As the season moves on, one thing is becoming more and more clear: Cleveland head coach Pat Shurmur is sealing his fate in the NFL. Yes, the Browns won today against the Chargers. Yes, the Browns have won two of their last three games. But a win over the Bengals and a 7-6 win over the Chargers does not, and will not, make the Browns a playoff caliber team. It all starts with the coaching staff, and if the Browns want to become one of the best teams in the league, Shurmur has got to go.
I’ve expressed my disappointment with Shurmur time and time again, and I’m not going to waste my time on him anymore. He’s a horrible coach. With different coaching decisions, we could have a much better record than 2-6. Cleveland has a strong nucleus of talented, young players on both sides of the ball. It’s just a shame that we don’t have the right person leading the team.
Here’s the good news, though. New owner Jimmy Haslam has been at the games this season, and he’s looked just as disgusted with Shurmur as I have. Last week, with the Browns trailing 17-13 in the fourth quarter, Shurmur decided it would be a good idea to punt the ball on fourth-and-one. Haslam was then shown throwing something on the ground, completely upset with Shurmur’s decision. During today’s game, Haslam didn’t look any more impressed with Shurmur.
Clearly, Haslam will at least be considering a coaching change by the end of the season. The best part of all, is that rumors are swirling that Haslam and new team president Joe Banner have been in talks with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher. Despite the rivalry between the Browns and the Steelers, Cleveland has always had a special place in Cowher’s heart. Cowher began his NFL playing career in 1980 with the Cleveland Browns. In 1985, Cowher’s coaching career began in Cleveland.
Even better, Haslam and Cowher share an appreciation for Pittsburgh, something that could work in Cleveland’s favor. Haslam left his position as a minority owner of the Steelers to take over the Browns. Cowher spent 15 years in Pittsburgh, solidifying himself as one of the best coaches in recent memory. If Cowher is considering a return to the sidelines, Haslam may be the guy to sway him toward Cleveland.
The Browns need a coach like Cowher. They need a coach that isn’t afraid to get in the faces of players that make mistakes. They need a coach that’s not afraid to discipline his players. The Browns don’t need a coach that’s going to be their friend. They need a coach that’s going to show them the right way to do things, and tell them when they screw up. The Browns need to get rid of Shurmur, and hire a coach like Cowher.
For once, Cleveland needs to hire an experienced coach, with a winning reputation. Cowher finished his career with a regular season record of 149-90-1 and had a playoff record of 12-9. He led the Steelers to two AFC Championships, a Super Bowl win, and was named the NFL Coach of the Year on two separate occasions.
I’m not saying the Browns are seriously considering Cowher, or that Cowher is seriously considering the Browns. All I know, is that today, while on the set of The NFL Today on CBS, Cowher was wearing an orange tie. Maybe, just maybe, that’s because of talks he’s had with Haslam lately.
Stay positive, Cleveland!