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First and 10: The rest of the story

By Pat McManamon

First and 10 started here this week. What follows is the rest of the story:

11) The Mike Lombardi as General Manager of the Browns rumors are getting louder and louder. They are either completely misplaced, or they’re absolutely true. In many ways, they make sense, because no owner or president is going to take over a team without some clue about the guy they want hired. Banner might know and like Lombardi from past times. If true, it’s essentially the end for Tom Heckert and Pat Shurmur, because Lombardi would hire his own coach. Lombardi was on 92.3 The Fan on Tuesday, and he basically did his best non-denial denial.

12) IF Lombardi is hired and if Alabama wins the national title, that will increase speculation that Nick Saban again will re-join the pros. Saban would have very little left to prove in college, and he and Lombardi worked for the Browns in the Bill Belichick era. It would be an interesting hire, but it would also bring back the dictatorial style of Belichick and Eric Mangini to Cleveland, and it would bring a style that did not work in Miami where Saban flopped. In fact, when Saban left, Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga thanked him and said simply that Saban was not a good fit in the NFL, he belonged better in college. If the Saban rumors are true — and many believe they are not — it also would bring more media rules and more control over information than anything seen in Cleveland since the Belichick days. That doesn’t mean the Browns won’t win, it just means the team might not be a lot of fun to be around. IF all this happens of course.

13) IF Banner and Jimmy Haslam are thinking of changing the guy who does the drafting, they might want to review the first two rounds of Heckert’s three drafts (a fact pointed out to me by a wise old friend). In those drafts, including the offseason supplemental draft, Heckert brought in Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Mitchell Schwartz, Phil Taylor, Jabaal Sheard, Greg Little, Joe Haden, Ward and Montario Hardesty. Those are guys who can be the foundation of a team for many years. That draft record is Heckert’s best selling point, and he can say that he can do even more with an owner willing to spend in free agency. Shurmur’s best selling point, assuming he finishes strong, is a strong one: Continuity. It would be so Browns to blow up a the leadership of a team right when it’s on the verge of winning. Keeping the same staff and coach that got things going has a strong logic. Ah, the joys of a Browns offseason, where the more things change, the more things seem about to change.

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