All eyes on season's end in Cleveland

Posted Dec. 22, 2012 @ 12:44 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

Browns CEO Joe Banner told reporters this week that he won’t wait long to make a decision on head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert at season’s end. Changes in Cleveland would surprise absolutely no one, given the club’s new ownership and yet another losing season. Numerous reports have former Browns personnel man and current NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi as a potential candidate for an evaluator’s role in Cleveland should Heckert depart, with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels a prominent name in the rumor mill for a potential Shurmur replacement.

If changes are to come, the trickle-down effect on the roster bears watching, especially at quarteback, where rookie Brandon Weeden has been inconsistent and will be 30 next October. One recent surprising personnel move was the release of No. 3 CB Dimitri Patterson. Little is known why the Browns let go of a player re-signed nine months earlier to a three-year deal with $6 million reportedly guaranteed, and Shurmur and defensive coordinator Dick Jauron’s refusal to discuss the matter was especially notable. But it’s clear the club likes second-year player Buster Skrine, who can fill Patterson’s role at a much cheaper cost.

The Browns’ organization with Banner at the helm started to come into greater focus this week with the naming of former Cowboys senior vice president / executive counsel Alec Scheiner as team president. Scheiner will run the business side of the Browns, with Banner expected to have an active role in football operations.