Coaching Change Predictions: Probably Not What You Expected…

How’d you like those stats on our D and O for 2018? Still in a hurry to keep this Defense around? Not me homie, not me. Those are the best results we managed to produce with some serious Defensive talent on the team and 2 years under the same scheme. Greg Williams Jr. ain’t my guy either!

The Offense had two hands tied behind their back thanks to Hue the Boat Anchor Jackson, and still managed to produce a historic rookie QB season, an insane rookie RB season, elevate below average receivers and as a team posted Top 5 best Red Zone success rates in the NFL. All in just 8 games under new management! That’s a coaching staff I can get behind.

For the Defense, Garrett and Peppers both improved a fair bit, Ogunjobi was a little better but played hurt for most of the second half, Ogbah seemed to still be invisible, Denzel Ward had a nice rookie season but hasn’t learned how to tackle and Jamie Collins played like he had just done his nails and didn’t want to fuck them up. Why should I be excited?

Special teams improved from I will Just Keep My Eyes Closed While They Do This to Merely Embarrassing. Why hasn’t anyone taught Jabrill Peppers not to run into the back of his own blockers within the first 5 yards of a kick return? What in god’s name is wrong with Kickers lately? Nobody can make PAT’s anymore! What is that? ADHD ruining their rhythm? Do better people.

And frankly, I demand better because that’s what it’s going to take for us to win a lot of post-season games.

I’ve got some crazy predictions for this coaching search. I’m feeling this is going to go a bit differently than the prevailing thoughts from our brilliant local radio guys. I say No Sir, I would like to think for myself you hack radio personality!

All of the pundits are screaming about how we need an Offensive-focused coach in order to properly develop Baker and allow him to reach his ultimate potential. I see that logic and understand the desire to protect and serve our Baker Boy. How could we possibly do him justice without a QB Guru head coach? That’s the popular narrative anyway.

How could we ensure that we have a creative, forward-thinking Offensive scheme if we had a Defensive HC? God forbid those two things could go hand in hand! Well, I have exhibit A – our current interim HC and OC just so happen to be set up exactly in this way with good enough results that the fan base is losing their minds that we might not retain them!

So for starters, here is what I believe in as it relates to the right coaches right now. This supports our effort to create a strong, stable franchise and team identity:

Now who the hell do we get to be Captain of this ship? This guy:

Matt Eberflus – Currently DC for the Colts

Age: 48

Hometown: Toledo, OH

Playing Experience: Was a four-year letterman and a three-year starting linebacker at Toledo. He earned First Team All-Conference honors as a junior and senior as he led the team in tackles both years. He also served as a team captain as a senior and took home the Nicholson Trophy for contributing the most towards the success of the team.

Cleveland Connection: Born in Toledo, was LB coach for Browns under Mangini (2009-2010), was LB and DB coach for University of Toledo

Key Coaching Achievements:

Eberflus left the Browns in 2010 and immediately went to the Cowboys to be LB Coach from 2011-2015. During this period he developed LB’s Sean Lee, Demarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer and Bruce Carter. Most made multiple Pro Bowls and finished several seasons as All-Pros.

From 2016-2017 Eberflus was also the Passing Game Coordinator which allowed him to influence the coverages for the LB’s and secondary. In he 2016 had the #1 overall NFL pass rush defense and 2017 was in the top 5. During this period he developed talented LB’s Rolando McClain, Anthony Hitchens and Jaylon Smith.

In 2018 Eberflus was tapped by Josh McDaniels to be the DC for the Colts. As we know, Josh McDaniels is an asshole and backed out of the HC job, but Eberflus was a true professional and stayed on to see if the new-new HC would keep him. The Colts hired Frank Reich and he retained Eberflus.

In his first season as DC for the Colts, Eberflus improved the their defense from 30th to 11th overall in Total Defense ranking. He quickly developed rookie LB Darius Leonard, who is the likely DROY for 2018 and was named an All-Pro in his first season. He also is responsible for the rapid development of second year MLB Anthony Walker who is playing well beyond his young years.

Why I Like Him:

Eberflus receives unanimous praise from everyone who has worked with him. He is said to be a true player’s coach, who is genuine in his love for his players, has an “it” factor and has a brilliant mind for scheming LB’s and the secondary for success in the speed-focused 4-3 defense he runs. He has been compared to Nick Saban in his knowledge and personality. I believe he has excellent leadership skills and will always be open to what works for the Offensive side of the ball. It’s not his area of strength so he will hire a team that can work really well with Baker and Co.

Also very important to me, he runs the type of hybrid 4-3 base defense that emphasizes QB pressure first and super-athletic speedy LB’s who MUST be excellent tacklers. He runs a lot of Tampa 2, Cover 2 and Cover 3. So often there is only two linebackers on the field on certain downs. His DB’s and Safeties must play LB roles to cover the flats and the outside.

His Defense is not an old-school, lay-the-wood, hammer type of scheme. It’s a modern, read-react, speed and tackling based Defense that requires constant QB pressure to allow the rest of the middle and secondary to be successful. We have some great pieces for this scheme and it’s the perfect time to revamp our LB crew. We also need to finish our D-line with a 3-Tech and better depth and he will understand the type of player needed. One thing we really need to upgrade is at Safety for this scheme. A Malik Hooker type talent is necessary and that is exactly who Indy has.

Oh, and get this. Eberflus was watching a documentary on Mean Joe Greene. In the game film they were showing he sees a Double A Gap blitz that the Steelers used in the 70’s with Greene. Eberflus puts it in his playbook immediately with great results! I love this guy! Old School schemer who finds what can work in his modern D….

