It's been almost a foregone conclusion that the Browns would be looking for Pat Shurmur's replacement since Jimmy Haslem III took over the team in October and Joe Banner moved into the football operations offices at 76 Lou Groza Blvd.
What hasn't been a foregone conclusion, and what continues to be a mystery, is what direction the new front office and ownership team will take with the next head coach. Will it be an offensive guy, defensive guy, special teams guy, college guy, retread guy, Santa Claus impersonator guy, West Coast offense guy, spread guru guy, or just a guy's guy?
The truth is, we don't know, and we won't know until, at the very earliest (if these guys are miracle workers and have Paul Brown reincarnated and ready to go), Tuesday. We can probably safely rule out a Santa Claus impersonator, if for nothing else than Philly's not due to visit Cleveland again until 2020, but other than that, it's up in the air.
So here's my completely worthless because Jimmy Haslem doesn't read PSH (unlike, say, possibly scouts for the Bills) take on who should be on Jimmy's short list, and a few who shouldn't.
1. Mike McCoy
Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator
I'm sure McCoy is pretty high up on, well, any owner's coaching list right now. In the past three years, he's coordinator offenses quarterbacked by Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, and Peyton Manning, and he's had success with all of them.
2. Jay Gruden
Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Coordinator
Gruden comes with the experience of having been a head coach at a lower level (Arena League, mind you, but still) and is a very young, very talented offensive coordinator who's getting mileage out of Andy Dalton.
3. Bill O'Brien
Penn State Head Coach
Penn State lost a lot of scholarships, a lot of respect, and a lot of players from an okay team, and he still got them to respectability and a decent record. Of the available college coachs, O'Brien is by far my favorite choice given his recent pro experience.
4. Chip Kelly
Oregon Head Coach
Sanctions could be coming to Eugene, and Chip Kelly might run away from them to the NFL. There's a big caveat with this one: if he wants total control, I'm out. Kelly's scheme wouldn't necessarily translate directly to the NFL, but portions of it (the pace, some of the option) would, and I think Kelly has the mind to devise ways to make hay at the NFL level without getting his quarterback killed.
5. Josh McDaniels
New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator
McDaniels makes an appearance here based on his first six games in New England (6-0), not the final stretch (which was not pretty). If you give this guy a seasoned front office (here's the caveat) that can grab personnel for him, he could be successful.
With all of these guys, I've gone offense, offense, and more offense. Why? In part because Dick Jauron and his staff have not been the problem. In today's NFL, and I know this is a long-shot, but they deserve to keep their jobs, period.
Now here's a very short list of guys I want no part of in the next regime:Now here's a very short list of guys I want no part of in the next regime:
1. Bruce Arians
Indianapolis Colts Offensive Coordinator
Arians did a great job this year, but his previous experience in Cleveland was less-than-satisfying, and I'd rather not have the memories of the Tim Couch/Kelly Holcomb quarterback competition hanging over my head for the next five years.
2. Nick Saban
Alabama Head Coach
Saban's one of those guys who's a great college coach, but his style doesn't mesh well with NFL players. For the rumored asking price, I'd rather not have to pay $10 million a year for a guy who may not last a 10 year contract.
A final parting note. Since it seems to be the thing to do in the Cleveland media, I'll add my two cents on the general manager situation: just say no to Mike Lombardi.