Oh Browns. Could you have done anything more Cleveland Brownesqe than fire your “hand picked’ head coach after less than twelve months on the job, and NOT have any idea who your replacement would be? Could there be a better sign of dysfunction and failure than this? We’re left here in January, coach-less, and the store where you go to buy Head Coaches is starting to look like a Best Buy at 6 pm on Black Friday. The shelves are getting bare, and before much longer you’re going to have to just chalk it and pay full price for a less model. I read somewhere that the Browns remaining list of candidates looks like a yard sale on its last day. That’s pretty accurate at this point.
As the Browns continue their search for their next “THE GUY” who they will assure us is a visionary leader who will lead our beloved franchise back from decades of irrelevance and painful to endure seasons, the list of candidates is getting pretty thin, and frankly pretty weak. With fans whipping themselves in a frenzy for the beloved name of Jim Tressel to be named as a coaching interviewee, the list of candidates the Browns are actually going to, or will probably interview is going to look mighty bleak to Browns fans by comparison.
I try and give you realistic perspectives on things. So I’m going to tell you, point blank, I don’t think there is a chance in hell that Jim Tressel will be your next head coach. I don’t think the Browns are even going to extend an interview offer to him. We’ve got to get past the “If it works at Ohio State it MUST work in Cleveland” thing anyhow. Kenny Guiton isn’t a viable QB option, nor Braxton Miller, nor Pryor or any other Buckeye that we loved. Ohio State is a different animal than the Browns. We’ve got to stop the madness, because really, we’re trying to mix oil with water.
Now, knowing Tressel is off the board, let’s take a look at other guys who’ve fallen by the wayside as we’ve moved along here: James Franklin (Going to Penn State), Bob Stoops, Josh McDaniels (thank Christ actually). First, let’s be honest with ourselves. Those aren’t names that get any of us even remotely excited. They’re names that would likely have made us groan if we had read that they were being announced as the next Cleveland Browns head coach. Those aren’t names that we want to hear, we want to hear unrealistic names like Cowher and Gruden (Jon). We want to feel excited. We want a savior.
More reality friends. There’s only one savior type coach left on the board. There’s only one guy left who makes any sense considering the direction the front office is rumored to be heading (read: Johnny Football). That guy, the only actual THE GUY left out there, is Gus Malzahn.
Gus went from a High School head coach, to Auburn Head Coach, to a National Championship game in eight short years. That’s impressive, regardless if the naysayer will mock him as a high school coach. Those people are idiots. If you know anything about the situation that Gus took over at Auburn, and how unbelievably impressive it is that he made them a relevant program, no less got them to a NC game, you know why people who know what they’re talking about respect the man. He’s fixed, in under 24 months, a program that had become as broken, crooked and dysfunctional as any program outside of Miami in the past 20 years. Easily. And he did it with energy, with passion, with gusto. As importantly, for those of us who adhere to the old ways of the Dawg Pound, he did it with hard work and integrity. Gus is squeaky clean, unlike his predecessor at Auburn, and it’s real. He’s the real deal.
But outside of the reasons why you should like Gus Malzahn the Man, you should love Gus Malzahn the coach. It’s impossible to question his football acumen, and his results on the field speak for themselves. That, and its a brand of football that Browns fans should LOVE. It’s built on pounding down opposing defenses with a crushing running game, and blazing speed and big plays on the outside. While I do usually shy away from drafting OSU players in Cleveland, if you gave Gus a backfield of Carlos Hyde, Dion Lewis and the emergent Edwin Baker, they would run holes into any defense. Pair him with a QB like Brian Hoyer, and yes, maybe even Johnny Manziel, and they would sprint down the field. Give him a weapon like Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron and one of the premier WR’s in this draft, and the Browns would start to look like a track team on Sundays.
Gus has the goods, but its still a long shot that he’ll leave Auburn. The Browns would have to do some serious work to get him. They’ll have to overpay, rightfully, because of all the past failures around coaches in the organization. They’d have to swallow the arrogance that they’ve so often displayed under this regime, and give Gus the keys to all the doors in Berea. They’d have to let him have final say on players and personnel, they’d have to not question his decisions, and they’d have to trust the man driving the Gus Bus. But isn’t that what we’ve cried out for for YEARS? A strong, decisive leader who will passionately change the way the world looks at Cleveland Browns football?
Get on the Gus Bus Browns fans. Drop the Tressel nonsense, stop asking for Cowher. Get on the Gus Bus, put some media pressure on the front office, and let’s turn this mother around, for good.