If Bill O’Brien chooses Browns over Texans, he’s the wrong guy.

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O’Brien would be nothing but a mercenary fool if he takes the Browns job over the Texans.

While listening to the same old sorry horseshit from Banner/Haslam in the background I decided to take a look forward to one of the more preposterous rumors currently floating:

Bill O’Brien as the possible next head coach of the Browns.  ??!!

This rumor persists in spite of the reporting that he is the top candidate for the Houston Texans’ job.  To this I say the coach who would choose the Browns over the Texans should be disqualified for either being stupid or blindly mercenary.

Arian_Foster_leaps

Arian Foster: not walking into the Browns’ training camp next year.

Leaving aside the foolishness of signing on to work for a demonstrably untrustworthy boss; an organization where you can only be sure that no one has your back… leaving aside the absurdity that a quality coach would not allow himself to be bought with a guaranteed contract as quality coaches are, by definition, more interested in building legacies and achievements… leaving aside the mind-bending idea that a coach in demand would willingly come to a cold city in decline to work for a control-freak CEO and an absentee/possibly-soon-to-be-criminally-indicted owner…

Leaving all that aside:  look at the talent situation in Houston and tell me they’re not next year’s Chiefs.  Just as last year’s Chiefs had QB turmoil plus injuries to many key players1, so too this year’s Texans went from being consensus division champs to the #1 pick in the draft.

Next year’s Texans will welcome back:  Owen Daniels, Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, and Johnathan Joseph.  They get to choose their favorite QB in the draft (rumored to be Blake Bortles on their board).  And then they get to plug holes at guard (Cyril Richardson?), d-tackle (Tuitt?), and/or ILB (Skov in the third?)2.

Repeat:  the 2-14 Texans have four Pro-Bowlers coming back (actually five if you include Matt Schaub who actually was Pro-Bowl last year).  So by no fault of their own, they were worst and now they will add their view of the top QB in a QB draft.

They’re the 1997 San Antonio Spurs with injured David Robinson leading to Tim Duncan.

Don’t buy it?  Here, I did a powerpoint slide for you on this.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 12.40.53 PM

Click to enlarge.

If you’re a good head coach and in demand, wouldn’t you rather be the 2014 version of Andy Reid than say, I don’t know, the 2014 version of Rob Chudzinski?

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I wanted to get this up now.  I’m working on the Browns’ counterpart to the Texans slide above; will update post in a couple hours.  Though I haven’t started it, I’m roughly 100% certain the Browns’ prospective roster would look not just worse than the Texans’ but worse than the Browns depth chart prior to Banner taking over.

Ok here’s the Browns’ starting lineup from Ourlads.  The difference is clear.  Where the Texans have holes, they have injured all-pros coming back to fill the holes.  Where the Browns have holes, if they’re cheap (Gipson, Skrine) they’ll be back.  Where the Browns do not have holes, if they’re expensive (Mack, Ward) they won’t be back.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 2.56.52 PM

A train wreck for the next coach.
Added bonus: you have to show improvement over the four wins that got Chud fired this year.

  1. Bowe, Charles, Flowers, Hall, Jackson, Lilja, Albert, Moeaki, Cassel, Baldwin all missed starts for the Chiefs in 2012. [back]
  2. Cushing-Skov with Brooks Reed behind them at ILB?  Now _that’s_ an aggressive-attacking interior linebacking crew. [back]
  • Pingback: The worst team in pro football. : Kanick()

  • mgbode

    WFNY comments broken, so continue discussion here:

    we wouldn’t need to give malzahn that much ($50mil you suggested), but I would like him way better than Sumlin (less than Briles honestly but they are close).

    there is no Bridgewater. Houston isn’t giving him up as much as I want them to make the plunge with Cutler and auction the pick. we have to hope Mariota has a change of heart now that he is healthy.

    I really hope it’s not Josh McDuck as HC. what the heck would the point be there?

    ==================================

    also, Seattle, SF, GB, Philly, and Carolina in the stronger NFC all playing pretty much college-style offenses this year (different ones obviously). it does make some sense (still hate firing Chud after 1 year).

