Today, floating around the Twittersphere, was a fairly juicy rumor in regards to the Browns’ potential head coaching vacancy. Bruce Arians was calling the Browns/Chiefs game on Sunday alongside Greg Gumbel and Trent Green. Steve Doerschuk of CantonRep.com quoted Arians as saying “Cleveland is the only job I would consider” when asked if he would ever be interested in coaching again. Now it is important to understand that Arians did say that if he was making the decision he would choose former Colts HC Chuck Pagano (no thanks on that from me). Arians and Pagano do have a history together as Arians worked with Pagano in Indy. Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and Arians led the Colts to a 9-3 record on his watch. Not to go off on the Pagano tangent, let’s take a look at the possibility of Bruce Arians coaching the Browns.
First and foremost, let’s take a look at Arians’ track record as a coach. Arians has a lot of experience not only in the NFL but at the collegiate level as well. Arians started his coaching career in 1975 as a grad assistant at his alma mater, Virginia Tech where he played quarterback for the Hokies. The rest of Arians’ coaching career is as follows:
WR coach Mississippi State (1978-1980)
RB coach Alabama (1981-1982)
RB Coach Temple (1983-1988)
Head Coach Kansas City Chiefs (1989-1992)
RB Coach Mississippi State (1993-1995)
Offensive Coordinator New Orleans Saints (1996)
TE coach Alabama (1997)
Offensive Coordinator Indianapolis Colts (1998-2000)
QB Coach Cleveland Browns (2001-2003)
Offensive Coordinator Pittsburgh Steelers (2004-2006)
WR Coach Pittsburgh Steelers (2007-2011)
Offensive Coordinator Indianapolis Colts (2012)
Offensive Coordinator/Interim Head Coach Arizona Cardinals (2013-2017)
Head Coach Arians was a 2x Coach of the Year for the Cardinals and was a 2x Super Bowl champion as an OC with the Steelers.
As you can see, Arians definitely has the resume that is tough to be matched and he has been coaching for 40 years. Another thing that is noteworthy is the fact that Arians has always been a coach on the offensive side of the ball, which is something that is important considering the Browns have not had an offensive-minded coach who has had much success in Cleveland. Arians does typically call plays as the head coach where things could get a little murky. I say this only because I would like to see Arians bring in a younger offensive mind to help with the offense. Perhaps that younger mind could be someone who could take over after three or four years once Arians is done (Arians is 66 years old).
The Browns are also a team that has been somewhat undisciplined as they are near the top of the league in penalties and effort is sometimes lacking (I am staring straight at you Jamie Collins). With a seasoned veteran coach, you immediately gain the respect of the veteran players and the rookies would be more likely to follow suit. Arians is currently an analyst for CBS, so it is not like he is completely away from the game as he is still breaking down games and watching film of players. If you listened to him on the Browns/Chiefs game from this past Sunday, he also seemed to be intrigued by this Browns team. Arians discussed the QB draft prospects of the 2018 draft and per Josh Edwards of 247Sports.com, Arians said “I like Baker. His enthusiasm, because it’s real, not false. Got to curb it a little, maybe, but maybe not. Guys respect “real” in the locker room. If that’s who you really are, they’ll follow you.” This was high praise from the man who has coached the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.
I know there are a few months until the Browns will be forced to decide on a head coach. With Arians being the first man to step up and want the job, I feel like the Browns should make Arians priority number one this offseason when it comes to a head coaching search.