Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 Dec 2012

Report: Shurmur and Heckert Out in Cleveland

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the decision has already been made to let go of head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert following Week 17's game against the Steelers. No surprise given the new ownership group and another lackluster season.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 30 Dec 2012

20 comments, Last at 06 Jan 2013, 11:28pm by Schmoker


by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 10:41am

P. Shurnur kind of boring guy. Cleve Browbs need dynamic coach there who players relallly like and has personality and really cool guy and stuff.

Tough for Bengals to allow Jay grudnd to interview for Browns job but that guy could be good there. Ovicously owner going to tyr for N. Saban.

R. Horton could get interview.

by brownsrage (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 11:17am

shurmur is not head coaching material, the offense hasn't been consistent enough, and weeden has developed but you couldn't tell from last week's game. the browns are improving, but shurmur is just not good enough at game-planning or game management to keep his job.

i hope they consider keeping dick jauron. if they can add a pass rusher and a few pieces in the secondary, the defense could be top ten.

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 2:17pm

On balance Jauron got a ton of overachievement out of the defense, although the team looked completely unprepared when they made Kirk Cousins look like a Pro Bowler.

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 2:09pm

I was also sad to see things end the way they did with Holmgren because I had met him and his wife around town several times. I understand his release (and it's also normal to have a buyout clause in your contract for ownership changes) but his openly flirting with the Cowboys coaching job was tough to see.

I was willing to give Shurmur a chance at first when I saw St. L do even worse on offense without him, but his playcalling is very predictable (and doesn't really fit Weeden's, Gordon's and Richardson's potential all that well.)

Heckert's young talent may on balance may amount to a good foundation, but even in a small market and a rebuilding team you should be able to do more than him in FA.

Heckert should land on his feet easily, and I think Shurmur will end up somewhere as a coordinator.

by sundown (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 11:59pm

I had no idea anybody in Cleveland had any love whatsoever for Holmgren from a football standpoint. No clue what he and his family were doing around town (possibly great things and me may be a great guy on a personal level) but he certainly didn't live up to expectations in terms of making the team better. And since he wasn't coaching the Browns, why would him coaching the Cowboys be that big a deal? (Though, without question, you'd have been better off if he were the Browns coach and not running the front office.)

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2012 - 12:31am

People did generally like him initially, at least as a "big name," and liked that he worked with Heckert on drafting (of course, most of us thought Colt McCoy, who Holmgren had a hand in, would turn out to be more than he was; the jury is still out on Weeden, but he also had a role in that choice.)

My point about the Cowboys is that the impression we all got when he was chatting with Jerry Jones (and we still don't know what exactly was in that conversation, but the rumors were out there) was that we weren't good enough for him to step down and coach, but they were.

Regardless, the stress of a head NFL coaching job is dangerous for someone of his weight and age, which is why I see him retiring (and Romeo Crennell retiring as well.)

by Anonymous2 (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 6:08pm

I agree Shurmur is not head coaching material. But at the same time, how can the Browns expect to be anything other than cellar dwellers when they are continually firing their GMs, bringing in a new GM who fires the previous HC and hires a new HC who installs His Own Scheme which the players don't know and doesn't match their skill set? Then, the players have about a season and a half to learn the new scheme before the GM is again fired and the process starts anew.

by Greg F (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 6:41pm

I for one am looking forward to the disappointment I will feel upon hearing who the Browns settle for at head coach.

by BJR :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 7:08pm

The AFC North doesn't seem like such a tough prospect anymore so the Browns have an opportunity to be competitive if they can make some decent appointments.

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 7:40pm

There are always ups and downs in every conference (who would've thought the NFC West would go from where it was 2 years ago to where it is now?)

The feeling before the season was that the Browns got some good draft talent, but didn't "close the gap" in the division because the drafts brought Upshaw in Balt, DeCastro/Adams in Pitt, and Kirkpatrick in Cin, and because they did little in FA.

But injuries to those draft picks in Pitt and Cin were part of why the Browns were able to get 2 wins in the division.

Today's game was not exactly unexpected given Weeden/Colt/TRich were all out; CLE started its 3rd stringer and did outgain PITT but had some bad turnovers, much like the first game in reverse.

by jackiel :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 9:17pm

I'm somewhat conflicted on this. The Browns looked much better this year. But they were just too outmanned in the secondary, there weren't enough playmakers on offense, and Weeden wasn't as prepared to play right away as some of the guys drafted ahead of and behind him to be consistently competitive. Yet their in-game coaching left much to be desired and they were still a missing a lot of critical pieces on both sides of the ball.

I would have been ok with Shurmur and Heckert getting another year. But with the ownership change, I understand the move.

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Sun, 12/30/2012 - 9:54pm

Technically, Weeden's ESPN rating (not "total QBR" on the 1-100 scale, which isn't so good) has looked comparable to Tannehill's and Luck's most of the year, not to mention that he had a similar record to Miami and a better team DVOA than Luck (with a close road loss head-to-head.)

