CLEVELAND - In their first at-bat, new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner struck out.
Strike one - Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien back to the Nittany Lions.
Strike two - Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone headed to another NFL city instead of Cleveland.
Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, the hot candidate, going back to college after another NFL flirtation - steeeerike three, swing and a miss.
The Browns’ new brain trust heads back from Arizona to Berea now to draw up a new plan. Even though they struck out with their college trio it doesn’t mean they can’t still come up big.
Plenty of viable head coaching candidates remain up for the taking. There are recently fired coaches like Ken Whisenhunt and Lovie Smith, who have taken teams to the Super Bowl. Bright young coordinators like Kyle Shanahan and Jay Gruden have the name pedigree. If the Browns are looking outside the box, Colts GM Ryan Grigson endorsed Canadian Football League head coach Marc Trestman, who Indianapolis interviewed last season.
Haslam and Banner’s first foray into the 2013 head coaching search didn’t go so well. They got hit hard with three Strasburg fastballs. But that doesn’t mean it has to be labeled a failure.
You learn a lot about people in times of adversity. Do they panic, cower or perform even stronger in the face of it? How Haslam and Banner reassess the situation will give you a taste of this team’s direction going forward with a new regime.
Plenty of teams miss out on their first choices. Tampa Bay did last year with Kelly too and ended up with Greg Schiano, who showed some promise improving the team’s record in his first season.
There’s no use smarting over what could’ve been. Whether or not the Browns thought they had Kelly or aren’t happy with how he handled himself, that’s the past.
And hey, there’s another pretty good candidate out there right now who performed quite well in adverse times himself. Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians took over for sick head coach Chuck Pagano this season and not only held the team together but got them to the playoffs. It was on-the-job training that proved he can be a head coach and do it well.
Arians would be someone Cleveland could be proud to have as their next coach. Not only is he a proven, successful offensive mind but a proven class act.
While Pagano was away from the team, Arians never took over his office. He went so far as to make sure the light was kept on until Pagano came back. The 60-year-old Arians gets how to handle tough times. Now, the Browns should take a long, hard look at getting him.
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