Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

13 Jan 2011

Browns New Head Coach: Pat Shurmur

The Browns have hired Pat Shurmur as their new head coach. Shurmur was previously the offensive coordinator for the Rams.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 13 Jan 2011

34 comments, Last at 14 Jan 2011, 11:36pm by David A.


by andrew :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 2:45pm

The cascade effect means Josh McDaniels, who had interviewed for the OC position in Minnesota, is rumored to now end up as the OC in St. Louis. (which is considered a more attractive job because of Bradford...)

by Drunkmonkey :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 2:55pm

Wait a second... You're telling me that Bradford is a more attractive option to work with then Tavaris Jackson, or even Joe Webb? Really? I mean, I understand that Bradford has all that potential, is already a better QB then either of those two will ever be, and by most accounts a star in the making, but Jackson and/or Webb provide the ability to show that nobody else in the NFL knew what they were talking about since they didn't draft either one of them early enough. McDaniels can show the world that he alone is the offensive genious that will make any QB look great. If he's going to St. Louis, he's probably going to try and get rid of Bradford anyways...

by Nathan :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 3:03pm

Perhaps Cassel can be had for cheap following the Ravens game... say Cassel for Bradford + 2 first round picks? That seems like a deal McD could live with.

by Drunkmonkey :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 3:15pm

That sounds like a deal that everybody will hear about, being reported to the public via Caplan, Schefter, and Glazer, then never happen. But the report that it almost did happen will sting Bradford enough that he'll want out of St. Louis because he knows he's not wanted anymore, which will in turn lead to him getting traded to Tennessee for Kerry Collins, 2 first round picks, and a Bud Adams Christmas card.

He won't actually get Cassel, since he's already helped to establish him as a quarterback in the NFL, and McDaniels is all about taking has-beens, never-was's, or can't-possibly-be qb's and making them successful. That's all he really wants to do. Oh, and draft a QB that nobody else is looking at in the top 2 rounds to develop for the starting job 4 seasons after you've already been fired.

by Dean :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 3:27pm

The snark might make sense if he was being considered for a head coaching position, but a coordinator? At that point, you're letting things get overly personal.

Having said that, I'd rather see the Rams hire Childress.

by Drunkmonkey :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 3:35pm

I know, I'm poking fun at him just because honestly I have nothing better to do as I wait in between classes during the first day of the semester. I really have nothing personal against McDaniels, and had fully realized before even writing the first comment that he will probably do very well as a coordinator, since he won't have control over personnel, just offensive philosophy. I would LOVE to have him coach my team's offense, as it's been nothing short of offensive to all who unfortunately watch it.
I did start a new thread in the Discussion Boards about coaching gigs, and was serious about wondering where McDaniels will ultimately end up.

Is Chilly really in conention for the Rams job? I don't know why, but I feel like he's already worked there. I know he hasn't, but it just feels like it.
I thought I read that he was getting some serious attention for the Dolphins OC position.

by Nathan :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 3:40pm

And I'm a Pats fan who actually kind of likes McDaniels, thinks he's a great coordinator and wouldn't be at all surprised if he puts a second, more successful head coaching job together in a few years time.

Just poking fun waiting for stuff to finish rendering.

by Dean :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 4:26pm

Chilly is one of the names the local media have thrown around because he and Spags worked together in Philly. He runs the exact same system with the exact same terminology, so presumably he wouldn't screw up a good thing with Bradford.

I do think it's fair to wonder about his ability to relate to players. When it was just T-O complaining it was easy to dismiss. And even now, I'd say that was probably still T-Os fault. But when you hear the same stories out of Minnesota, suddenly it's worth questioning.

I know Childress was extremely highly regarded throughout the league as a coordinator with the Eagles, and I can't imagine spending time as a head coach would make him less qualified.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:30pm

I think it's plausible that Childress is a good co-ordinator, and I was always one of the most outspoken critics of McDaniels' team"building" efforts in Denver, but I really think it's a no-brainer: if you can get McDaniels as your offensive co-ordinator, you get him. He's an asshat, a bad man-manager and a worse GM, but he is an outstanding offensive coach.

by Dean :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 10:37am

It's not a no brainer because if you bring in McDaniels, you're starting over with a new system. If you bring in Childress, you're building on what's already in place.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 11:17am

If what was already in place had achieved anything worthwhile, I might agree, but the 2010 Rams offense was pretty poor. It's not as if it's historically taken players a long time to adjust to McDaniels' offense.

Though if you're thinking on a one year time horizon only, I suppose you have to take the possible late start to training camp in 2011 into account.

I still think taking Childress over McDaniels would be shortsighted, though.

by Dean :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 1:34pm

If I thought McDaniels was a significantly better coordinator than Childress, I'd agree. I don't.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 2:20pm

I guess that's where we disagree. Fair enough. Personally, I'm a lot more impressed by McDaniels' handling of the Broncos offense (as opposed to the team as a whole) than Childress' handling of Minnesota's. I'm also inclined to think McDaniels deserves more credit for his work in New England than Childress does for his in Philly, but I agree it's much harder to be sure about how much of each was really down to their respective head coaches in those spots.

by andrew :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:03pm

The dolphins are only interviewing Childress to comply with the McKitrick Rule which mandates that a team interview at least one bald candidate for coaching positions.

by MCS :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 3:46pm

Do you mean the same Childress that had Reid call plays in Philly and Bevell call plays in Minnesota? The Childress that's never actually called a game at the professional level?

