PITTSBURGH – With the final whistle blown and another losing season in the books. The only questions that remain if you are a Cleveland Browns fan is what’s next?
Before the Browns matchup against the arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers, multiple media outlets would report that head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert would be fired as early as Monday.
While the Browns have yet to officially make any statement in regards to the fate of both Shurmur and Heckert, they have also not refuted the reports either. Which leads many in football circles to conclude that the Browns have already made their decision.
With Shurmur and Heckert most likely out in Cleveland, who’s in?
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported late Sunday that the Browns will go after Chip Kelly of Oregon and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien “in a big way”.
Other names such as Josh McDaniels, offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter have also been mentioned.
Thanks to the stellar play of Russell Wilson, a potential dark-horse candidate to keep an eye on is Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell.
In terms of who will succeed Heckert, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Browns “short list” of GM candidates includes Arizona’s Steve Keim and Jason Licht, John Idzik of the Seattle Seahawks, David Calwell of the Atlanta Falcons and Doug Whaley of the Buffalo Bills.
For the Browns, they need to make a strong and firm hire in whoever they choose, the new head coach and general manager must both be committed to not blowing up the current young nucleus of talent assembled by Heckert and move towards establishing a culture of winning.
Despite finishing 5-11, the Browns have a talented and up and coming group of players in quarterback Brandon Weeden, running back Trent Richardson and wide receivers Josh Gordon and Greg Little.
The next head coach/general manager needs to find and identify the right system to utilize Weeden’s arm in a more vertical passing attack immediately, as opposing to the dink-and-dunk finesse West Coast offense, which seemed ill-suited to his skill set.
On defense, the Browns must find a coach/general manager who will keep the current 4-3 in place, as the Browns have assembled a young and formidable defensive line in Jabaal Sheard, Phil Taylor, Ahytba Rubin and Frostee Rucker and a promising secondary anchored by Joe Haden and T.J. Ward.
For a young team on the cusp of contention such as the Browns, continuity and dedication to a long-term plan is key.
Lerner and Holmgren are now long gone, and as of now, this is Haslam and Banner’s baby. For Browns fans everywhere, as of Monday, both Banner and Haslam are now on the clock to get this right.
Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected] and follow the Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber