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Stating his case

December 3, 2012 - Mike McLain
BEREA -- Browns coach Pat Shurmur is making a strong case to return for a third season as coach of the Browns.

The Browns won their second straight game for the first time since September of last year last Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. They've won four of their last seven games to up the record to 4-8.

That doesn't sound like much, but we're talking about the Browns, the team that goes through head coaches every other year. Shurmur faces an uphill climb to retain his job, but that could change with a few more wins.

"Number one, I don’t want to talk about my future,” Shurmur said. “Number two, I’m trying to make this the best Monday of the year and I’m trying to get our team ready to play the Chiefs and so on and so forth.

“I’m not taking any half swings here. We’ll just play it out and see what happens.”

The other big issue deals with the future of general manager Tom Heckert. Heckert's drafts appear to be putting down a foundation for the future, but that might not mean much to president Joe Banner. Banner wields plenty of power. He might have someone else in mind, which is why Mike Lombardi's name keeps coming up.

Banner has to be careful on this call. He needs to look at some of the young players Heckert has brought in -- Joe Haden, Trent Richardson, Josh Gordon, Brandon Weeden, Mitchell Schwartz and T.J. Ward to name a few -- and ask himself if a change is needed.

In the end it could come down to how Banner wants to use his new-found power. If he's power hungry, he'll make a move just to make a move. If he puts the power trip aside, he should make the right call and retain Heckert.

Two big decisions await that will have a profound impact on the future. We'll find out real soon how well Haslam and Banner are at reading people and making the right decisions.

Lombardi worked in the Browns' front office when Bill Belichick was the coach in teh early to mid-1990s. He is a contributor to "The NFL Network" and "The National Football Post."


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