Haslam message: Coach search worth wait


We all want the Browns to have their new head coach by now.

Since the end of the regular season, we've seen five other NFL teams hire new head coaches. A sixth reportedly is in the process of doing so.

That leaves the Browns as the only club of the league's 32 without a coach, and that, understandably, has prompted a range of fan reaction from concern to outright panic. It has brought about a fair share of mockery and ridicule and outrage from all corners of the league, but especially from the people emotionally invested in all things Browns.

The typical questions that those of us who cover the team are asked go as follows: "Does anybody want this job? Can they actually get anybody to take this job? Do the people running the team have any idea what they're doing?"

That last question, for all intents and purposes, was the reason for the letter, posted on, that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam wrote to the team's fans to update them on the coaching search.

This was, to say the least, an unprecedented step. But it absolutely needed to be done. We all have been desperate to hear something, anything, from the men in charge of finding the next man to guide the Browns on the field.

The main point Haslam made was that the team has a strong commitment to finding the "right person" to coach the Browns.

And to that end, the Browns, as the owner explained, are remaining true to the plan they've had from the very start that if they wanted to interview all of the candidates on their list, they "may need to wait until (some) have completed their participation in the playoffs." The names of coaches in the postseason who have been connected to the Browns are Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

Although there are other major factors in their respective teams' playing for conference championships Sunday, the fact they are part of a deep playoff run speaks volumes about their credentials.

Yes, the Browns do have a plan. Yes, they are following it. And with good reason.

Consider that:

Of the 16 head coaches hired from a team that advanced at least to its conference championship,14 were given their first NFL head-coaching position; 14 led their new teams to the playoffs (one of the coaches that didn't had a 10-6 season); 11 led their new teams to the playoffs within their first two seasons; six advanced to the conference championship within the first three years; three advanced to the Super Bowl within the first three years.

The primary takeaway from Haslam's message? That it's reasonable to conclude that the waiting, although it might be the hardest part, is going to be worth the trouble.

Until Haslam's letter, there was a pronounced silence about the Browns' head-coaching search, with the only "updates" coming from media reports quoting "league sources."

It's fairly common for teams not to provide much, if any, information on such matters, mainly in the interest of competition. Why let other clubs that might very well be pursuing the very same people you are know all of the who/what/where of your search?

However, when the process extends as long as this one has, you run the risk of having others, namely the media, dictate pretty much everything that the outside world knows and believes about how you're going about your business. To date, what they know, or at least think they know, and what they believe is beyond negative.

The time had come to hear from someone who actually does know what the Browns are doing to find a new head coach.

Enter Haslam and a letter that explained the Browns have "purposefully been very methodical" in their approach. He stressed the importance of their staying "disciplined to this process and to interview all of the candidates" on their list.

The process might very well be taking far longer than any of us would prefer, but what does it matter if, in the end, the Browns do land that "right person?"

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