    • i am reading that the texans like bortles better anyway.

      and didn’t the rams demonstrate auctioning off top picks to QB-starved, losing-is-unacceptable mouthing owners is the exact opposite of foolish? (MICHAEL BROCKERS + JANORIS JENKINS + ISAIAH PEAD + ALEC OGLETREE + STEDMAN BAILEY + 2014 2ND OVERALL PICK).

      anyway, my comment is a tongue-in-cheek crowd-pleasing move, not my move. right now, top-of-head: my move would be mike evans or this guy then see what QBs are left end of first beginning of second. i don’t see any andrew lucks in the draft but i see a lot of kirk cousinses.

  • zarathustra

    “Next year’s Texans will welcome back: Owen Daniels, Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, and Johnathan Joseph. They get to choose their favorite QB in the draft (rumored to be Blake Bortles on their board). And then they get to plug holes at guard (Cyril Richardson?), d-tackle (Tuitt?), and/or ILB (Skov in the third?)”

    Owen Daniels is a very nice player, but just missed 11 games and will turn 32 next season. Advantage: Jordan Cameron
    Arian Foster is a tremendous back, but is coming off of a major injury and has a lot of miles on him. Moreover, I think it fair to at least ask how many of his yards were the product of the run blocking scheme that presumably left with Kubiak.
    Brian Cushing has played 12 games over the past 2 years. Not sure that a prospective coach should be banking on him.
    J. Joseph will be 30 next season. Would you take him over joe Haden?
    Having the first pick in the draft is certainly an advantage, but not as much if you are not so sure that there is a clear cut qb there. And there is decidedly not this year.
    It will be difficult to fill holes when you are limited by not having much cap space. The browns have a lot to go along with there 10 draft picks.
    When you are making draft picks for the texans to fill holes what do you think the probabilities are of them drafting a single one of those players that you already have pencilled in for them? I will even wager that they may use draft picks on areas outside of what you classify as needs.

    On a side note: I very sincerely hope you spend some time this year pre-draft on all of the teams. Let’s see how many teams act similar/dissimilar to the browns re:drafting need.

    • it’s fine that cameron is better than daniel and yes haden is a better CB than joseph though it is very much unclear whether he’ll be in cleveland past next year. post injury foster better than willis magahee? yeah probably. cushing too was injured; even so he provides more upside than DQ and robertson.

      but you’re [deliberately] missing the point which are:

      1. the texans have viable-proven star players coming back while the browns ‘stars’ -such as they are- are leaving.
      2. the texans in the aggregate show a better team roster which would be expected to compete for the playoffs next year.

      congrats to you if you predicted their 2-14 season. most people thought they’d win their division and by a wide margin. (here’s 12 espn pre-season predictions. do i even need to tell you that all twelve picked the texans to win the AFCS?)

      the roster that inspired those predictions is largely intact and will be adding the best player in CFB to that roster. hence, the texans roster offers a prospective head coach the rare opportunity to not just succeed but excel in the first year. so i’m still locked in that it’s a no-brainer to pick the texans opp over the browns.

      • zarathustra

        “post injury foster better than willis magahee? yeah”
        Yep. I am the one (deliberately) missing the point.

  • zarathustra

    So if he goes to the texans he is a good hire and this validates everything you said about these no good rotten villains in berea all along. If he comes to the browns he is dumb and validates everything you have said about these no good rotten villains in berea all along. It is almost like there is a pre-existing narrative you are working with here and you have no intention of entertaining any possibilities outside of this (in my opinion) very narrow framework.

    • You frame this very binary and if it were, this post would be 50 words and probably without graphics.

      But yes, just as Mike Holmgren came to town for the money, not for the opportunity, a coach who would pass up a probable playoff roster in Houston for the dysfunctional owner/CEO combo combined with a rat’s nest of a roster and locker room discord would be, by definition, wholly mercenary.

      • zarathustra

        I would counter that you established the binary framework here, but I will happily table that as arguing it would be silly.
        You call this a “rat’s nest of a roster,” but you picked them to go into Cincinnati in November to take control of the division. You have posted before several times about the wealth of talent bequeathed to these no-good jerks. I understand you disliked every single decision they have made with the roster this year, but not sure where “rat’s nest” is coming from.
        As to the locker room discord, fair enough. But I’m not sure how you could feel that great about the state of a locker room that finished like they did down the stretch. (Just to clarify on this I am not an anti-chud guy. I don’t think it was particularly fair for him to be fired for several reasons. However, the one thing I have been concerned about for several weeks is the squandering of a promising start with the reinforcement of a losing culture to a locker room with a tremendous institutional memory for losing. The last two weeks we saw a team that quit. That does not reflect well on the head coach. The best nfl teams deal with all kinds of adversity. It is on the coach to manage that regardless of circumstances through week 17. If he cannot do that it is legitimate to question whether you hired the right guy.)

