Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Rams, The Browns, Pat Shurmur and Josh McDaniels

If you are tracking the comings and goings of coaches in this early off-season {for teams not in the playoffs} you may be aware that Pat Shurmur is looking like the likely HC of the Cleveland Browns. The Dawg Pound doesn't seem to thrilled about it. I wish I could give you guys some cold comfort, but it would sound more like a cold slap.

Sheeesh... It used to be that only a Super Bowl winning OC/DC, or a national championship College Coach would qualify as a new HC in the NFL. That's how Coach Spags got his job. Whatever happened to that high-achievement requirement?

I fully understand why Mike Holmgren would be enamored with Shurmur's offensive game plan. It is the closest thing to Bill Walsh's original system currently flying in the NFL. Holmgren and Shurmur would be of one mind on many subjects. They are clearly from the same school of thought. Still... don't you consider this a reach, Mike?

Readers of this blog will know that I am thrilled to be done with Shurmur. I've been after his scalp for some time. I didn't get it, but this is next best thing to being there. I have never been a fan of the WCO. I like Gillman-Coryell. It's the replacement part of the equation that bothers me.

Unless you track the Rams, you probably won't know that the name Josh McDaniels is being circulated as the front-runner in the Rams' quest for a new OC. These are words that hit like a steel ax handle to the face. Do you want to talk about a massive disturbance in the force as if billions of souls suddenly cried out in terror and were silenced?

Josh McDaniels has been on my shit-list for some two years now. Recently he became a figure of some ambivalence.

How do I hate him? Let me count the ways. I hate the coaching tree he comes from. Bellichick has no coaching tree. He has a twig of failures. McDaniels replaced Shanahan. That in itself is a bad thing. He did an all-out systematic demolition job on the Denver Broncos, leaving the team in ruins. He traded away my favorite passing combo in Cutler-Marshall. He fired a great defensive coordinator in Dick Nolan for no better reason than the fact that he desired a "Patriot way" guy on his staff.

How do I love the guy? Well... love is a very strong word that really shouldn't... I let McDaniels off the hook (slightly) when he drafted Tim Tebow. Any guy who likes Tebow as a QB can't be all bad. Not all bad, but 90% bad. Well... maybe not 90%... 85%. McDaniels also loves the Spread offense, which happens to be a particular passion of mine. This also happens to be Sam Bradford's strong point. Also, when push comes to shove, you must admit that the little bastard calls a mean game. There is a quirky play-calling genius locked in there somewhere.

You are reading the blog of a man who is literally ripped to shreds at the moment. I am eaten up wih internal controversy.

On the one hand, I don't want any infection of the Patriot-way virus near my team. This absolute bullshit hasn't worked for anyone, anywhere other than Bellichick in New England. It has destroyed much more than it has created. I don't want a failed coach off the Bellichick coaching twig to enter our staff. I don't want the little bastard to subvert Coach Spagnuolo's position as HC either.

On the other hand, this is an opportunity for my Rams to move to the Spread offense. That's something I've been advocating for more than a year now. This is a way to make Sam more productive. This is a way to introduce aggressive play-calling back into our team's repertoire. I have some confidence that McDaniels would not call stupid plays in key situations, or put our offense to sleep with a conservative running game when we need to score and put it away.

They often say that you *_DO_* want to be the man who first a guy immediately after he gets fired. Usually, once a coach's Man-Card has been revoked, he gets up off the carpet fighting twice as hard as he did before. This means you get his very best shot. Witness the job Linehan has done in Detroit for good evidence. A wiser, double-motivated McDaniels could be good for us.

It may be GM Billy Devaney is considering a move to the spread, but he is unwilling to trust a disgraced college coach like Mike Leach with the job. I think this unfortunate, because Leach is a legit offensive genius. At the same time, I can understand why Devaney would gravitate to a version of the Spread that has been proven effective inside the NFL. This case does have some real merit.

Ultimately, I am very ambivalent about all of this.