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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Sights and sounds from Shurmur's introduction

By Marla Published: January 15, 2011

Some thoughts on Friday's introduction of Browns coach Pat Shurmur:

1. I wish president Mike Holmgren wouldn't have said he didn't know Pat Shurmur was represented by Bob LaMonte, Holmgren's agent and close friend of 30 years. Maybe he didn't know when the Browns were 1-5 and Holmgren started comtemplating a coaching change, but a statement like that doesn't set well in football-savvy Cleveland.

2. Browns team counsel Fred Nance was so amazed by the huge media turnout that he videotaped the crowd with his cell phone just before the press conference started.

3. If a wife can win over a media corps, Jennifer Shurmur hit a home run. Staying to talk after her husband left the podium, she patiently told the family's story, talked about her husband's career, gave details about their children and shared a little about her swimming career at Michigan State. She said her husband "will give you what you want,'' which hopefully means a little more information revealed by the head coach. (Why was Eric Mangini just now sharing on ESPN a few days ago that the Browns had two game plans against the New England Patriots and switched to the other one at halftime?)

3. Shurmur played it coy about his coordinators. The defensive hire will be extremely important because Shurmur is going to call the plays "to start out.'' He needs a veteran to whom he can hand the reins on defense and not worry about that side of the ball. As he turns the Browns attack into a West Coast offense, Shurmur has to find an offensive coordinator he can groom because an experienced one wouldn't want a subservient role. It appears that special teams coach Brad Seely will also depart because he holds the title of assistant head coach and wouldn't likely surrender it.

4. Friday marked the most vocal appearance of GM Tom Heckert, largely because he worked eight years with Shurmur in Philadelphia. But Heckert was also candid about the roster turnover that is coming, especially with an ''aging'' team. He seems to have grown into his role, especially now with men at the top he's comfortable with in Holmgren and Shurmur.

5. Shurmur had hoped to speak to beat writers later Friday evening, but an unexpected meeting prevented it. Still, the intention is a good sign, especially after two tight-lipped coaches from the Bill Belichick tree in Romeo Crennel and Mangini.

6. The second consecutive no-show for a new coach's introduction by owner Randy Lerner. At least Holmgren was there to warmly handle the task. It was a striking contrast from former president Mike Keenan, who stumbled in front of the cameras in 2009.



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