        • 1. the sad state of the AFCN has nothing to do with the construction of the browns roster.

          2. the rat’s nest referred to is the prospective 2014 roster where we’re looking at going from six holes (CB2, FS, ILB, OG, TE, FB) to ten (CB2, SS, FS, ILB, ILB, OG, C, WR2, QB, RB).

          the idea that a head coach by himself determines a W-L is crap but that’s what banner/haslam are trying to sell. some (many?) buy it.

          https://twitter.com/RyInCBus/status/417767465267888129

          i don’t.

          • bupalos

            >>>the idea that a head coach by himself determines a W-L is crap but that’s what banner/haslam are trying to sell. >>>>

            They are not trying to sell that at all. If you listened to the conference, there was one and only one criteria cited over and over– In their estimation, instead of improving during the course of the year, the team was regressing. And that this is particularly troubling for a young team.

            I find it hard to argue. Especially considering the fact that there were near 0 impact injuries past game 5, while nearly all the teams we played had significant injury challenges. And we had a bolt out of the blue in the form of Gordon.

            I’m not sure I see the regression in the stark terms Banner wants to set it because in some games it was just a bunch of stuff that happened. But no one can say that this team improved a bit from the 1st quarter of the season to the last, by no means. While the trend in games was to play 3 solid and collapse in the 4th, the trend in the season was to play the first solid and stagnate or collapse the rest of the way.

          • zarathustra

            1.) The AFC north only had one losing team this year. They certainly weren’t the best division this year, but they were not even close to the worst.
            2.) Call me crazy, but I would actually you know like to see the roster in 2014 before I go on a rampage about perceived holes. Forgive me, but I have to believe that if you just take a step back for a moment and look at your reasoning here you will see the flaw. You are creating new holes through speculative moves (players leaving) and then stop. Then there are no speculative moves to fill any holes. No free agency. No draft picks.

          • there’s plenty of bloggers and media outlets who would be willing to tell you what they would have done after the season is over.

            i find that dull.

            it’s much more interesting and relevant to discuss what may happen and then to check your record after. i’m frankly pretty proud of my record on this.

            want me to own one? ok, i had tight end as a hole. didn’t see jordan cameron coming.

            but i saw the failure to address holes as a problem and said so at the time and consistently and say it with me zara: I WAS RIGHT.

            hell my second or third post ever was a useful foreshadowing of what joe banner is about. maybe some hyperbole using brian griffin in the the ‘Committment to Non-Excellence” piece, but that was April and you could see what was coming unless you’re purposely denying reality.

          • “You are creating new holes through speculative moves (players leaving) and then stop. Then there are no speculative moves to fill any holes. No free agency. No draft picks.”

            Ok. They draft Clowney. Because you can’t have too many draft picks. Or they give the two draft picks from last years draft to move to take Manziel. And they’ll find the Tony-Pashos-est center possible to fill that hole.

            I’m sure I’ll have a ‘what holes I would plug’ piece out in the coming months. And after/during the fact some readers (YOU!) will be disparaging toward the Kanick Plan. But no doubt I’ll put my opinions forward and it’s open to evaluation after the fact.

            The miss on your side seems to be that while you’re willing to hold my pretend bloviation accountable, you won’t do the same with Berea.

  • bupalos

    This is half sensible and half nonsense. The “have your back” stuff is the nonsense. No one has anyone’s back in this business, and no one expects anyone to. The only thing that “has your back” as a coach, from Bellichick and Jim Harbaugh on down is the ability to win.

    For this reason, the best coaches will pick the best rosters, so you’re right to go that route. And their control of those rosters figures into it too, so perhaps a strike there unless the candidate happens to love Banardi. (Which O’Brien might.)

    So I’m interested to see the roster comparison, and probably contracts ought to go into that too, because while it looks good on paper to say “they are getting these guys back,” the reason those guys were gone in the first place was injury, and the reason they are injured is probably that they are old and falling apart. Big injury-prone money on a salary-constricted team might be the #1 red light for a smart candidate.