Bottom Line: I believe Eberflus has the steady personality, leadership, NFL experience and open-minded approach to coaching that will take us on a 10 year journey with Baker & Co. He understands that Defense is what get’s you to the Playoffs and the SB. Offense WINS it for you!

Kris Richard – Currently DB Coach and Passing Game Coordinator for Cowboys (Pronounced: Rish-ard)

Age: 39

Hometown: Carson, CA

Playing Experience: Attended the University of Southern California, where he played cornerback] under coach Paul Hackett and Pete Carroll from 1998 to 2001. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 3rd round (85th overall) in the 2002 NFL Draft. He played for the Seahawks for three seasons. He was traded to the Miami Dolphins for Ronald Flemons in 2005. He was signed by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005 and the Oakland Raiders in 2007.

Cleveland Connection: None

Key Coaching Achievements: He followed Pete Carroll to the NFL and joined his former team, the Seahawks, as secondary coach. He created the vaunted and feared Legion of Boom secondary. After losing Super Bowl XLIX, the Seahawks promoted Richard to defensive coordinator to replace Dan Quinn, who had left to become the head coach for the Atlanta Falcons.

As the defensive coordinator for the 2015 Seattle Seahawks Richards defense ranked first in points allowed for the season. After 3 seasons as DC for the Seahawks, Richard was let go and hired by the Cowboys where he was installed as the DBs coach for the 2018 season under Matt Eberflus.

Why I Like Him: This is one of those NFL coordinators that is going to be a Head Coach VERY soon. This could be a problem for the Browns if we hire Eberflus, as he is likely to try and draw Richard to CLE as his DC. But right at this moment, Richard already has 3 interviews set up for HC positions. He may not be quite ready for that but he’s close. It might be very hard for us to get him here and even harder to retain him long.

The thing is, this guy has UBER “It” factor. Everyone who utters a word about him talks about how special he is on every level. People gravitate to him as coaches, players and even owners. And boy does he know his shit when it comes to coaching, especially the secondary.

Bottom Line: Imagine a new, modern version of the Legion…imagine that paired with the LB philosophy Eberflus would bring. I am getting football wood thinking about it! This could be something really special.

Freddie MF Kitchens – Currently OC of your Cleveland Browns

Age: 44

Hometown: Gadsden, AL

Playing Experience: In high school Kitchens was named Mr. Football for the state of Alabama in 1992. He was the starting quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide from 1993 to 1997. During his career he threw for 4,668 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. During his three seasons as a starter Alabama went 22-13 and played in the 1993 Gator Bowl, 1994 Citrus Bowl, and the 1996 Outback Bowl. When he graduated, he ranked third in the school’s history in career passing attempts, fourth in career passing yards and fifth in career completions.

Cleveland Connection: Our current OC

Key Coaching Achievements: Freddie started as Tight Ends coach for the Cowboys and after one year moved to the Cardinals as TE coach as well. He then moved through several jobs there including QB coach and RB coach. He was tapped for the Browns next, and started 2018 as RB coach and Associate HC. In week 8 he was promoted to full time OC when we fired Pue Jackson and Toad Haley.

During the 8 weeks Kitchens was OC he completely transformed the CLE offense. Mayfield and Chubb blossomed, penalties dropped 80%, Baker sacks and pressures went down 90% and mental errors melted away.

Why I Like Him: Kitchens is already getting national recognition and requests for interviews for OC jobs. Rumors are flying about him as HC, but I don’t believe he is nearly ready for that. He still needs some seasoning as a Coordinator before he jumps that high.

Key is, we have to retain him as OC, no debate. In the spirit of Draft What You See, Freddie has demonstrated a creative and progressive Offensive mind. This guy has been dreaming up his own plays for ten years I bet, and he just finally was given a stage to play on. You can’t deny what he’s done in a very short time and it played perfectly with the personnel he has on hand. That shows the flexibility and communication you kill for in an OC.

This is the kind of genius mind you hitch a wagon to for as long as you can. The HC jobs will come calling soon enough, just like for Kris Richard. But Freddie is special and we need that continuity for Baker and a very young set of skill players. Also gives Eberflus the freedom to focus on the D which needs some revamping for sure. If in two years he leaves for a HC job, we at least have established an identity and will have much improved talent on the field.

Bottom Line: Freddie is not perfect by any means, and as long as he also shows us the ability to make adjustments QUICKLY during a game, we’ll be just fine with him at the wheel. That Ravens game in week 17 exposed us on D and we did NOT make adjustments quickly. So far though, whenever the offense started out slow, Baker and Freddie seem to find their footing within a quarter.

Special Teams Coordinator – No Fucking Clue

Hello Amos Jones, we see you there. And this middle finger is for you. This is what you’ve been doing to the Browns fan base for several seasons. You were ranked DEAD LAST for Special Teams the year before you were brought here by the NFL’s worst coach in history. And you delivered another steaming pile of shit here.

You were Hue Jackson’s only significant coaching hire and you represent everything that makes Hue a bad coach in every respect. Hue looked at your record and thought “He’s perfect for us”. Shame on you for not quitting coaching 10 years ago. Shame on you for cashing your paycheck every two weeks. Shame on us for not throwing you out on your ass after week 2…

A person’s resume can tell you a lot about the candidate. I am posting yours because it is truly an abomination. You lasted one year at most of your stops. Every other job you had was just “assistant coach”. WTF is that role? I actually want to publicly humiliate you for what you have done to us.

Bottom Line: Our new HC will find us a young, hungry, angry ST Coach that will properly prioritize finding RBs, WRs, LBs and Safeties who can create us a league-leading ASS KICKING special teams core. In the meantime, marinate on your resume you fucking hack...

That is all.