A few weeks ago I wrote about how, as the Cleveland Browns undergo another transformation, fans aren't completely buying into the new leadership.
Joe Banner isn't seen the savior. Jimmy Haslam's ownership is welcomed, but there is cautious optimism with the Tennessee billionaire.
Browns fans have been burned numerous times before. They are done trusting the fire.
After days of speculation, the Browns are finally interviewed Oregon coach Chip Kelly. If you spend 30 seconds on Twitter, you'll find as many fans and media members who are for Kelly and just as many who are against the potential hire.
This will contradict what I previously wrote, but if it is Kelly, it is time to fully embrace this new regime. One, we have no other choice, but two, why not?
The Browns have tried every other combination of head coach/general manager since 1999.
There was the hot offensive coordinator in Chris Palmer, who worked under the first-time general manager Dwight Clark. Fail.
There was the hot college candidate with former NFL experience in Butch Davis, who was given full control. Fail.
There was the veteran defensive coordinator in Romeo Crennel, who was brought in with a general manager in Phil Savage. Savage was a hot, young front office executive who supposedly learned under Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore. Fail.
There was the former NFL coach given a second chance in Eric Mangini, who for one year was given full control. Fail.
A year later, he ceded that control to an experienced NFL coach turned front office executive in Mike Holmgren and a general manager in Tom Heckert. Fail.
The final coach was Pat Shurmur who was an offensive coordinator known for working with young quarterbacks in Donovan McNabb and Sam Bradford. Also, his uncle worked with Holmgren. Fail.
The arrival of Haslam put a stop to the most recent of failed regimes. He has since set up West Berea in Arizona this week interviewing numerous candidates for the Browns head coaching position.
Kelly is the career college coach who never had a sniff of NFL experience. Well, that hasn't been done in Cleveland since 1999. So, it's a new way of thinking. At least there's that.
Craig Lyndall of Waiting for Next Year touched on this earlier this week. The Browns did not limit their interview process to Kelly and a minority coach to satisfy the Rooney rule. They are taking this interview process serious and digging deep.
"Of course none of this guarantees the Browns will get it right, whatever "it" is anyway," Lyndall wrote. "There's never any guarantee of that. At this point all you can do is judge the process. That being the case and given the most recent comparisons for Browns fans, this search appears to be off to a decent start at least.
Kelly reportedly remains tops on the Browns' list. Can every Browns fan agree on who should be the team's new head coach? Of course not. Again, check Twitter for the varying candidates.
Why not put your trust, hopes and beliefs into Kelly working out?
As fellow OBR staff writer Dave Kolonich wrote earlier today:
"Anyway, as I suggested months ago, the IDEA of Kelly means that the Browns are finally moving towards becoming a contemporary NFL team rather than one that continues to copy old systems – i.e., the 49ers, Cowboys, Patriots, Ravens, Patriots again, Packers, Eagles, etc. Even if the Browns don't eventually land Kelly, at least we know that the front office is genuinely trying to drag this franchise into 2013. And as for the real fans of the team, watching Kelly's offense – in whatever variation it becomes – should be a reward for having to suffer through 32 games of primitive bonehead Shurmurball."
As DK points out, the Browns have tried to copy those successful franchises since 1999. Where has that gotten the Browns? One playoff appearance. If Kelly is the guy, it is time to embrace it because at first impression. The Browns are trying to create their own path instead of looking recreate one that has already been plowed.