Cleveland Browns: If Pat Shurmur Is Fired as Head Coach, Who Will Replace Him?

Michael W. Youngman@@MWYoungmanContributor IIINovember 6, 2012

Oct 28, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur during a game against the San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

As the bye week descends upon the Cleveland Browns in Week 10, the winds of change are beginning to swirl around Berea. In Week 9’s 10-point loss to the Baltimore Ravens, one thing stood out more than anything else: Pat Shurmur’s play-calling at several points was simply awful.

And this isn’t the first time Shurmur’s play-calling and decision-making have come into question not just this season, but since he arrived in Cleveland.

At this point, Shurmur has a 6-19 record as a head coach and 1-9 within the AFC North. Many fans are calling for the head coach's head on a pike. Many op eds around the city and around the league have speculated that new owner Jimmy Haslam may make a change during this bye week. Others are not expecting a change until the end of the season.

But the not-so-surprising thing is there has been virtually nothing written endorsing Shurmur as the future coach of this franchise past this season. 

So, if Shumur's days are numbered, who do you want coaching the Cleveland Browns? There are several possibilities at this point, but here are some interesting possibilities that new owner Jimmy Haslam could be looking at.

First, let us consider the possibility of one of the Browns' existing assistants becoming head coach.

In that scenario, you have either defensive coordinator Dick Jauron or offensive coordinator Brad Childress. Both have previous NFL head coaching experience and either would offer the team some form of stability going forward, something which Haslam has stressed as his vision for Cleveland going into the future. Then there are three potential not-so “long-shot” possibilities that could play out, giving the Browns an entirely new head coach from outside the organization.

In any potential head coach vacancy, the first name that is always raised is former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.

Cowher, of course, had both his playing and coaching career in Cleveland. He is an experienced coach with a Super Bowl ring and is always in the conversation when a coaching change is possible. However, this would not likely be the opportunity that would get Cowher out from behind the CBS commentary desk. But at the very least, you must consider it a long-shot possibility for two reasons.

First is his connection to Cleveland both as the previously mentioned coaching and playing careers. Second would be his Pittsburgh connection with new team owner Jimmy Haslam, who spent four years as a minority Steelers shareholder with the Rooney family, and still remains close to Cowher.

But if this is your dream choice for your Brownies, then make sure you don’t wake up, because this scenario will most likely happen only in your dreams.

With this next choice there are a lot of “ifs," but it could play out. If the Eagles' season collapses like it seems to be, it could spell the end of Andy Reid's 14-year career as the Eagles head coach. There are more than a few reasons that Reid could land in Cleveland.

New team president Joe Banner and current GM Tom Heckert have close ties to Andy Reid due to their time together in Philadelphia. Another positive for Reid is the fact that former team president Mike Holmgren and Pat Shurmur have spent the past two years implementing the West Coast offense, which is a staple of an Andy Reid offense.

With a new owner and some serious talent already with the team, the Browns could be a very attractive place for Reid to go if the Eagles do not turn things around in 2012.

Finally, we come to my “shocker” pick. With the NFL’s decision in “voiding” the remainder of Sean Payton’s contract in New Orleans, Payton could be a free agent and will be highly sought after.

Typically, there are usually five to nine teams searching for a new head coach at the end of a given season, which puts Sean Payton at the top of those teams’ short lists, including Jimmy Haslam’s Cleveland Browns.

Once again, with talent already in place such as Trent Richardson, Josh Gordon, D’Qwell Jackson and Joe Haden in Cleveland and a likely high draft pick, the Browns could be a sweet spot to go for any potential candidate.

Other teams that could be in the hunt along with Cleveland include the Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals and possibly the Dallas Cowboys. If you were one of these three coaches, where would you go?

Let us know.