First Rumor for Browns New Coach: Marty Mornhinweg?


NFL analyst Peter King speculated on NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecast, that Brown’s head coach Eric Mangini will indeed be fired following a humiliating 41-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in their season finale.

He also reported Browns President Mike Holmgren may target Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to replace him. Wait, really?

Get ready for a rumor filled off-season Browns fans, we should at least all be used to it by now.

Mornhinweg’s mention probably won’t please those of us who were hoping Holmgren would step onto the field and take the reins himself, or else land a sexy name like a Jon Gruden, or even a John Fox.

Marty’s not the young up-and-comer type at 48 years old, and his last stop as head coach was in Detroit where he lasted just two seasons (2001-2002) after going 5-27. His coaching highlight those two years? Taking the wind.

He would however certainly come to Cleveland specializing in what Browns fans are most desperate for today: Offense and quarterback development.

As the Eagles offensive coordinator, he’s due some of the credit for transforming them into one of the most exciting teams in the NFL, and coaching Michael Vick into a surprise MVP candidate. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Eagles, but they finished the season ranked 2nd in the NFL in yards per game, and 3rd in scoring.

That’s what we want right? Offense, a quarterback, touchdowns, fun, etc.

Mornhinweg is also schooled in the west-coast offensive system Mike Holmgren believes in; a system we can all agree would suit Colt McCoy well, whether he turns out to be “the future” or not (his second straight 3 INT game didn’t help his case did it).

The Browns previous two coaches, Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini, were descendants of a Bill Belichick tree that has produced zero fruit in any other football organization outside the Patriots’. Josh McDaniels and Charlie Weiss are other flops that come to mind.

The only guy who can coach like Bill is Bill, so maybe it’s best for the Browns to subscribe to a different magazine.

But the main reason Mornhinweg is being linked to the Browns is because of GM Tom Heckert’s ties to the Eagles, and because he has the same agent as Mike Holmgren. So while I would applaud a final departure from the Belichick tree, it does feel like Holmgren and Heckert are, “playing it a little close,” if you know what I mean.

There have to be better, fresher, newer, and more innovative NFL minds out there. Names like the Falcon’s Mike Smith, the Ram’s Steve Spagnuolo, Tampa Bay’s Raheem Morris, the Saint’s Sean Payton, the Chief’s Todd Haley, and yes, even the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin.

All are former coordinators succeeding in their first stint as NFL coaches, and none have any affiliation with Bill Belichick.

Yet, the first rumor to surface has H & H chasing a failed head coach who took over the play calling duties from the biggest pushover / dork in the history of the NFL (Brad Childress) after he left to coach the Vikings. How’s that tree look?

I suppose it could be worse.

The beauty of Holmgren and Heckert running the Browns is at least owner Randy Lerner isn’t running the Browns. The decisions are still in reasonably capable hands, and if they see Mornhinweg as an up-and-comer-reborn, then maybe he is.

I know this: the Eagle’s offense is way sexier than the Brown’s right now.

And with that, whoever coaches the Browns next season will still need a lot more talent than the roster currently offers; one player a piece from the 2006, 2007, and 2008 drafts, and a horrible 2009 Mangini draft. That probably makes the job as hard for Marty as it would be for Jon Gruden or anyone else.

Let’s hope Holmgren gets this one right whoever it is, and let’s hope it can’t get any worse. In Eric Mangini’s two years we’ve suffered through separate 4 game, 7 game, 3 game, and 4 game losing streaks.

Good luck, and go Browns in 2011.