    • Bluedog93

      The NFL may be dog-eat-dog, but the Browns are hyena-devour-sibling-in-utero. Any head coaching candidate would have to look at the way the Browns were run this year and conclude that any other opportunity, including Washington, provides more stability and support, even if it’s only NFL-level stability and support.

      • NeedsFoodBadly

        yeah, I agree with that. I’ve seen a few comments from national journalists that are very thinly veiled jabs directed towards Lombardi, referencing how he leaks nasty stuff and does his business in a back alley way. It’s not a good look for the team, for sure.

        • Bluedog93

          And exhibit A may have been the way Chud was fired yesterday. What purpose did the leaking of the firing the morning of the Steelers game serve, other than to distract from the lack of talent on the field? There seem to be a lot of people who think that the rumors started with Lombardi leaking to favored media people — for what purpose?

          • NeedsFoodBadly

            Sometimes they leak to curry favors with journalists, in a “you scratch my back” sorta way. By allowing a journalist to break a big story, they might be able to gain favorable coverage or the option to squelch an unfavorable story in the future.

            Sometimes they do it to poison the pool for someone they don’t like, a la (allegedly) Schiano and Freeman.

            Lombardi has a rep for conducting his business in this way and seemingly refuses to address the media in person anymore, so maybe this is just how he communicates now. It’s shady, in any event.

    • “No one has anyone’s back in this business, and no one expects anyone to.”

      That’s just not true. We can make fun of Mike Brown and call the continuity with Marvin Lewis (+Gruden +Zimmer) a product of his cheapness. But maybe, just maybe, he’s an old-school honorable person who conducts his business ethically and who believes in stuff like golden rule. Know you’re cynical about the business world but it’s really not that different than life and fostering good inter-personal relationships with employees is sound management practice just as it is in life. Not that hard really.

      And while there are plenty of examples of cut-throat types in the NFL, Giant-Mara, Steelers-Rooney, Packers thrive. Sure they’re subject to the cyclical nature of roster churn but compare them to the Woody Johnson Jets or the Dan Snyder Skins or the senile-Al-Davis Raiders and a template for success emerges.

      Watch Shad Khan in Jax. He’ll build something because he’s not a jerk and so people will want to work for him. I can’t back this up, it’s gut feel. From what I seen out of Khan, he has integrity. From what I’ve seen from Haslam, he doesn’t.

      Put it this way, if you could work for Mara/Reese or Haslam/Banner and the dollars are the same, is it not a no-brainer decision?

      • zarathustra

        Do you think mike malarkey finds shad khan to be a man of integrity? What is the difference between his treatment in jax and chud’s here?

        • don’t know, didn’t watch the jags.

          watched the browns all year. they played hard for chud; he got the most out what he was given; meanwhile banner collected three draft picks and cap space for next year. so the dysfunctional/sleazy/scapegoating part is that banner didn’t do much to win this year and then blamed chud.

          [to quote andy dufresne: i feel i’ve been very clear on this point.]

          if khan fired mularkey under the same circumstances, i’d retract my comment. but my comment was simply i like what i’ve seen of him.

          you ever just get a vibe from someone? khan gives a good/positive vibe. haslam says ‘right?’ and ‘candidly’ a lot; one is aggressive the other is a freudian tell.

          • zarathustra

            “if khan fired mularkey under the same circumstances, i’d retract my comment. but my comment was simply i like what i’ve seen of him.”
            Mike malarkey was hired by khan and fired with one calendar year so there is that.
            Funny you should mention the jags however. I liked what I saw as well. With an inferior roster to the browns they were the polar opposite. They got better down the stretch. They had every reason to quit but didn’t.
            So yes, please, let’s look at the jags.

          • bupalos

            This. Banner very specifically mentioned comparing Chud to the rest of his class, and you know Bradley is sticking prominently in their minds there.

          • bupalos

            >>>so the dysfunctional/sleazy/scapegoating part is that banner didn’t do much to win this year and then blamed chud.>>>

            You have been very clear on this point, but you’re also putting some words in their mouth and failing to address the ones that actually came out on their own; Chud was not fired for not winning more. Chud was fired for not improving through the year but regressing. He was fired for a bad trajectory. Because you don’t give a bad trajectory more time.

