After the announcement of head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert being fired on Monday, we had over 1,300 comments discussing the decision and potential candidates who could fill either position. Since that thread was getting long, you can treat this as Part II, or an open discussion of sorts, about the team's pending search.
Also, here is a bullet point summary to get everyone caught up on where things currently stand for the Browns:
Shurmur & Heckert Fired: The firings of Shurmur and Heckert were announced by owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner during a press conference Monday morning. The transcript of that conference can be found here in its entirety.
Coach First, GM Second: The most important point to take out of Haslam and Banner's press conference is that they will hire a head coach first. The general manager (or director of player personnel) will be hired second. The purpose of this is that they don't want to restrict their pool of potential head coaches. Also, it sounds like Banner prefers having a head coach who has a decent amount of power and strong leadership qualities.
Scouting Department Retained: The entire scout staff for the Browns will be retained, which seems like common practice when a coaching change happens since the draft comes up right away. If those guys' jobs end, it probably wouldn't be until after the draft.
Status of the Browns' Assistant Coaches: No other changes have been made regarding the Browns' assistant coaches. Everyone is free to interview elsewhere if they so choose to, but the new head coach will make the decision as to which assistant coaches remain on board.
Confirmed Head Coaching Interviews: The following people are reported to have interviews scheduled with the Browns for the head coaching vacancy:
- Chip Kelly, Oregon Head Coach: Right now, Kelly seems to be the Browns' top candidate. Reports are that both Haslam and Banner are headed to Arizona to meet with Kelly after the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday. Kelly also has interviews lined up with Buffalo and Philadelphia, according to reports.
Dirk Koetter, Falcons Offensive Coordinator:Our Falcons' affiliate says that Koetter has "loosened the reins on Matt Ryan, letting him run the no-huddle and pick his spots without trying to assert too much control over the offense." He also notes that Koetter has called too many runs with Michael Turner up the middle, but overall, Atlanta's offense has had some more creativity with him on board. Koetter will interview with Cleveland, Kansas City, and Philadelphia.
UPDATE (1/2/13): Koetter has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Falcons.
- Doug Marrone, Syracuse Head Coach: This is a name that came out of no where after the season ended, but he has interviews lined up with Cleveland and Buffalo. He was the Saints' offensive coordinator for three years from 2006 to 2008, where he helped find plenty of weapons in an offense captained by Drew Brees.
- Ray Horton, Cardinals Defensive Coordinator: There is one reason that Arizona had five wins this year, and that is the team's defense. While they did suffer a big-time blowout against the Seahawks (58-0), it is incredible that the defense stayed as motivated as they did for so long given the worst quarterback situation in NFL history that Arizona had. Horton has been a hot candidate for a couple of years and it sounds like he'll interview with Cleveland, Buffalo, and Arizona. Horton also fulfills the league's requirement to interview a minority candidate.
Other Potential Head Coaching Names: Another name the Browns could be considering is Penn State's Bill O'Brien. Nick Saban has stated that he won't leave the college ranks, but you still never know. Josh McDaniels basically confirmed that he'll be staying on with the Patriots. Three names I am personally interested in include the Colts' Bruce Arians, the Broncos' Mike McCoy, and the Redskins' Kyle Shanahan.
Heckert & Shurmur in Arizona? There are rumors that Andy Reid could be headed to Arizona, where he will bring Tom Heckert with him as the GM. In that case, Pat Shurmur or Brad Childress could also join the staff. Our full story on it is here; also, Mike Holmgren is reportedly willing to listen to coaching offers.
Feel free to continue the open discussion of these candidates in the comments section below. I will update this post with any new information that comes along.