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Fix The Browns


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I know there are many Browns fans on the board, so I'd like to hear what you would do if you were put in charge. Fire Mangini, trade Quinn or Anderson, draft a new line, etc...

While I feel for my buddies here, you have to admit that one fan had a great sign in last night's game of "Hey Baltimore, Can You Take This Team, Too?"

While he played poorly last night, I still think Quinn could be a solid player if he had more weapons around him and certainly more protecting him.

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Wow, where to start.. Okay, I've been a season ticket holder since '99. Start by refunding my entire season ticket package for the overpaid millionaires who cannot score an offensive touchdown to save their lives. Inexcusable lack of performance. If all of us performed poorly at our jobs (let alone 10 years and counting), the company would cut us all and save money. Quite the opposite in sports. The company still makes their millions off all us fans while continuing to put a poor product on the field.

Now to the rebuilding.

GM and Head Coach. It would have to be football men first and foremost with a proven track record of success at evaluating talent. It's a short list but most of the organization's focus and dollars should be spent in acquiring the right people that can lead. My theory in the head coach department is it should be someone who has played the game to some level of success. (i.e. Jeff Fisher, Mike Singletary, Mike Ditka, Chuck Knoll, Bill Cowher, Marty Schottenheimer, etc..) These are coaches who have the ability to command the respect of their players having been in the trenches themselves.

Since Randy Lerner feels the need to be in touch with our Cleveland roots to an extent, I will play along with that sentiment and offer these candidates. But having Cleveland ties doesn't necessarily make you the best man for the job. I do believe since he has the funds to back the team, Randy just needs the guidance of folks around him to make the right hires.

My candidates for GM:

Ernie Accorsi- was the GM during the Browns heyday of the "Dawgs", which by the way I think should be put to rest. That era has since long been gone, even during the Belichick era. It was a special time in our Browns history that is being tarnished by every losing season on the field. It represented a tenacious enthusiasm exuded by it's stellar secondary in Frank Minnifield and Hanford Dixon.

Ozzie Newsome - lure him away from Baltimore with big dollars and more responsibilities. Give him a new challenge.

Jimmy Johnson - an amazing track record in Dallas, he turned a 1-15 team into a multi Super Bowl champion through his savvy draft day trades and talent evaluation. He is not a candidate for head coach as he has stated how much he dislikes the cold weather. I believe with a hefty amount of money thrown his way, he'd be up for turning around one of the cornerstone organizations in the NFL.

My candidates for head coach:

Bill Cowher - I don't care what it takes, this is THE man for the job. Having played here and coached here in the 80's, he knows what it means to have a winning football team in Cleveland. Having coached Pittsburgh it may weigh on his legacy there but if I were him, I'd be up for the challenge.

Jon Gruden - I know he just signed a multi-year deal with MNF in the broadcast booth but this guy is a football man and should be coaching on the sidelines. His passion for the game is infectious and his no-nonsense approach to the game would light a fire under a passive go-through-the-motions team we've had since coming back to the league.

Mike Ditka - he may be a bit older but he still has that passion for coaching. He knows what it means to Cleveland fans to have a tough, hard as nails team on the field. He recognizes this is a hard-working blue-collar town and would convey that message to his players. Always liked this guy, except don't let him trade the farm for one player (Ricky Williams)

I could line up some quick coaching staff candidates:

Bernie Kosar - QB's coach and assistant offensive coordinator. While not having the league experience necessary to handle all the duties of offensive coordinator, he could assist in being that creative spark the Browns need in play calling. Nobody read defenses better than BK.

Brian Schottenheimer - Offensive coordinator. Cleveland ties, and would work well with Bernie Kosar side by side.

Anthony Munoz - Offensive line coach. One of the best to ever play the game.

Cris Carter - Wide receivers coach. A Buckeye and an amazingly talented All-Pro who was a precise route runner and tough across the middle. No-nonsense approach of "play the game, don't show off, and act like a professional".

Kevin Mack - Running backs coach. This guy was tough as nails and would play in excruciating pain at times. His performance in the Jets OT game in '86 was a defining moment of his career.

Romeo Crennel - Defensive coordinator. Romeo had the respect of his players, just not the right time for him to be a head coach. The Browns talked about bringing him back in some capacity. A true good guy and great at what he specifically did (defense coordinator), put him in his most comfortable environment and I believe we'd see some great results.

Howie Long - Defensive line coach. Bring him out of the Fox broadcast team and onto the field where he can be recognized for the great lineman he was by instilling that philosophy to a new generation of players. One of the greatest pass rushers of all time.

Clay Matthews - Linebackers coach. Need I say more? Having played 16 stellar seasons with the Browns he hardly ever missed a game and was a great student of the game as well.

Hanford Dixon - Cornerbacks coach. Hard-edged toughness would be the perfect ingredient missing in our most important position defensively.

That's my Christmas wish list for rebuilding the Browns. First off, they need to build lines on both the offensive and defensive fronts before any position players. I don't care if you have the best wideout, QB or running back available in the draft. If you can't protect them, make holes for them, rush the passer or stop the run, the entire team will be playing from behind. All the time. Look at all the teams who have plugged in mediocre to good backs/receivers into teams that had already established their lines and that will tell you the story.

Good luck Randy Lerner. You'll need it.


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I think that Bill Cowher is clearly the man that needs to turn the franchise around, but he probably would want the GM title, too.

IF Jeff Fisher gets fired from the Titans, he would be another great candidate. I think he is a very underated coach, but his decision to stick with Kerry Collins (0-6) over Vince Young (3-0) is not looking too well right now, though Young is getting an advantage of playing pressure free.

I believe that Mike Ditka has seen his day as a coach. The Saints fiasco proved that. Loved "Da Coach" here in Chicago, and will never forgive Mike McCaskey for firing him when he did, but he's better as a broadcaster now. Too much time elapsed.

Hey Paul, great insight, I never knew you were such a football fan. Hope you will consider joining our fantasy football league next year.

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Wow! Great response! I think Cowher would be a godsend for Cleveland (or any team). Gruden, too. Or, they should make a full-court press to get Mike Holmgren or Mike Shanahan or Brian Billick -- quality, winning coaches who also would want (and should get) GM responsibilities.

I feel for Brownies fans. Although I was a Packer fan growing up and now also love the Vikings (Brett Favre, the NFL's leading passer!), I remember some great Cleveland teams and players (Leroy Kelly, Paul Warfield,Greg Pruitt, Brian Sipe, even Bernie Kosar). It sucked when the original Browns fled Cleveland in 1996 for Baltimore. But the "expansion" Browns have been around for 10 years now, so there should have been progress by now. Don't you think one of the big problems is that Cleveland hasn't had a top-flight QB in ages? Couch, Holcomb, Garcia, Dilfer, Charlie Frye -- whoa! Derek Anderson just doesn't have it; Brady Quinn seems overwhelmed on every down. Who's coaching these guys?

So yeah, start at the top and then look for a new QB, a top RB to replace Jamal Lewis, a couple of receivers, a couple new linemen....At least the defense actually seems pretty good, right? It's a tall order, but the good news is, turnarounds can happen quickly in the NFL, with the right leaders in place (as Bill Parcells has proven in Miami).

Meanwhile, maybe watch some old clips of Jim Brown. I missed his era, but I love watching him bowl over defenses:

PS: Paul, Pat's right -- we've got to get you into our Raspberries Football League next year. It's pretty competitive and fun... And I know you'd get as many Browns as you'd want....

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