BEREA – Pat Shurmur was the first.
The first of how many remains to be seen.
Shurmur, the St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator, interviewed with the Browns on Friday regarding their coaching vacancy. He was the first candidate confirmed by the Browns, whose policy is to confirm only after the meeting has concluded.
Shurmur worked with Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia for seven years, then spent 2010 developing rookie No. 1 pick Sam Bradford in St. Louis. Holmgren said Monday it would be important to hire a coach that can maximize the potential of Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy.
Bradford started all 16 games, completing 60 percent of his passes for 3,512 yards, 18 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and a 76.5 rating as the Rams (7-9) came within a game of winning the NFC West. Bradford is a top candidate for rookie of the year.
Shurmur has never been a head coach – not a prerequisite for Holmgren – but worked for 10 years (three coaching tight ends) under Eagles coach Andy Reid, who learned under Holmgren in Green Bay. Shurmur would be expected to run the West Coast offense that Holmgren prefers.
“Pat’s a very good football coach and teacher,” Reid said before Shurmur got the Rams job.
“I think if in our process we come to the conclusion that this particular person is the right person, the pedigree doesn’t matter,” Holmgren said Monday. “Sometimes the path of least resistance is to hire someone that is a little more known quantity, I get that. It’s a little bit more comfortable, maybe a little more expedient and I know a lot more expensive.
“But I can’t look at it that way, I really have to kind of look at everything and then try and come to a decision of who would be the right fit for this team right now.”
Shurmur shares a history, and an agent, with Holmgren and Heckert. Fritz Shurmur, Pat’s uncle, was the defensive coordinator when Holmgren coached the Packers. Heckert was in the Philadelphia front office for eight years of Shurmur’s tenure.
Shurmur just completed his second season with the Rams, finishing with the 26th-ranked offense in scoring (18.1 points) and yardage (302.9). In 2009, Steven Jackson finished with the NFC rushing title after running for 1,416 yards, the second-highest total of his career.
Shurmur was a three-year starter at center for Michigan State and a co-captain in 1987.
The Browns are scheduled to interview Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey today, and reportedly Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell next week.
Mularkey was coordinator for the Steelers from 2001-03 and was head coach of the Bills in 2004-05, going 14-18 before resigning after a change in the front office.
Mangini’s name re-entered the news when Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald reported the Dolphins scheduled a meeting with Mangini that wound up being canceled Friday. The Dolphins admitted the meeting, saying it was for a “consultant” role.
The Dolphins front office had a crazy week, as it chased Jim Harbaugh – who chose the 49ers – despite having Tony Sparano as coach.
• Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden is one of five finalists for the Pepsi rookie of the year award.
Bradford, Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Buccaneers receiver Mike Williams are the other finalists. Fans can vote at www.nfl.com/rookies through Feb. 1.
Haden’s six interceptions tied for fifth in the NFL. He led the Browns with 18 pass break-ups and added 57 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and eight special teams tackles. His six interceptions were the most by a Brown since 2007 and the most by a Browns rookie since 2001.
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