in charge. Lane discusses the candidates and Randy Lerner's progress...

- Contrary to the sense some in the media have given that the Browns are scrambling madly to fill front office voids, the team is, in fact, proceeding in a deliberate manner in adding an experienced individual to head-up the football side of the organization. Speculation has been that team owner Randy Lerner would like to have a Vice President of Football Operations type position filled by early December.

- The primary reason the team is moving forward now is that the owner wishes to have a qualified, experienced, and successful executive in place to evaluate the organization (including the head coach) prior to season's end.

- A tag team of Mangini and the directors of pro personnel and college scouting are filling the void left with the departure of GM George Kokinis.

- Each potential candidate on Lerner's list requires the authority to make personnel moves as needed, throughout the front office. Despite the claim that Lerner expects head coach Eric Mangini to be coaching this team in 2010, that is actually going to be the decision of the front office executive being brought into Berea. If Lerner does not provide this authority, the likelihood of a top-caliber executive joining the organization diminishes significantly.

- Surprisingly, there has been little conversation regarding former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. Cowher turned down Lerner nearly a year ago when he was seeking Romeo Crennel's replacement and there are indications Cowher would consider returning to the sidelines, if the right opportunity presents itself. Lerner is not believed to have discussed the latest saga of the Browns with Cowher.

- If Cowher is going return to the sidelines, he will likely need to bring some friends along. Cowher remains very close to current Pittsburgh Director of Football Operations, Kevin Colbert. Colbert is under contract with the Steelers and, like Cowher, may not be completely sold on making a move to Cleveland at the expense of the Rooney family.

- Former Denver Broncos head coach and executive Mike Shanahan is not a candidate at this time for the Browns front office position.

- Former Green Bay Packers head coach and Seattle Seahawks head coach/GM Mike Holmgren is most assuredly right in the mix. The interest coming from the Browns in luring the experienced Holmgren is sincere. Holmgren left the sidelines following the 2008 season, saying that he needed a break, but has been chomping at the bit to return to the game since early in the off-season. And yes, the Browns have expressed their interest to Holmgren.

- Former and current executives expected to be under consideration are former Washington and Houston GM Charley Casserly, and former Colts, Browns and Giants executive Ernie Accorsi. Accorsi remains steadfast that he is not going to assume a full-time role. He remains open to consulting, but luring him back to help this team regain stability for an extended period of time will not occur.

- Casserly was successful in Washington and tasted some success with the Houston Texans. An experienced and dedicated talent evaluator, Casserly could be a very strong hire for a Browns organization seeking the experience of running a front office, while having success securing young talent.

- Rich McKay, President of the Atlanta Falcons, is another interesting and qualified individual. Originally on the Browns short-list nearly a year ago, McKay expressed he was not interested in the Browns position upon hearing that Lerner had hired Eric Mangini. Again, as the Browns are seeking an experienced executive, McKay is a logical candidate and will again seek the authority to remake the Browns front office, including the coaching staff.


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