Cleveland: The Old Boy Club by Bill Smith

The Old Boy club is alive and well in Cleveland

By Bill Smith


Every movie has a continuity person that is charged with insuring for example that no cell phones ring during a Civil War scene. The Browns should hire a Director of Continuity because they seem to keep changing their story to the fans.

The hiring of Brad Childress as Offensive Coordinator is a perfect example. The team announced before the 2011 season that HC Pat Shurmur would be the OC. Then after a total disaster offensively in 2011 we were told that Shurmur wanted to hire an OC prior to the year but could not find one that fit his system.

Then the team hires Childress the former HC of the Vikes and longtime assistant with the Eagles working alongside Shurmur. But Childress WAS available before the start of the 2011 season. He was fired 10 games into a 3-7 start for the Vikes in 2010. The Browns need a continuity guy badly.

This latest error is far from the only example. We were told by team president Mike Holmgren that after a long study of the 2009 season, he decided to retain HC Eric Mangini. Then in 2011 he hired Pat Shurmur. It is clear NOW that the only reason Mangini got a reprieve in 2010 was that Holmgren wanted to give Shurmur a second year as OC in St. Louis before naming him HC of the Browns.

The key to all of hiring decisions is that the Browns always pick the best person for the job that is represented by super-agent Bob LaMonte. Holmgren seems to be more interested in putting your money into the pocket of LaMonte than getting the best coach he can find.

The hiring of Childress is a major disappointment. He has only called plays one year of his lack luster career. His Vikes team scored about 18 points a game. While that was not good enough for them, it would represent a 38 percent increase over the 13 points the Browns averaged in 2011. Every indication is that Childress will not call plays. Shurmur wanted to keep that part of the job even though he is not very good at it.

Maybe Childress will be responsible to be sure that a TE that has never run the ball doesn’t get asked to do that. This would be a move in the right direction.

After comments that the team would be “active” in free agency in 2012, now we are told that they will be “cautious” with free agent additions. We will be watching what the team does. Just don’t expect the team to add key starters in free agency. That won’t happen.

Here is the bottom line. If the Browns go 4-12 or 5-11 Holmgren, Shurmur and his coaching staff should be fired. I would keep GM Tom Heckert. He is the only one of the group that has done a decent job. Holmgren has proven over and over he is more interested in being warm and comfy with the guys around him than he is in turning the team around. That is unacceptable and must be stopped.

I am organizing a Torch and Pitchfork demonstration for the parking lot of Browns headquarters if the team shows little progress this season. Anything less than 8-8 will be a total disaster.

That is what I think. Tell us what you think.

If you like hearing the truth about Cleveland Sports, join me on the Internet radio version of News, Notes and Rumors M-Th at 6 PM EST on

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits He is a senior writer for He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at

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