Could Bruce Arians be the savior the Browns are searching for?
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns are not in the market for a head coach – yet – but if Bruce Arians becomes available could that all change?
The Cleveland Browns do not currently have a head coaching vacancy.
Of course, it is only Boxing Day and a lot can happen between now and late Sunday afternoon, when the Browns will likely walk into the locker room at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh the owners of an 0-16 record.
If (when?) that happens it may be enough for even owner Jimmy Haslam to realize that head coach Hue Jackson — owner of a 1-30 record with the Browns and a career winning percentage of .191 as a head coach — is not the answer.
Sure, Haslam said earlier this month that Jackson is coming back in 2018, but if there is one thing you can count on from Haslam it is that he can easily change his mind. So if (when?) Haslam makes the call to fire the fourth full-time head coach since he purchased the team, the question becomes: who will be next?
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
One name that would seem to be appealing is that of Bruce Arians, who has been head coach of the Arizona Cardinals since 2013 but will reportedly step down following Sunday’s season finale against the Seattle Seahawks, according to Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly.
Things have not gone very well for Arians and the Cardinals the past two seasons as they finished 7-8-1 in 2016 and are just 7-8 this season, a mark that could easily be 5-10 if not for a pair of overtime wins against the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers.
Arians’ first three years were a different story, however, as the Cardinals improved from 10-6 to 11-5 and 13-3 (with an appearance in the NFC Championship Game).
Arians has had success as a head coach, unlike Jackson; has a healthy dislike for the Pittsburgh Steelers after being fired as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2011; has a soft spot for Cleveland after serving as offensive coordinator for the Browns from 2001 to 2003; and thought he was going to be contacted for an interview in 2009 when then-owner Randy Lerner made the mistake of hiring Eric Mangini without giving it any thought.
There are a couple of questions about Arians, however, starting with this line from Arkush’s story:
"Arians is a prostate cancer survivor who has battled various other health issues in recent seasons, and the prospect of a possible rebuild for the Cardinals with no apparent answers at quarterback on the horizon is apparently enough for Arians to decide to call it quits, or at least take a hiatus from coaching."
If the 65-year-old Arians is not up to the task of rebuilding the Cardinals, would he be physically or mentally up to continuing the rebuild in Cleveland?
There is also the little matter of Arians saying the whole idea of him leaving the Cardinals is bunk, according to azcardinals.com:
"“If you want to ask me about this fake news story that has come up … nothing has changed. I don’t know where this (expletive) came from. Nothing has changed in the last month and a half, and everyone keeps asking me.”"
At this point no one — maybe not even Arians — knows for sure what the future holds. It is a pleasant fantasy to think that Arians will come to save the franchise. But several dominoes have to correctly fall for him to even have a chance to do that.
Next: Browns open as major underdogs to Pittsburgh
And when was the last time something fell correctly for the Browns when it came to a head coach?