The Cleveland Browns introduced their 5th Head Coach in 12 years earlier today when Pat Shurmur met the masses for the first time. As a relative unknown, both to fans and media, all eyes were on both Shurmur and Browns Commander-in-Chief Mike Holmgren to see just who would be calling the shots on the sidelines for the Cleveland Browns. When all was said and done, both Holmgren and Shurmur left little doubt about whose team it was and Pat Shurmur showed why Browns fans should be excited about his hiring.
When the question about Holmgren and Shurmur working together - and just how hands on the President would be with his new coach, Holmgren was his usual self -
"Pat and I talked about that this morning. As we speak our IT guys are creating a phone system where I'm actually going to call the plays. Here's how I'd like this to work. He is the head coach of this football team. I am the president. I've coached a long time. My door is always open. If he wants to come in and bounce things off me, I hope he does that. I know we're goiing to have a great relationshp. But it's his football team. I can't make that any more clear."
There was little doubting Holmgren's final point. This IS Pat Shurmur's team. What better asset for a first time head coach to have, however, than someone like Mike Holmgren right down the hall to talk to?
To his credit, Shurmur seems ready to call upon Holmgren when needed:
"I don't know everything. I do think I'm smart enough when there's a problem to go find the resource. In this building, we have a man who's been to three Super Bowls. It would be silly for me to not ask Coach Holmgren what he thinks about various issues from time to time. I intend to use those resources."
The rest of Shurmur's comments were confident and to the point. There is still plenty to work through - coordinators for instance, but Shurmur made it clear that he will call the plays.
"Yes, initially I will start out by calling the plays. That really is the fun part."
And of his offense, Shurmur is equally sure:
I think the running game is very important. Everything starts up front. You need to have a gritty offensive line to block the run and protect the passer. From that standpoint, the next most important guy is the quarterback, how he plays and how efficient he is. I think it's very important we run the ball, but in the NFl you have to be able to efficiently and explosively throw the ball. That's soomething we have to get done.
It is easy for Browns fans to be skeptical, but the plan is now in place for the Browns to succeed. They have an unquestioned leader at the top in Mike Holmgren. They have an experienced personnel man in Tom Heckert at GM and now a Head Coach that knows both men, and knows the type of team they want the Browns to be. For better or worse, the Browns will win or lose with solid men running the team - men that are completely on the same page.
Chances are, like the press conference today, the Browns are on their way to winning.