With Mike Holmgren out the door in Cleveland, the fates of his hand-picked hires rest on uncertain soil.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert have five more games to make their case. Logic would suggest new CEO Joe Banner is about to clean house to populate the building with his own cast of decision-makers -- but he tread carefully on that topic Monday.
"They both very much want the opportunity to see it through," Banner said, via The Canton Repository.
Shurmur oversees the youngest team in the league. He and Heckert assumed control over a roster painfully low on talent in the winter of 2010. It hasn't been easy, but this year's 3-8 Browns have been more competitive than previous versions, despite the record.
Heckert has hit on more draft picks than the men before him, and Shurmur recorded his first win over a battered Pittsburgh Steelers team on Sunday. That's a temporary salve to the fans, but Banner won't base Shurmur's fate on one victory inside the AFC North.
"It's not going to be that kind of a micro-decision," Banner said, emphasizing his quest for "long-term success."
The problem in Cleveland has been turnover. Just as Eric Mangini's roster appeared to be cohering, he was sent packing for Shurmur. Two years later, the rinse and repeat method appears likely. Barring an uprising that sees the team win out and show the promise Holmgren long spoke of, vast change is ahead (again).