It's been widely believed since the Cleveland Brown's were sold to new owner Jimmy Haslam III that head coach Pat Shurmur's job as head coach was in serious jeopardy. There's just been to many major game management gaffes to go along with bad offense. Bad offense from a coach who's made his living with offense as his bread and butter. Pat Shurmur may be a great guy, but he simply is not a very good in game head coach. For that reason the Cleveland Browns will be looking for a new head coach after the 2012 season.
With a head coaching search ahead of him, Jim Haslam must put together a description of what characteristics his selection will embody. My guess is that with the help of team President Joe Banner, he's already refined this list and may already have a short list of coaching targets.
I've assembled a list of criteria that I feel are of utmost importance for the incoming coach. (There's nothing earth shattering here, but important non the less) These characteristics are not listed in any particular order.
1. Young- The NFL is a league that chews up coaches and spits them out. The time and energy required to do the job to it's fullest extent can wear on a coach, and having extra resources of youth to pull from will definitely be a plus. It's not that older coaches are no longer capable of doing a successful job, but rather that it's trending to a younger man's game. Aside from the physical and mental resources required to do the job, there is something to be said about a younger coach's ability to relate to the players.
2. Hungry- This is the very reason I would be very surprised to see the likes of Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden in Cleveland. They've been to and won the Super Bowl. It's not a matter of whether or not they could do it again, but that I don't see them coaching in the NFL again. As much as they loved the game of football and how good it was to them as head coaches, they've found very plush situations in the media that they'd be nearly insane to leave. By most accounts of the people around them they aren't looking to get back into the coaching ranks.
3. Bright Football Mind- Just think Browns fan, what would it be like to have a head coach on the sidelines that doesn't always appear to be one or two steps behind the game? What would it be like to have a coach who's actually one or two steps ahead of the game? Ah, we can dream right? In the NFL today a coach must be able to adapt. The new coach needs to be articulate, and a highly effective communicator. Knowledge without the ability to articulate and communicate will result in a coach who's not able to develop talent. This is the reason that a good coordinator doesn't always result in a great head coach. It's more than just plain x's and o's when it comes to developing talent.
4. The "it" factor- This may sound silly, but if you look at any of the coaching greats in the NFL they were all alpha males. This is important on a number of levels. All coaches that ascend to the top of the coaching ranks, i.e. the NFL, have big egos. The head coach must be the alpha male and be able to create and implement the pecking order amongst his coaches. Just as the coaches need to know who's boss, so too must the players. When it comes to the players it's about more than the coach having the right to cut them or keep them, play them or bench them. It's about the way the coach walks and talks when interacting with the players, how he treats the players. Does he exude that supreme confidence neccessary to lead an NFL football team. This is what they commonly refer as the "it" factor. The the thing about the "it" factor is a coach either has "it" or he doesn't. This in my opinion is the toughest quality to find, and what the most successful franchises are able to find most frequently. The Cleveland Browns new coach must have "it".
With a young core of players established on this team, finding the right guy to be the new head coach will undoubtedly be the most important hire, Jim Haslam will make. It's up to him to find the guy that has all the right qualities to develop and lead this team into a new era of Cleveland Browns football. All we can do is hope that he's got the goods to get the job done.
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