Both the Cardinals and Browns are interested in hiring former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano as defensive coordinator, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Pagano may indeed be the favorite for the Arizona job, per Somers.
Pagano, 58, didn’t coach last season after being fired by Indianapolis, but he’s generated plenty of interest during the 2019 hiring cycle. He interviewed for both the Packers and Broncos head coaching positions, and has since been mentioned as candidate to take over as the Jets’ defensive coordinator under new head coach Adam Gase. Just today, Pagano interviewed for a defensive backs coach position with the Panthers.
The Cardinals are looking for a veteran defensive coordinator to pair with rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury, and Pagano — who’s been coaching the NFL for nearly two decades — would certainly fit that bill. He also runs a 3-4 defense, the same scheme which Arizona prefers to deploy. Thus far, the only other candidate that’s been linked to the Cardinals’ DC gig is longtime NFL coach Dom Capers.
Like Arizona, Cleveland also hired a first-time head coach. Freddie Kitchens was a positional coach to open the 2018 season and had never ever served as a coordinator until midway through last year, so he could use an experienced defensive play-caller at his side. After installing Kitchens as their head coach, the Browns parted ways with former interim head coach/DC Gregg Williams and a number of defensive assistants. Cleveland is set to interview former Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph for their defensive coordinator position on Friday.
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