Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

It’s time for the Browns to make their move on a head coach

browns need dan quinnThe Cleveland Browns are entering the third week of their latest coaching search, one that has taxed the patience of many a Browns fan.

And while we’ve been on board with the team being patient and looking at a variety of candidates – owner Jimmy Haslam isn’t running out of any meetings to rashly hire a new coach the way Randy Lerner once did for Eric Mangini – it’s time for the team to end this. And Sunday’s NFC Championship Game showed us everything we needed to see:

The Browns need to hire Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their next head coach.*

It’s not just the numbers – the Seahawks were tops on defense in the NFL this year in takeaways, interceptions, points per game, passing yards and total yards – or a style of play that would transfer very nicely to the AFC North (even if Richard Sherman doesn’t come along with Quinn). Those are all important (and the thought of the Browns finally laying a real beating on Ben Roethlisberger is very appealing), but what sold us about Quinn is his willingness to adapt his system to fit the players, rather than the other way around. Look around the league and you’ll find that most successful coaches have that same trait, and it is one that has been lacking in the coaches we’ve seen on the sidelines at First Energy Stadium in recent years.

In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, staff writer Jim Trotter goes into detail about how Seattle head coach Pete Carroll challenged Quinn and the defense to find a way to get better this season. Quinn took up the challenge and had six of the team’s 10 returning players move to new positions with great results.

“They’re extremely simple in what they do,” St. Louis offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer says in the article. “They play two fronts, and the thing they do best is set the edges and contain everything in their base package. They make sure nothing gets outside them.”

The part that really stands out is Quinn’s desire to make sure his defense was at its best not only late in the game, but also late in the season. (You like that, don’t you Browns fan? Especially after this season.)

“You need rushers to finish the game,” Quinn is quoted as saying. “One of the things we focus on is, Can we get the quarterback off his spot? Can we get him outside (the pocket)? Sacks are awesome, but we also ask, How many hits did we get on the QB? We want to affect him.”

We’re ready for the Browns to start affecting quarterbacks, rather than just allowing them to pad their stats every Sunday afternoon. We are beyond ready.

“Dan is a terrific football coach, he’s got tremendous background in the game, he’s got great character about the game, he’s a great communicator, he’s tough, he knows what he wants,” Carroll said in published reports. “Look how well he transitioned to take this thing over so quickly and like I said, ‘Seamlessly.’ Getting along with people, working with people, and also managing the talent, all of that. He’s really well-equipped…”

The Browns can request a second interview with Quinn up until Sunday but may have to wait until after the Super Bowl if he doesn’t want the distraction. That’s fine by us. The team can still go about its business even if they can’t talk to Quinn until Feb. 3 or later. They can fill their time with interviewing other candidates if they want; the Browns have the only opening left in the NFL so they don’t have to worry about losing someone to another team.

We’ve been waiting for a good coach on this team ever since Art Modell fired Marty Schottenheimer after the 1988 season; what’s a couple more weeks of waiting?

Haslam has reportedly been very involved during this coaching search. He also said the team is committed to finding the right person to coach the Browns.

Quinn is the right person. Ignore the whispering in your ear from general manager Mike Lombardi about Josh McDaniels, it’s time to step up to the plate Jimmy and get this thing done.

*If the Browns decide to hire Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine instead of Quinn, we would be OK with that, too. While it is still possible that the Browns could screw this up – hello Josh McDaniels and, yes, we see you over there Adam Gase – the reality is that they may wind up choosing between Quinn and Pettine and no matter which way they go they would be right. How the heck is that possible?

(Photo courtesy of



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