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Browns want to hire coach first, then personnel man

Jimmy Haslam

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, right, talks with Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie Mckenzie before an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)


The first rule of coaching searches remains: If the last guy was fat, the next guy will be skinny.

While that doesn’t have anything to do with the physical dimensions of Pat Shurmur, the Browns made it clear Monday they’re going to go the opposite direction for their next head coach.

During his press conference Monday, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said he planned to hire a coach first, then a personnel man to replace fired general manager Tom Heckert.

“Our focus right now is getting the right head coach and if that happens everything else will fall into place,” Haslam said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The Browns tried the grand poobah (Mike Holmgren)/GM/young coach model, so now they’re going back toward what CEO Joe Banner’s more familiar with from Philadelphia, where Andy Reid enjoyed tremendous power.

“We believe the head coach will have a bigger role here,” Banner said. “The top quality is someone with really strong, dynamic leadership. . . .

“If we ended up a coach who was extremenly strong in personnel, he may have a larger role, in particular, final say [on the roster.]”

“We made the decision the person with the greater impact will be the coach. This was the first decision we made.”

Giving a coach full personnel authority is a model that’s hard to pull off, and limits the scope of personnel men who will be ready to climb aboard.

If they get the right coach, it can work, but historical precedent shows it’s a tougher path.