Jon Gruden? No.
Nick Saban? Yeah, right.
Bill Cowher? Nope, but maybe he’ll become mayor of Strongsville one day.
And then the Browns coaching search turned to names like Bill O’Brien and Josh McDaniels (thanks, but no thanks), Ken Whisenhunt (new Tennessee Titans coach), Todd Bowles (Rooney Rule satisfied) and Ben McAdoo (who?).
Rob Chudzinski was fired Dec. 30, a mere 11 months after being hired. It only made sense to assume the Browns had a coach lined up to replace the one-year wonder. You know what they say about assuming…
So, the search began and as we approach mid-January it continues.
Maybe the Browns are taking their time?
Maybe the Browns can’t agree on who they want?
Maybe the Browns know who they want but are waiting for their team to end their season?
The real question is: Does the coach matter?
You are well aware of the list of head coaches and front office reorganizations this team has had since 1999. They have all failed. Every. Single. One.
One key cog has been missing — a franchise quarterback. If, through some stroke of luck, this team is able to identify and draft a franchise quarterback this May, what difference does it make if someone named Ben McAdoo or Adam Gase is coaching this team?
But we’re also asking this front office to find that franchise quarterback. Right now they are fighting a perception problem, whether it is perceived or real or a combination of both. New owner Jimmy Haslam has talked about the need to model this front office after the Pittsburgh Steelers. He wants stability. The Browns are the exact opposite. Right now, there is just turmoil and dysfunction and it starts with the owner. Haslam has his off-the-field problems with his company, Pilot Flying J. Joe Banner is causing strife between the coaching staff and front office and, for some reason no one can explain, has final say of personnel decisions. Chudzinski and his coaching staff butted heads with this front office. Now he is out of a job. Finally, there is a seldom-seen general manager, Mike Lombardi, whose history of drafting has been … well, let’s just say not very good.
Maybe that’s why there appears to be some apathy with the Browns and this coaching search because in the end, until the team can find that quarterback of the future and reach some stability in the front office, everything else is moot.
The Browns are not lacking talent. There are individual players on this roster who are earning postseason honors. Remember those years the Browns went without a single Pro Bowl player? This team has young pieces to act as cornerstones. Missing is that quarterback that can lead this team both on and off the field. That is the biggest decision the Browns need to make this offseason. This coaching search is secondary.
A lot of problems would magically disappear if the Browns could find that quarterback. The Browns might actually win games. Then, perceptions would change. And, for a change, a head coach would stick around for more than one or two years.
Finally, Januarys spent following interviewing rumors on social media will be a thing of the past. Instead, the focus would be on what bar to attend in Strongsville to watch Browns play football. Who knows? Maybe Bill Cowher will stop in and buy a round.