Coaching Search Conundrum

TheOBR's Lane Adkins details how the Browns arrived at Mike Pettine as the team's new head coach, as opposed to two coordinators from the Super Bowl - Denver's Adam Gase and Seattle's Dan Quinn.

Adam Gase's team was thrashed, Dan Quinn rides the wave, as his defense was dominant.

What does it all mean?

Absolutely nothing. And absolutely something.

Gase's offense was historic, as is his quarterback Peyton Manning. I thought the Denver offense out-schemed themselves in the Super Bowl. They got away from what they do and Manning pulled a Manning: He struggled against a team that pressures him and can match-up with size against his wide receivers.

An aggressive Seattle defense played their game, as they always do. It's pressure, superior execution and physicality. The Seahawks beat the Broncos, every play and every moment. The Seahawks beat the Broncos down by taking a Denver team predicated on finesse and putting a foot on their throat.

That is how you win in the NFL: Don't relent and do what you do best.

The game was a testament to the Seahawks brand of football and notably to their defensive coordinator.

Much will be said that the Seattle defense was built and orchestrated by head coach Pete Carroll, but Quinn led the Seahawks to their best run and is going to be a head coach in this league very soon.

This isn't to say the Browns should have waited on him. Quinn did not want to interview again until the Super Bowl concluded. The Browns liked him very much following their first interview. They had received very good recommendations on Quinn and were very torn on whether to wait on Quinn or run with another candidate, which seriously impressed them -- Mike Pettine.

The Browns liked that Pettine arguably did more with less in Buffalo a season ago as defensive coordinator, than what former Browns defensive coordiantor Ray Horton had accomplished in Cleveland. The Browns front office also liked that Pettine would likely be able to assemble a staff due to his time and success ranging from Baltimore, through New York and Buffalo.

And, Pettine's defensive philosophy would likely be able to utilize the talent already in the fold, which was an issue heavily through out.

But, the largest push for Pettine came from coaches and players in the game that said -- to a man -- Pettine will be successful. You just need to support him and give him room to work.

Initially, the question was how much was the system in place in Seattle and how much of this defense was Quinn's masterpiece?

The Browns were told while the system is Carroll's baby, it was Quinn's finger-prints that added the consistency missing a season ago. With Quinn, the Seahawks executed, played with awareness and physicality. Players love him and he is viewed as an excellent motivator.

Heading into the lag between the divisional championship and Super Bowl, the Browns faced a three-headed monster -- an offensive coordinator in Gase, which they wanted to talk to, and two defensive coordinators in Quinn and Pettine that they felt very good about.

Browns GM Mike Lombardi worked on the analytics of each candidate. The process showed that Gase was the biggest boom or bust candidate. The Manning effect played a significant role in the Gase factor.

Quinn and Pettine were very similar.

The not knowing if either Gase or Quinn would be better a candidate than Pettine ate at the Browns decision-makers. Would the organization and candidate other than Pettine be able to come to an agreement? Would the organization like either candidate more than Pettine was discussed at great length.

Gase pulling out of the race actually helped make the decision much easier for the Browns.

The Browns sensed that Pettine wanted to know where he stood. Pettine was said to not be growing impatient, but didn't wanted to be strung along -- both personally and professionally. He enjoyed his job in Buffalo and did not want to put himself behind the eight-ball if he was getting the job and he did not want to put the Bills in a bad spot if he did.

The Browns moved on Pettine and the rest is history.

Whether the Browns made the right decision is to be seen, but that defense in Seattle that Quinn oversaw is one that will be memorable.


For more of Lane Adkins' takes, insights and scoops visit The Fast Lane forum.

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