The first impression you get of Pat Shurmur is that he almost seems too laid back to be a coach in the NFL.
That could change once the regular season starts and the reality of coaching the Cleveland Browns sets in. There definitely will be rough times as he tries to do what four men previously tried to accomplish with limited success.
As of now Shurmur can have an easy-going way about him. It's early in camp, which means there are no losses to explain to disgruntled fans. Heck, he still hasn't installed everything in his playbook.
Shurmur can also rest easier knowing that he's not on a hot seat. No matter what happens this season, he's assured of a job next year.
Remember, team president Mike Holmgren said that Shurmur is the first and last head coach he will hire. That could eventually change, but for now Shurmur has job security.
What he doesn't have are enough offensive playmakers and impact defenders to make a run at the playoffs. No one knows, of course, how the additions of draft choices and a few free agents will change things, but the Browns would have to hit the lottery with every player to make the playoffs.
The Browns have been criticized for not making more moves in free agency. Actually, they did make some moves, but none had the sex appeal of some of the signings of high-level players by other teams.
The biggest addition to the Browns is probably running back Brandon Jackson, who played a significant role for the Green Bay Packers in their run to a Super Bowl championship last season. Jackson will be a focal point as a receiving threat on third down, and he could end up getting plenty of carries in support of Peyton Hillis.
Beyond Jackson, there were no major additions. Safety Usama Young, who previously was a backup for the New Orleans Saints, is expected to replace Abe Elam at free safety. He's probably better than Elam, but he's not considered an elite talent.
There may be a method to the plan, and it has to do with the salary cap in future years. More specifically it has to do with the minimum amount teams are required to spend, which was a key negotiating point in the collective bargaining agreement that was signed last week.
The new deal requires teams to spend up to 89 percent of the cap, which is set at $120 million this season. That would force teams to spend at least $106.8 million, a figure the Browns are about $14.4 million below.
Those figures, however, don't kick in until the 2013 season. All 32 teams must combine to spend 99 percent of the cap (a staggering $3.814 billion) this season. Much of a potential shortfall by teams under spending will be made up by teams dipping into a reserve pool, which effectively increases the cap figure to $123 million.
It sounds complicated, but it really isn't. Simply put, the Browns seem to be willing to spend far below the cap this year and wait until next year, when they have two first-round draft choices, to make a big dive into the free-agent market.
That course of action won't sit well with losing-weary fans, but it makes sense. The Browns aren't a Super Bowl contender. Barring something miraculous, they aren't a playoff contender.
The Browns don't know if they have their quarterback of the future in Colt McCoy or if they'll be in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes next season (two first-round draft choices provide powerful trade bait to move up to the top spot). There are weak spots throughout the lineup that seemingly will prevent a major turnaround this season.
That's why the Browns are sitting pat, and it's the reason why Shurmur isn't squirming in his seat.