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How about Mike Sullivan for OL coach?

Jerry Maguire

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From the Browns website:


Mike Sullivan

Assistant Offensive Line Coach

Year with Browns: 5th

Year in NFL: 5th

Mike Sullivan was named assistant offensive line coach for the Browns on Feb. 8, 2007. Sullivan joins the Browns after serving the previous two seasons as assistant coach/offensive line at Western Michigan.

Sullivan was part of a WMU staff that turned the program around the past two seasons. The Broncos went 1-10 in 2004 the year before Sullivan arrived and had the biggest turnaround in MAC history when they went 7-4 in 2005. Last season, Western Michigan finished 8-4 during the regular season and advanced to the International Bowl in Toronto, Canada. The Broncos posted a 1,000-yard rusher in each of the last two seasons. The offensive line also gave up the fewest sacks in the MAC in 2006 and finished 14th out of 119 Division I schools in that category.

Sullivan spent four years with the Browns (2001-04) as offensive assistant coach and worked mainly with former offensive line coach Larry Zierlein on former head coach Butch Davis coaching staff. Sullivan was elevated to tight ends coach for the final five games during the 2004 campaign following Butch Davis resignation as tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski was elevated to offensive coordinator.

Prior to arriving in Cleveland in 2001, Sullivan was a graduate assistant at his alma mater, the University of Miami (Fla.), where he worked with the offensive line. Following his NFL career, Sullivan coached various American football club teams in Germany, France and Spain (1997-01).

Sullivan played five seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman after beginning his career as a sixth-round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys in 1991. He spent four seasons (1992-95) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following his stint with the Cowboys. During his stay in Tampa Bay, Sullivan was very active in the community and received the Tampa Bay Community Service Player of the Year Award (1993), was a finalist for the NFL/True Value Hardware Man of the Year Award (1996) and founded a celebrity fundraiser that provided scholarships for needy teenagers. He also served a two-year term as a player representative for the NFLPA.

Sullivan was a standout offensive lineman at the University of Miami (Fla.) from 1986-91, where he helped lead the Hurricanes to National Championships in 1987 and 1989. Sullivan posted 48 consecutive starts on the offensive line during his time at Miami, which ranks second on the Hurricanes all-time list.

Sullivan received a bachelor s degree in business administration (1989) and a master s in international management (1996) from Miami, spending one year as a graduate assistant with the Hurricanes (2001). Sullivan received an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship Award in 1990.

Sullivan was born Dec. 22, 1967, in Chicago, Ill. Sullivan is married to the former Carole Chandler, and the couple have a son, Patrick (10/26/06).

Coaching Background:

2000 University of Miami (Fla.), graduate assistant

2001-04 Cleveland Browns, offensive assistant

2005-06 Western Michigan, assistant coach/offensive line

2007 Cleveland Browns, assistant offensive line coach

And an article on the browns O-Line:

Browns' offensive line is better, and will improve

Posted by Tony Grossi October 04, 2007 18:40PM

Categories: Browns

What's the best thing about the Browns' offensive line through four games?

That it's on pace to give up just 28 sacks, the fewest in a season since 1994?

That it's finally an asset and not a liability?

That it's healthy?

All true. But the best thing may be it is only going to get better.

The Browns played the first four games without one of its best players, Ryan Tucker, who had to serve a suspension for violating the league's banned-substances policy. Tucker returned to practice this week and probably will be put on the active roster before Sunday's game against New England.

Where Tucker winds up playing -- and when -- is anyone's guess. It's a reflection of the newfound strength of the Browns' line that a solid, 11-year pro like Tucker may not immediately return to his starting position at right tackle.

And then there's center LeCharles Bentley.

Whispers inside the Browns complex persist that Bentley's recovery from four knee surgeries is proceeding so well that he may be able to play at some point this season. Bentley is on the physically unable to perform list at least through six games, after which he could begin practicing with the team for the first time in 18 months.

Now imagine an offensive line roster with a healthy Tucker and Bentley available in reserve. One can play tackle and guard and the other center and guard. That kind of depth has eluded the Browns since their last championship in 1964.

Through four games, the Browns rank 14th in sacks per pass play. That's a quantum jump from their No. 28 ranking at the end of 2006.

So how has the Browns' O-line been turned into a strength? There are several reasons.

