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Cleveland Browns: Why Joe Banner Could Select Ben McAdoo as the Next Head Coach
Despite the accusations from Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles that CEO Joe Banner is “just a numbers guy,” the man who may know him the best in the NFL would disagree. Current Kansas City coach, and former Eagles coach Andy Reid, spent 14 successful years with Banner while in Philadelphia. For a front office executive under so much scrutiny lately, his former employee has nothing but positive things to say about his work history with the man.
“I’m a big Joe Banner fan,” said Reid. “I spent 14 great years with him and we had a ton of success together. He was one of those instrumental in me being part of the Philadelphia Eagles and he gave me every opportunity along with (owner) Jeffrey Lurie to win football games. He’s a brilliant guy. He knows football, he knows talent, he knows what it takes to win.”
“You see the different moves he’s making strategically with the trades and accumulating draft picks, he’s very, very good at that,” Reid went on to say. “What might seem crazy now, you just watch how it blossoms in the future. He’s got a great eye for putting things together that way.”
The entire Cleveland fanbase is collectively hoping that he will be right. With a move that fell under heavy fire, Banner decided to trade the Browns 2013 fourth and fifth-round picks, at a time when many people expected them to be acquiring new personnel. Instead, he flipped them for a 2014 third and fourth-round pick. While the world will never know who they could have taken with those picks, they are now fully stocked with 10 selections in what appears to be a loaded 2014 NFL Draft.
Following that decision, he then pulled the trigger on a deal with the Indianapolis Colts to send the Browns running back Trent Richardson packing. In exchange, he acquired a 2014 first-round pick, which due to Richardson’s disappointing 2013 performance now seems like they hit the jackpot in the MegaMillions lottery drawing.
The third controversial moment came following the end of the 2013 NFL regular season. With the Browns falling to a 4-12 record, Banner made the call to pull the plug on head coach Rob Chudzinski’s tenure in Cleveland. The move fell under heavy criticism, with many again questioning why a “know-nothing numbers guy” like Banner is in charge of the historic Browns franchise, and why he should be trusted to hire the next coach of the Cleveland Browns.
“In today’s football, the capologist and personnel, those two have to be tied in hand and hand,” Reid explains about how the Eagles structure worked. “There are no walls in this thing anymore. Everybody blends and communicates. Everybody has a say in things and then you come to a decision. That’s how it works. Joe is involved in everything. We had no secrets. That’s not how we operated. We did it together.”
That relationship is what Banner is likely looking for with his next head coach.
It was reported by Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland that the front office wanted to shake up the locker room. Reportedly they asked Chudzinski to cut receiver Greg Little or guard Shawn Lauvao, but the Browns head coach refused. Whether it is true or not, and we likely will never know, it shows the disconnect that existed both in personality and direction between management and coaching. The next coach will have to share the vision and trust that once existed between Banner and Reid.
The obvious candidate may not exactly be a household name, but it makes more sense than any candidate on the table.
Green Bay Packers quarterback coach, Ben McAdoo, has an interview in Cleveland on January 8th. The front office has insisted that they would like a young coach, someone who can grow along with them and sustain continuity for the next decade. McAdoo fits that bill at the young age of 36-years old, while comparatively, Reid was selected as head coach in Philadelphia at 40-years of age.
Whether it be by coincidence or design, Reid and McAdoo came into interviews with Banner as the quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers. Reid spent 1992-1998 with the Packers and McAdoo has spent 2006-2013 with the Green Bay franchise. Both coaches are said to be a bit quiet off the field, but once they get into the locker rooms and sideline, they take on the personality that players seem to respond to. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers supports McAdoo so much, that he noted that he could gladly use him as a reference in his interview.
When Reid came into Philadelphia, it was his job to develop first round QB Donovan McNabb, and he did so to the tune of six Pro Bowls. Through another coincidence, by accident or design, the Cleveland Browns are projected to draft a quarterback high in the first round this season. It would make all too much sense that Banner would bring in a former quarterbacks coach to develop him, in much the same way he saw Reid do it in Philadelphia. In the back of his mind, Banner has to wonder if he may be interviewing the next Andy Reid, but only time will tell if the connections to Reid hold true or if they are just one crazy set of coincidences.
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