Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Browns get Chilly with it

The Cleveland Browns finally filled the offensive coordinator position on Friday, hiring Brad Childress to fill out the coaching staff.

So what are the Browns getting here?

Childress brings value to the position in that he’s experienced in the West Coast offense. He gives the Browns another voice immersed in the language of the offense and someone who should have no problem building on the knowledge base put in place during Pat Shurmur’s first year as head coach.

Childress also brings experience as a head coach, giving Shurmur a third person (along with defensive coordinator Dick Jauron and senior defensive assistant Ray Rhodes) to help Shurmur accelerate his learning curve as he heads into his second year on the job.

Childress also comes from a winning culture, which is something we have sorely been missing in Cleveland. Childress was offensive coordinator from 2002-05 in Philadelphia when the Eagles went to three consecutive NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl.

He also built the Vikings over his first four years as head coach, taking the team from 6-10 in 2006 to a 12-4 record in 2009 – the second most wins in one season in franchise history. The Vikings won consecutive divisional titles in 2008 and 2009.

The negatives are that Childress didn’t call the plays in Philadelphia (head coach Andy Reid handled those duties) and the one year he did call plays in Minnesota, the Vikings ranked 23rd in yards and 26th in points scored.

While Reid called the plays in Philadelphia, that doesn’t mean that Childress didn’t have input during the week or on Sundays.

“(Pat and Brad) can bounce things off of each other,” Reid told The Plain Dealer. “That’s what Brad did here with me, and that’s what Pat did here with me. So, whether I was calling the plays or they were calling the plays, we had an open communication where we could talk and make the best of whatever situation there was.

“They were a great combo for me here, and we sure won a lot of games with those two at the helm of my offense here, and so I wouldn’t expect anything different. They work very well together, and it’s a great fit. The Cleveland Browns are getting a great person, No. 1, and a tremendous football coach. He’s got a great football mind, and he has a great relationship with Pat. It’s a win-win all the way around.”

Childress also received some criticism at the end of his tenure in Minnesota for having problems in the locker room. But those problems appeared to primarily revolve around Brett Favre and Randy Moss, two of the biggest me-first players in the history of the NFL. Childress certainly was the first coach to have trouble with those particular players.

While the offenses that Childress had a hand in controlling were ranked in the bottom half of the NFL five times in his eight years (2002 to 2009), the defenses on those same teams were ranked in the top 10 five times.

It’s possible that his offenses didn’t have to be that strong because they had a solid defense to fall back on. Why get to risky on offense when your defense is so solid?

It is possible, too, that the hiring of Childress signals the direction that general manager Tom Heckert may look in the upcoming draft. With three picks in the top 37 selections, Heckert can go a long way in his continued efforts to rebuild the Browns defense into one that can bring the pain on opposing offenses.

If the Browns can have a solid defense, then all Childress and Shurmur need to do is bring the offense up to an average level and the Browns will be on to something.

Childress may not be the sexy pick that some fans wanted – although we rarely hear the complainers say who they do want, it’s all about who they don’t want – but his hiring is very similar to when the Browns hired Jauron last season. And in one year, Jauron has the defense moving in the right direction (at least the pass defense).

Here’s hoping Childress can do the same trick for the offense – and quick.

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One thought on “Browns get Chilly with it

  1. I love the move of Childress for many of the reasons you mentioned. Also I'm happier having Childress who probably won't be getting HC opportunities any time soon.

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