More athletic talent: One critical change was upgrading both guard positions with players who could move out in space. Left guard Eric Steinbach and right guard Seth McKinney, both acquired in free agency, bring versatility to the running game. Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman, last year's starters, couldn't move as well laterally.

No. 1 draft pick Joe Thomas, also a good athlete, has been a quick learner and settled in immediately at the crucial left tackle position. He freed the Browns to move Kevin Shaffer to right tackle, where he seems more comfortable. Shaffer's improved play may keep Tucker on the bench for a while.

Different offensive system and coaches: Former line coach and offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson favored a zone-blocking scheme. New coordinator Rob Chudzinski scrapped that system and replaced it with more one-on-one power blocking in the running game. It agrees with the talent on hand.

Also, Chudzinski's offense is much more aggressive than the one originally run by Maurice Carthon. Linemen want to be aggressive, not passive. We've seen recently that Chud's offense can strike quickly. And everyone plays better ahead than from behind.

Davidson, the main line coach, and Jeff Uhlenhake, his assistant, were replaced by Steve Marshall and Mike Sullivan. They deserve credit for aiding the turnaround.

Change in quarterbacks: When General Manager Phil Savage traded quarterback Charlie Frye, he said the "the most revealing thing" about the opening loss to Pittsburgh was Frye's five sacks in 15 dropbacks, compared with Derek Anderson's one sack in 29 dropbacks. That evaluation has proved right on the mark.

There was a feeling that Frye's slowness to read a defense and pull the trigger made the line look worse than it was. Anderson may not be as mobile as Frye, but he gets rid of the ball much quicker, and linemen love that. He has been sacked only twice in 118 dropbacks.

Health and continuity: Continuity is a hallmark of every good offensive line in the NFL. It can be realized only by good fortune on the injury front.

Because of injuries, the Browns fielded five different offensive-line starting combinations in 2005 and five more in 2006. The unit suffered four injuries in both seasons.

So far this year, only Steinbach has missed a play because of an injury. He left the Baltimore game for one play with a stinger (sudden pain and tingling extending from the neck down to the fingers) in the first half. Steinbach returned in the second half.

Upgrade at running back: Jamal Lewis is the kind of back that can make a line look good. When he doesn't stutter-step, Lewis hits the smallest of holes for positive yardage. When there's enough room, he can accelerate into the secondary.

Lewis is a big upgrade over Reuben Droughns, who was restricted mostly to inside runs and didn't have that extra gear to motor by linebackers.

Hank Fraley: A year ago, Fraley came aboard the week of the season opener to rescue a center position decimated by injury, a walkout and a suspension. He was the sixth starting center when the season began and picked up things on the fly.

This year, Fraley had the benefit of a full off-season and training camp with the team. Still relatively new to the team, he was respected enough to be voted one of the team captains.


Sullivan was an offensive lineman at Miami, believes in an aggressive, power one-on-one blocking scheme, and helped turn around the offensive line in Cleveland. Of course, there was an infusion of talent, but it takes talent! His philosophy fits Smitty's. Football Outsiders' stats ranked CLE 3rd in Run Blocking and 5th in Pass Blocking.


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This is from a recent Ledbetter (AJC) article about the coaching hires:

The biggest void left on the staff is offensive line coach, where the team is looking to hire an experienced NFL coach to help rebuild and nurture what could be a very young unit.

I don't know whether Sullivan qualifies as an "experienced NFL coach."

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I have to admit that I, too, don't know a great deal about OL coaches. However, it certainly appears that the Brown's line improved under his coaching. Looks like he is a young guy, but has had success in his limited coaching career. I appreciate the post. These bios really help us track these potential coaches.

One question I had, it said Coach Sullivan was an Asst Line coach; does this mean if we hired him to OL coach that it would be a promotion. I was a bit confused about that as i didn't know if position coaches had Assistants.

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bgarcia28 (1/30/2008)
This is from a recent Ledbetter (AJC) article about the coaching hires:

The biggest void left on the staff is offensive line coach, where the team is looking to hire an experienced NFL coach to help rebuild and nurture what could be a very young unit.

I don't know whether Sullivan qualifies as an "experienced NFL coach."

You're right. He has limited experience. But the again, there isn't a whole lot of guys out there (that I have found anyway) that haven't been fired. And for some of the other good ones, it would be a lateral move.

I hope they hire a good one.

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