It’s doubtful that the name Pat Shurmur instills much excitement in the minds of Browns fans, especially when you consider the big names that were thrown out there as the Browns made their search for a new head coach. Sure, it was wishful thinking, but hiring the offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams seems about as exciting as a bowl of grits.
At first glance, there are a lot of questions to be raised in response to Shurmur’s hiring. Some of us come from the camp that believes former head coach Eric Mangini got a bad rap; that one more year of draft picks and free agents would have allowed for even more improvement. Additionally, it’s worth questioning why the Browns would once again take the route of hiring someone with no previous head coaching experience in the NFL. Other teams have found success with this method, but the Browns have had little luck dipping into that talent pool since coming back into the league in 1999.
However, it would be unfair to completely write off Shurmur so quickly. Unlike the past Browns’ coaches, he has the support of a strong front office, and to top it off, they all share the same philosophies for success on the field. The entire organization now has the same football mindset, which should bode well in future personnel acquisitions.
Even better, Shurmur is credited with helping quarterback Sam Bradford succeed in his first season. While the Rams’ offense was nothing to write home about, Bradford’s rookie season certainly was. This is at least something Browns fans can hang their hat on when searching for as many reasons as possible to get excited for next season.
So, can Browns fans truly get excited about Pat Shurmur? He’s no Jon Gruden or Mike Holmgren, but maybe he doesn’t have to be. If anything, he’ll be coming in with reasonable expectations and an organization that fully supports him. Maybe he doesn’t have to be a superstar name to take the Browns to the next level. Some of the best head coaches are products of an effective system, and that is exactly what Holmgren is attempting to build.
If anything, the introduction of a new coach always brings a certain level of optimism to a team and its fan base. The prospects of a new direction and a new system present a wide variety of opportunities, and the Browns are finally looking like they’re capable of seizing some of them. That alone is enough to get us excited.