DraftBrowns.com Editor: Brendan Leister
With the 2012 regular season coming to a close, it seems that the Cleveland Browns are, once again, in line for some changes. Although you can make a very good case that the Browns made strides this season under head coach Pat Shurmur, all signs are pointing to owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner hiring a new head coach and GM, along with replacing many other employees within the organization. At DraftBrowns, we have decided to take our best stabs at predicting who will be the head coach and general manager of the Browns for the foreseeable future.
Head coach: Current 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman
General Manager: Current 49ers Director of Player Personnel Tom Gamble
I honestly have no idea who Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner will hire, but I think Greg Roman and Tom Gamble would be a very sensible pairing.
Roman has shown that he’s not afraid to think outside the box this season coordinating the offense in San Francisco. He has done an excellent job of adapting his offense to quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s strengths by using read concepts that have become prevalent in college football the past several years.
Gamble is one of the most highly regarded candidates expected to make the jump to general manager this offseason. He works very closely with 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. This bodes well for his chances considering the amount of success the 49ers have enjoyed the past two seasons.
I feel like I need to add that although I list Greg Roman and Tom Gamble as my best guess, my personal preference would be to hire current Oregon head coach Chip Kelly to the same role and retain Tom Heckert as general manager. With saying this, it is safe to say that Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner are much more qualified to make these decisions than I am.
Head Coach Prediction: Current 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman or Current Oregon head coach Chip Kelly
General Manager: David Caldwell
Your guess is as good as mine at this point. At the end of the day (and perhaps it’s just a pipe dream), I could realistically see a situation where a GM candidate like Atlanta director of player personnel David Caldwell is brought in with either Greg Roman or Chip Kelly as head coach. Caldwell and Roman have a history together at John Carroll University where they both played football so there may be a natural fit there. If the choice is Kelly, I could see more of someone along the lines of a college scout making the leap to Director of Player Personnel while Kelly would have say over the 53-man roster. Perhaps Kelly could also bring on former Nevada head coach Chris Ault to help him mesh the offense he ran at Oregon with something that is more NFL-friendly, such as the Pistol.
Head Coach Prediction: Current Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy
General Manager Prediction: Former Broncos general manager Brian Xanders
When posed with the question of who will be coaching the Browns in the 2013 season, one image keeps coming into my mind. It was Jimmy Haslam in a suite with Peyton Manning (image via @Jharraman15) on October 20th, 2012 taking in the slaughter of their alma mater to the hands of Alabama. I don’t know exactly why this image sticks out to me so much, but it keeps me thinking that Haslam has direct access to McCoy via Peyton. I just envision Jimmy asking about how much influence Mike has on Peyton and the offense in general.
In the past few days I’ve also had the realization of how much easier an offensive head coach would be to retain dominance in the NFL. Once (if?), Cleveland becomes successful, they will be another breeding ground of assistant coaches getting looks for head coaching positions. However, if our HC is also the leader of the offense, there won’t be a drastic change, like we’re seeing Jay Cutler complain about with Mike Tice. The system will be a constant as long as McCoy is leading the franchise.
In regards to the question of the GM position, I will admit that I am not qualified to comment (but who is anyway?). Brian Xanders is a name that is new to me, but it makes sense that Xanders could be the first piece secured by Haslam and Banner. Xanders was let go by the Broncos earlier this year, therefore he can be hired, theoretically, minutes after Tom Heckert is let go. Haslam could also secure a “wink wink hush hush agreement” that once the Bronco’s 2012-2013 season concludes, McCoy will interview with the sole intention of being Cleveland’s new signal caller.
The Broncos are a prime example of a franchise that drafts well and recently has had success with multiple quarterbacks. It’s very rare in the NFL for a team to have back to back playoff years with different quarterbacks. Imagine how dominant they will be next season with Manning in his second year. Could Weeden be the Tebow type stop gap before the franchise guy is taken/signed/traded for? Hell, maybe Weeden is the Peyton Manning and Colt is the Tebow? Only one way to find out! BUCKLE UP!!!!!
Head Coach Prediction: Current Oregon head coach Chip Kelly
General Manager Prediction: Current NFL Network TV Analyst Michael Lombardi
As Ryan stated in his “Black Monday” preview, the Browns power couple of owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner will be looking to move fast after Pat Shurmur and Tom Heckert are relieved of their current duties. I believe this effectively rules out most of the current crop of “hot assistant” coaches who might be considered for the head coaching gig. So, maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part, but signs point to Oregon’s Chip Kelly as Cleveland’s next head coach. Banner has strongly hinted that he’s willing to give plenty of roster say-so to the coach, and that would certainly appeal to a guy with Kelly’s track record. After all, why leave a posh job like Oregon, that’s overflowing with Nike money and has an annual shot at a BCS bowl bid, unless you’re being offered an even sweeter deal. Kelly could bring his offensive prowess, and begin to add the pieces needed to spice up the current roster. Brandon Weeden doesn’t seem like the best fit, so hiring Kelly may mean yet another change at quarterback. But if Haslam and Banner want to go all in on the latest offensive genius, that might just be one of those “that’s just the price of doing business” decisions that has to be made.
One interesting development in this whole thing is the resignation of Nevada Head Coach Chris Ault. Ault is known as an offensive innovator and the father of the “pistol” formation, and would be an intriguing candidate for an offensive coordinator position. A Kelly/Ault combo would usher in a whole new era of creativity to a Browns fan base that has turned a place kicker into a cult hero (deservedly so in Phil Dawson’s case, but still…). Nothing is stopping either Ault or Kelly from talking to the Browns right now about these jobs – something guys like Greg Roman or Josh McDaniels can’t do (aren’t supposed to do, anyway). I know plenty of people will tell me this is a pipe dream, but hey, why not Cleveland?
So with the concept of “Cleveland” fresh in our minds, everything can’t be perfect right? So that’s why, sorry, the Browns next general manager will be Michael Lombardi. Has to be. There’s just been too much smoke there. Plus, Lombardi fits my theme of “guys available to talk right now”, and he seems to be the most likely candidate to agree to a system heavy on Chip Kelly’s “final say.” He’s been working on the TV side of the league for a while, so other teams have probably not been tripping over themselves to hire the guy. Lombardi would likely jump at the chance to get back into personnel work. But, I’m making a lot of assumptions here, and I am familiar with what happens when one does that. Still, I’m sticking with my hunches here and thinking the Haslam and Banner team will set up a system that will appear similar to the one that’s having success in Seattle, where a former college head coach from the Pac 12 has final say on personnel matters.
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed our predictions as much as we enjoyed making them! Feel free to comment with your own predictions at the bottom of the page.
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