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Haven’t we hit the expiration date on Brian Daboll-bashing?

By Barry McBride

This weekend brought news that the Kansas City Chiefs are negotiating with former Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll for the same position in Kansas City. The news was erroneously reported as a done deal by Mike Lombardi on Friday. The team this evening told the AP that nothing was official yet.

Assuming that Daboll is going to get the gig, a cursory examination of some fan blogs and forums indicates that the bashing of the offensive coordinator continues. Given that the Browns are in Year 13 of expansion sans a franchise quarterback, offensive coordinators haven’t looked overtly brilliant in this era.

But I’m not going to jump in and bash away here. In defense of this move by the Chiefs and head coach Romeo Crennel, I offer the following:

– Brian Daboll was smart enough to guide RB Peyton Hillis to a terrific season. While the OC gets no credit, note that despite his being stuck with a rookie quarterback and/or Jake Delhomme, Daboll gave Hillis the rock en route to 11 TD and 1177 yards. His production after Daboll’s exit in 2011 was half of that.

– The Browns went from 237 first downs in 2009 to 265 in Daboll’s second year, despite adding a rookie quarterback (and Jake Delhomme) to the mix. Likewise, total offensive yardage went up over 10%.

– Unlike Pat Shurmur, Daboll at least displayed an ability to script the Browns first drive. I don’t have the stats, but distinctly remember some good success by the OC during first drives. It’s after that time that no amount of OC wizardry could turn the Browns non-existent receiving corps into the 1980s-era 49ers.

– Daboll would have been a gift to Crennel during his tenure here. While in Cleveland, the life-long defensive coach was saddled with a succession of first-time play callers: Maurice Carthon, Jeff Davidson, and Rob Chudzinski. While “Chud” had brief success during the Browns freakish 2007 season, good-guy defensive mind RAC was gifted with a series of coaches learning the ropes while managing his offense. The only thing unpredictable about the result was the team’s 2007 season, when career years by Kellen Winslow, Braylon Edwards, and Derek Anderson fooled us all. The very next year, Chudzinski didn’t look like such a genius.

– Offensive coordinators are treated by Cleveland fans like Spartans treated Persians at the coastal pass of Thermopylae. Cleveland hasn’t embraced an offensive coordinator since Lindy Infante, and has successfully run guys like Bruce Arians out of town. All Arians did afterwards is win a Super Bowl.

We’ll see how Brian Daboll can do with Kansas City’s talent rather than Brady Quinn and a washed-up Jamal Lewis. I’m guessing he’ll acquit himself acceptably.

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