The Browns are no longer competing with any team for coaching candidates, with the Panthers and Giants having made their choices. However, neither hired a coach the Browns were considering. Both were linked to Josh McDaniels, who remains set to interview with the Browns on Friday.
But with Jim Schwartz entering the derby and Kevin Stefanski remaining a Browns target, McDaniels’ status as frontrunner may be slipping. The Patriots offensive coordinator may not have the edge Schwartz or Stefanski, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link).
Stefanski wowed Browns brass in his 2019 interview, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer adds. But then-GM John Dorsey promoted Freddie Kitchens instead. With Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta running this year’s search, the team appears to be seeking analytically geared coaches. Schwartz and Stefanski profile as embracing analytics, per Rapoport.
McDaniels, however, still has support in the Browns building, Cabot notes, adding that DePodesta and ex-Browns exec Andrew Berry (now with the Eagles) would be interested in a reunion. However, Cabot points to said reunion being most likely to commence with Stefanski as the head coach.
McDaniels’ interview will occur Friday — two days after Schwartz’s and one day after Stefanski’s. A northeast Ohio native, the 43-year-old McDaniels has interviewed with the Browns twice before. He met with the Browns during previous owner Randy Lerner‘s tenure in 2009, but the team hired Eric Mangini. McDaniels withdrew his name from consideration after interviewing in 2014, when current owner Jimmy Haslam was in charge. The Browns conducted a lengthy search in 2014; McDaniels was once believed to be the favorite during that process as well. The Browns want to make their hire by Saturday, so second interviews do not appear to be on tap.
Here is where the Browns’ process stands as of Tuesday night, courtesy of PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker:
- Eric Bieniemy, offensive coordinator (Chiefs): Interviewed on 1/3
- Brian Daboll, offensive coordinator (Bills): Interviewed on 1/6
- Mike LaFleur, pass-game coordinator (49ers): Expected to interview
- Mike McDaniel, run-game coordinator (49ers): Expected to interview
- Josh McDaniels, offensive coordinator (Patriots): To interview on 1/10
- Urban Meyer, former head coach (Ohio State): Mentioned as candidate; team denied interest
- Greg Roman, offensive coordinator (Ravens): Interviewed on 1/2
- Robert Saleh, defensive coordinator (49ers): Interviewed on 1/4
- Jim Schwartz, defensive coordinator (Eagles): To interview on 1/8
- Kevin Stefanski, offensive coordinator (Vikings): To interview on 1/9
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