And a few weeks ago, I said that despite having no veteran elite RB, no elite defense, and a much worse coach than Carroll, Weeden had a record that at the time (5-8) was only two games worse than Wilson's if (sorry to open this can of worms) the Fail Mary call went the other way.

by Dan L (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2013 - 11:57pm

Wow, there's some pretzel like flexibility in this comment. Old Qb raiting matters when it makes Weeden similar to Luck. Team Dvoa is better than a team who is unrealistically fortunate, so they're on track. Team record being not quite as bad as Seattles before they went on a winning streak and the Browns went on a losing streak. I'm all for optimism about the team, but lets have some consistency in evaluation. There really isn't an analytics reason to be positive about Weeden. There's actually more of one for McCoy. The hope for Weeden is entirely based on a scouting opinion that the skills he's shown can be honed into something productive in the future, as he's clearly below replacement level now.

by wr (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2013 - 12:36pm

Unfortunately, this makes Weeden a bust, because of his age. By the time he
devleops, he'll be out of his prime - assuming he does in face develop.

by Theo :: Mon, 12/31/2012 - 6:24pm

Trading up to draft a running back 3rd overall when you just went 4-12 and have no way of making the play offs next year because you have no passing game, no defense to speak of and no depth on your team... is dumb.

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2012 - 9:10pm

They had to "outbid" Tampa Bay on that tradeup (and I'm not one to defend every move...the Hardesty tradeup was a disaster unless 'Tario produces well for years, which he started to do at times this year, largely because the defense thought a pass was coming whenever he entered.) They didn't give up that much in lower draft picks to secure the tradeup; granted, those lower draft picks could easily become decent for their draft 7position in the way Billy Winn/Craig Robertson were.

They did try to upgrade the passing game from Colt to Weeden, and I'm sure were hoping for a lot more improvement than they did. They also upgraded the WRs, and Gordon was a home run; Benjamin (who could outrun almost anyone, but was too slender to absorb much of any contact) wasn't used enough/properly when healthy, IMO.

Would love to see them make the 2009 draft come full circle by cutting Massoquoi (couldn't stay healthy, and showed a little promise, but who hasn't?) and getting Mike Wallace in FA.

The rumors are also that Josh McDaniels will try to bring Wes Welker in if he coaches.

by Schmoker (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2013 - 2:54pm

I am mystified as to why someone who pays a billion dollars for something must then fire everyone in order to "put their stamp one it," as if they are a cat marking a new yard. If you pay a billion bucks, then anything you do from there is putting your stamp on it, almost by definition. Keeping people would also be putting your stamp on things, because everyone knows you could do the opposite.

Also mystified by the "coach first, then GM (who will then be nothing more than a scouting director), as that formula has worked almost nowhere, and it's been a repeated disaster here.

I have doubts new ownership here could find it's butthole with a funnel. Shurmur was bad, but Heckert was the best this town had seen in 30 years. Only reason the team isn't better is because ownership forbid free agency. And now we know why.

I see this as Modell, Part Deux. Hope I am wrong.

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2013 - 12:50am

30 years? Not sure I'd go that far. (I've actually heard Browns fans argue that the 2010 draft was the worst since the return, and that Haden was drafted too high, but that's too far in the other direction.)

I was surprised they'd overhaul it to the degree they plan to, simply because Banner is a Philadelphia guy.

Definitely not Modell (especially since precedents have been set to make Modell's, er, abuses of power cost-prohibitive.)

by Schmoker (not verified) :: Sun, 01/06/2013 - 11:25pm

Since Ernie Acorsi the GMs here have been Mike Lombardi, Dwight Clark, Butch Davis/Pete Garcia, Phil Savage, and then Heckert. So, yeah, I'd say the best GM in 30 years. That's a comment on how bad the GMs have been rather than a hosanna to Heckert, but I'd say Heckert was pretty good. Haden is the best player on the team probably, and the draft this year was the best draft since Acorsi built the winning teams of the 80's. He drafted Schwartz higher than anyone wanted, and all the tackles with big names who went after him were mostly busts, while Schwartz solidified what has been a terrible position for us for years. He drafted John Hughes higher than anyone liked, and Hughes had a solid year. He drafted Billy Winn in 6th round, and he had a very good year. And then he drafted Josh Gordon higher in the supplemental than anyone liked (Lombardi called it a panic move), and Gordon had the best year of any rookie wideout.

As someone who has watched idiots draft Tommy Vardell, Craig Powell, Mike Junkin, David Veikune, Brian Robiske, Tim Couch, Gerard Warren, Courtney Brown, and on and on and on, I refuse to believe those who think there is someone better than Heckert just around the corner. I didn't follow him closely in Philly, but the Eagles have always seemed to have excellent talent. And with Banner and Haslem picking his successor, I think the chances that we get someone half as good are maybe 10%.

by Schmoker (not verified) :: Sun, 01/06/2013 - 11:28pm

Obviously Weeden was not a great pick so far, and probably never will be. But like McCoy, the papers here were filled with the story that Holmgren pushed for Weeden. And like when they drafted McCoy, the source for those stories was Holmgren, who went around saying things like, "I pushed for us to get Weeden/McCoy. Remember that I am a genius at picking quarterbacks."