The Right Stuff

By Jer”Rod Cherry

Yes, the Browns have made yet another coaching change, the question of whether or not Pat Shurmur has the “right stuff” will soon be decided barring no lock out or strike.

When assessing head coaches I have found that the best coaches are steady and predictable in regards to his temperament/ attitude and response when dealing with players.

Recently, Rams Wide Receiver Mardy Gilyard described his former offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as a pack skittles, implying that you never know what you are going to get.

For the sake of the Browns fan base my hope is that head coach Shurmur employs what he has observed from Andy Reid, consistency in regards to expectations, and response to players on and off the field actions as a head coach.

You see, once players read you to be inconsistent and unfair similar to bad inconsistent parenting, respect is lost your done and or finished in the locker room.

Players should not have to read your body language or guess if today this will make you happy and tomorrow sad as a coach. You can not successfully define expectations, roles, and responsibilities if the head coach is whimsical and always subject to change.

In order to achieve in football, players need to be confident and not waste time second guessing if they are fulfilling their head coaches directives!

I have observed Andy Reid, Jon Gruden, and Bill Belichick up close, and the common trait that I have observed amongst these successful coaches is consistency in their attitude and interactions with their players.

Consistency in attitude and response as a head coach is paramount, because such actions eventually produce a culture in which players have a structured environment and a recognizable leader to guide them.

Which then leads to players buying into the coaches methodology and believing with whole hearts that their leader’s methods can take them to the promise land, the Super Bowl.

Thus for the sake of the downtrodden Cleveland Browns fan base, when asked to describe Pat Shurmur’s coaching style five years from now(not play calling separate issue), Colt McCoy’s response hopefully is: Coach Shurmur is like a Snickers, a little nutty but you know what to expect as opposed to a bag of skittles in which you never know what you are going to get!



  1. Really? It sounds like you described Eric Mangini’s coaching characteristics for most of this post. We all know that wasn’t the “right stuff”. Consistency isn’t just about attitude and response, it’s about creating a system that works. I think the “bag of Skittles was taken completely out of context. Shurmur is level-headed and precise. After the Mangini era, a little character wouldn’t hurt.

    • Ryan, you may find this interesting that when Shurmur was told that his former player described him as a bag of skittles, Mr. “level-headed” as you described Pat, took offense to being compared to a bag of skittles. Furthermore there is a place for the jovial Rex Ryan types as well as the stoic Mangini types, in the NFL. However, you missed my main point which is, whatever type that you are or profess to be, you better be consistent and I will add authentic. Contrary to your argument you can not create a system that works, if your not consistent with your attitude and response as a head coach. A system is formulaic, repeatable, and readable. So must the author be of the system in order for players to correctly interpret and process information that the author in this case the head coach is trying to convey! Great Coaches are great communicators! You can not communicate well if I as a player can not read your body language and hopefully be taught and motivated by what I perceive. A consistent attitude and response are paramount, and I will continue to argue the most important traits a leader must have. Without a consistent attitude and response there is no system, just chaos and last time I checked, football, especially in the NFL is much more than a bunch of guys running full speed into each other. Football at its best is when athletic talent meets high level orchestration, in which the head coach conducts his orchestra, the players, into a finely tuned ensemble that rarely misses a beat because they know what the head coach expects, what he wants, and they believe firmly that his methodology or way of doing things will bring out the best in them and yield success. Simply put, one can not effectively follow ,believe, and have faith in you, if one does not know you! If i can not trust who you are day to day , and I have to guess, how can I then be expected to lay my body on the line based on the suggestions of a figurehead/ stranger? Here is some free advice to any coaches or people in positions of leadership: never leave your employees guessing, be consistent let them know who you are, and if you’re a great communicator they will follow. Inconsistency, does not equal consistency that is an oxymoron. A Consistent inconsistent approach to dealing with people equals distrust and tell me please, how can you have a marriage, a government, and even a football system be created and sustained if you have ignored or failed to showcase as a leader a consistent attitude and approach that solicits trust.

  2. i heard the bag of skittles remark and to me an untrained ear, i think he ment it differently than it came out. as in you might thinks hes comming to yell at you for a mistake (repeated or otherwise) and he says something to pick you up because he read or felt that was what you needed then. maybe i am wrong i hope not. and i hope Shurmur gets the job done and helps turn this team around

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