Are you a Seahawks fan?

by atwater (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 4:28pm

If this guy had run your favorite team into the ground the way McDaniels ran Denver into the ground, I'm pretty sure you'd understand the over-the-top snark.

by almost Anonymous (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 7:08pm

That really doesn't work

by V. Barbarino (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 8:41pm

No kiddin', huh? Man, Jay Cutler is the greatest quarterback I've ever seen. Is there anything he can't do? Throw a thousand crappy interceptions? Check. Pout like a teenage girl? Check. Somehow get two fanbases to make a million excuses for him? Check. I can't wait to see the Bears win the Super Bowl this year and hear him say 'I'm going to DisneyWorld...after I get loaded at the bar the night before.'

by Boots Day :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 3:00pm

I assumed he was the son of Fritz Shurmur, but he's actually Fritz's nephew.

by Spielman :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 3:46pm

This whole thing is kind of hilarious to me. Lots of Rams fans have been calling for Shurmur's head for most of the season, blaming him for the utterly hidebound offense the Rams have been running. Opinion seemed to have swung back around to wanting to bring him back, just in time for him to leave for a promotion.

I'm still not sure what to think of him as a coordinator. He never had a great deal to work with in St. Louis, but he also never seemed to show much creativity in coming up with ways to use what he had to the greatest effect. I'm really not sure what makes him a better choice as a head coach now than two years ago when he had no experience as a coordinator at all.

by Randy Hedberg (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 11:23pm

The Rams offense didn't seem too bad when you consider that he was working with a rookie QB throwing to Danny Amendola and Laurent Robinson. Hell, Mark Clayton was cut by the Ravens and ended up starting for the Rams like a week later. I can't remember a worse group of WRs in the NFL.

by Spielman :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 12:04am

Not cut, traded. And Clayton actually looked quite *good* before he got hurt, which shocked me. But no, you probably haven't seen a worse group of receivers, though Amendola is going to stick as a slot guy for awhile. He's a useful player, though limited... but he's in no way a #1, which is what he was forced to be this season.

It's certainly possible that Shurmur and Spagnuolo decided that the best way to deal with a rookie QB, a leaky interior line, and a bad group of receivers was to turtle up, embrace the punt, and not even try to gameplan to any great extent. It's even possible to make the case that that decision was the best one available to them. However, it's not really possible to spin that decision as evidence of tactical brilliance on Shurmur's part.

Making chicken salad out of chicken shit, *that* would make me want to hire a coordinator to be my head coach. Taking the chicken shit and moving it out of the sun so it doesn't stink up the place as badly might be a good move, but it's hardly inspiring.

Keep in mind, I'm actually pretty favorable with regard to the job Shurmur did this year, and I'm disappointed he's leaving. I'm just not sure why these two seasons made him a HC candidate.

by Drunkmonkey :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 5:25pm

Just wondering, have you seen the Panthers WR's the last few years. I know they have Steve Smith, but other than that, until this year there was NOTHING. I mean absolutely nothing. And even now, they have one receiver that has shown some pretty good potential (David Gettis) and one receiver that is getting a complete mulligan because of the QB play (Brandon LaFell). I'm taking anything away from the Rams WR's (or adding to, not sure which is the correct term here), but the Panthers have a really terrible WR grouping.

by tuluse :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 5:31pm

The Rams are like the Panthers without Steve Smith, just dreadful.

Although, at lot of that is injuries. Clayton and Avery both look like useful players to me, but they got a 5 total games out of them (all from Clayton).

by wr (not verified) :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 4:05pm

I think Holmgren has been inspired in this by Pat Riley.
If in a copule of years, the team is floundering, Holmgren
can stay in his VP office. If the team is starting to
contend, he can kick Shurmur to the curb and accrue the
glory of playoff success to himself.

by drobviousso :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 5:41pm

I'm kind of puzzled about this. Is Shurmur part of Holmgren's "tree?" Does the other Ryan brother have no interest in being a HC?

by Chief too :: Thu, 01/13/2011 - 8:45pm

Shurmur was Andy Reid's QB coach and Reid was Holmgren's QB coach. Obviously, Shurmur and Heckert have a connection from Philadelphia, if Heckert had any influence.

by Dre538 (not verified) :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 12:51am

Strange hire to me. I only saw a few Rams games during the season, but in each one I came away thinking they could have done better if they had a more agressive offensive gameplan. Against the Seahawks they did little but run very short pass plays where the receivers had very little room to run. They refused to run any even semi-deep pass plays until it was too late, and hardly utilized their best offensive player, Steven Jackson, even though he had been effective on his few carries. I don't know much about Shurmur, but it seems strange that a guy who coordinated one of the league's worst offenses should get a head coaching job. I realize there wasn't much talent there, but I have much more respect for an offense that tries to take advantage of what they have rather than settling for doing little. It's unlikely the Browns will come out of the cellar any time soon.

by spenczar :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 2:15am

Agreed. The games I saw mostly had me impressed (impressed is maybe too strong, but you know, NFC West level of impressed) with the defense.

by Tim R :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 12:14pm

Do teams not get compensation for the hiring of coordinators by other teams?

by Dean :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 1:33pm


by justanothersteve :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 1:35pm

Not if it's a promotion.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 2:16pm

Right, although "promotion" in this context acknowledges the existence of only two levels of coaching - head coach and anything else. Teams are under no obligation to allow position coaches to take co-ordinator jobs elsewhere (though they may choose to, on the basis that this will make other position coaches more willing to work for them in future). Similarly, teams may poach other franchises' front office staff without permission only if they are hiring them for a position with final say over personnel decisions. Promotion from, say, area scout to director of player personnel - or even to a GM-in-name-only gig at a club where the head coach has final say - does not count.

by David A. (not verified) :: Fri, 01/14/2011 - 11:36pm

One of my buddies runs a Cleveland blog and he's been all over this hiring. Essentially, Holmgren is putting "his people" in place, which means putting his agent's people in place. Holmgren's agent, Bob LaMonte, is Shurmur's agent.