As the Conference Championships are ready to take the field today the Cleveland Browns are the lone team still without a head coach. Reports have flown about who the Browns were reportedly “going to hire” or “in the lead.” From Josh McDaniels, which we bought into a bit, Jim Tressel, James Franklin, Ken Whisenhunt and many, many others. There have even been rumors that Jim Schwartz will be hired as the defensive coordinator once the head coach is hired. While that seems very unlikely so did hiring their last head coach, then the General Manager and then firing the coach after 1 year.
Today we ask the punny question: Is the next Browns Head Coach dependent on the Neck of Peyton Manning. Since the beginning Adam Gase has been reported as a priority candidate for the team since the beginning of this process. Some reports have said that Gase is bound to take the job based on owner Jimmy Haslam’s relationship with Manning and the respect Manning has for Gase. Yet just today he reportedly won’t take the position if offered so he can spend more time learning more about running the entire team. An important report came out last week that Manning would have a medical check up on his neck to determine his future. The results of that test could have a huge impact on Gase’s decision, here is how.
Manning’s Neck Is Fine
Option 1a: Manning is returning and Gase takes the opportunity to work with him for one more season so as to build his resume. With Manning back the odds of Gase’s value in the NFL will continue to rise. This would allow Gase a larger possible selection of head coaching positions.
Option 1b: With Manning returning Gase believes he would get no credit for the success of the Broncos offense. Instead Gase chooses to move on now, while the iron is hot instead of expecting his stock to rise. Gase could look at Ray Horton and Norv Turner of the Browns who many thought the Browns were at risk of losing them to a HC position after only 1 year. That did not occur and each is set back at least a year, assuming both still have desires to be the head man again.
Manning’s Neck Forces Him to Retire
Option 2a: With Manning forced to retire Gase sticks around to help with continuity of the offense in Denver, breaking in young Brock Osweiler. Gase, out of loyalty and a desire to build his reputation outside of Manning, gets the chance to learn the ropes of running a team and can prove he is more then Manning dependent. Expectations would be lowered with Osweiler and offensive success would make Gase more attractive to teams with young quarterbacks.
Option 2b: Gase gets out of town instead of hitching his future to Osweiler the 6’8″ young quarterback. Gase knows the history, that no successful QBs have stood that tall, and gets out of town quickly. If anyone knows Manning’s neck, outside of Manning, his family and the medical staff its probably Gase. While Gase only have the Browns as an option he may be willing to risk his future with the Browns as the head man then with Osweiler as his QB.
One test, most likely shortly after the season and Manning’s future will be known. Does Gase have some idea now? Could he or the Browns wait until the test is complete? Is Gase ready for the position anyways?