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Pat Shurmur Frontrunner In Cleveland Browns Head Coach Search

It's coming as a shock to St. Louis Rams fans, who found themselves increasingly frustrated with the Rams' impossibly shallow passing attack, but offensive coordinator Pat Shurmer looks to be the Cleveland Browns' first pick for their vacant head coaching job. Shurmur, who interviewed with the Browns last Friday after Eric Mangini was forcibly extricated from the building, became the Rams' offensive coordinator in 2009 and has been criticized since for a perceived tentativeness, both in the Rams' reluctance to go downfield and their tendency to play to hold a lead, instead of increase it, as soon as they get one. 

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At the same time, it's not like he had a lot of downfield personnel with which to work in his two years as Rams OC. Danario Alexander was only kind of healthy all season; Mark Clayton did average 13 yards per reception before he was erased for the season, putting him second behind Alexander. If he'd had Clayton, Alexander, or Donnie Avery healthy all year, things might have been different—at least, that's what I imagine the Browns are banking on.

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That is, I can't quite see what Shurmur has to offer a team for evidence of his abilities right now, even if it's too soon to say he's incompetent. He must be a great interview, because right now he's got two years as the incredibly conservative shepherd of a developing offense to his name.

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