            The problem with your take as I see it is that you are too much under the influence of your previous off-season take, which is that the FO was trying to tank and quit and had left a team with so many gaping holes it was the equivalent of 2008 or something. You are even still willing to cast the TR trade into that shape despite clearly understanding and having voiced early on the idea that TR is worthless. Forgotten in your rush back to the Kanicki’s unified theory of holes is that the play of this team early in the year, particularly the play of the defense, often came near championship quality. Weeden undermined that, but it’s the reality. Somehow with all those holes they pretty well dominated Cincinatti and outplayed Baltimore except again for that one hole. They went into the second Cinci game with a chance to seize control of the division, and they lost it, badly — practically NONE of it determined by your supposed holes, practically ALL of it determined by by bad prep and sloppy play. And it blew the life out of this team, as players pretty much openly said.

            How many times did this team of holes lead at halftime? 4th quarter? How many times did this team of holes win the down-to-down stat battle and lose the game anyway? And that’s all somehow Chud getting the most out of them, but the FO undermining him so they can have scapegoats or something. Can you really cite any one thing Chud did well besides supposedly keeping his players motivated and playing hard enough to lose every single game in the second half including Jacksonville at home? In other words, keeping them playing hard enough to be the worst team in the league?

            The talent on this team is not anywhere close to worst in the league. The performance is. And it didn’t start that way, and it hasn’t been determined by your supposed holes. It hasn’t been QB pressure, it hasn’t been undersized CB’s, it hasn’t been Kruger’s contract, it hasn’t been the lack of Oggletree and One-Year-Grimes. It’s been a systemic regression from playing up to potential to playing far below it, with a dash of bad game management and inattention to detail thrown in.

            You’re going to wander in this wilderness until you wake up and realize that the 2013 Browns were not even close to being as “holey” as you’ve assumed. The defensive backfield is decent overall, the offensive line is decent, the defensive line is an actual weapon, linebackers sub-par but enh, WR feast and famine, RB a hole that doesn’t matter much. When you stack player for player against other teams they are upper middle of the pack except for one position.

      • Chris Mc

        The Mike Brown / Marv Lewis relationship is a unique one. Mike Brown refuses to fire a coach mid contract, and Marv Lewis pulls a playoff season out of his, well, back pocket every time he’s in a contract year, earning an extension from Brown.

  • Jimmy Weinland

    I mean, you’re right, but Andre Johnson will be 33 next year (Josh Gordon will be 23), Johnathan Joseph will be 30 next season (Joe Haden will be 25), Owen Daniels is 31 turning 32 (Jordan Cameron will be 26). Is Arian Foster breaking down? He’ll be 28 next season. Thats a lot of age at their skill positions to work their new QB through, assuming they have less cap space than the browns too. You could argue Browns are closer than implied.

    • So you’re saying the Browns roster is better?

      Ok, let me get started on the Browns’ version of the chart above.

      • Chris Mc

        I just wanted to add that I think the pro-bowler stats are a little flawed. I’m not sure you can talk about replacing Schaub in one sentence, then count him as a pro-bowler in the next. He’s washed up. As was mentioned above, the others listed are getting football-old.

        The Browns could be next year’s KC, if they hire a competent head coach and actually have a productive draft. And yes, I understand the implications of what I just typed.

        • I don’t count him as a pro-bowler. I said, ‘if you want to count him as a pro-bowler.’ I mean, if haven’t even mentioned the other probowler Banner let go, Phil Dawson.

          Please check the Browns roster and let me know the if there’s a parallel to the Chiefs injuries to “Bowe, Charles, Flowers, Hall, Jackson, Lilja, Albert, Moeaki, Cassel, Baldwin.” From my perspective, it’s seems probable that they’re going the opposite direction (Mack, Ward leaving).

          • Chris Mc

            Excellent points. I agree with all of this. In fact, I’ll go one further and say that Haslam will now probably have to vastly overpay just to land someone comparable to Chud.

  • jeff

    I mean, this is exactly what Chip Kelly was thinking when he was rumored to be the Browns’ top choice last year, right? Way better landing spot in Philly, for so many reasons.

    Ugh.

    • maxfnmloans

      and that was when most of us (myself included) thought Trent Richardson could be in the same ballpark as LeSean McCoy

      • bupalos

        groan.

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