Josh McDaniels

Latest On Browns’ Coaching & GM Search

The Browns have their new head coach in Kevin Stefanski, but they still need a new GM after firing John Dorsey. They recently requested an interview with Eagles exec Andrew Berry, and Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports tweets that he’s “at the front of the GM candidates.”

Robinson notes that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam once said he considered Berry a future GM, and that he has a relationship with chief strategist Paul DePodesta. In a separate tweet, Robinson explains that it may come down to whether or not Berry wants to take the job. He notes that Berry, who used to work in Cleveland under former GM Sashi Brown, is only 32 and in a good situation in Philly. He also writes that Berry will likely get other calls if he passes on the job.

As for the search that ultimately ended in Stefanski, Robinson has some interesting new nuggets. He tweets that Josh McDanielswanted a specific structure with the Browns” and that he “wasn’t going to an org where DePodesta or anyone else was a ‘side jury’ reporting to Haslam.” If that’s the case, then it sounds like McDaniels never got too close to landing in Cleveland despite his lengthy visit. The Browns and Haslam have caught plenty of flak for their odd reporting structures, and it sounds like that was an issue once again this time around. 

Robinson also tweets that both Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh “had very good interviews” and that he thinks they were the finalists along with Stefanski. Both should be hot names during next cycle. As for Stefanski’s staff, Robinson tweets that the rookie head coach will likely target either Gary or Klint Kubiak. The Kubiaks were on staff with Stefanski in Minnesota, although Robinson thinks the Vikings will try to retain both. Either could be a candidate to be Cleveland’s new OC assuming Stefanski hires one.

Finally, Robinson tweeted about the future prospects for assistant GM Eliot Wolf and VP of Player Personnel Alonzo Highsmith. He thinks the Haslams are open to both staying, and that Wolf will have a conversation with whoever the new GM is about a role.

Coaching Notes: McDaniels, Browns, Judge, Giants, Rams, Cowboys

Josh McDaniels left his Browns visit without a deal, and the latest word is that Cleveland will take the weekend to mull things over. While they’ve been careful not to tip their hand too much, Michael Lombardi of The Athletic tweets that it’s not a good sign McDaniels went back home without a contract. Lombardi was the first to suggest that now former Browns GM John Dorsey might be in danger, so he’s certainly plugged into the situation. A report from earlier this morning indicated that McDaniels, Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz were the three finalists, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets that “multiple people around the league” believe it’s down to McDaniels and Stefanski. If Lombardi and Fowler are both correct, then that would seem to indicate Stefanski is the favorite as of right now.

Here’s more from the coaching ranks:

  • The Giants gave Joe Judge a five-year contract to be their head coach, sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s not the massive seven-year deal that Matt Rhule got from the Panthers, but it’s a significant commitment nonetheless. It’s especially noteworthy since, as Schefter points out, each of New York’s last two coaches have been given two years or less on the job. Simply to avoid the reputation of being coach-killers, the Giants’ ownership will likely give Judge a somewhat lengthy leash.
  • Cleveland is the only team with a head-coaching vacancy, but the dust has yet to settle for plenty of assistant coaches. There are still a lot of openings around the league, and it looks like a bidding war is brewing between the Rams and Cowboys. Both Los Angeles and Dallas are fighting to make Stan Drayton their next running backs coach, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com (Twitter link). Drayton is currently the run-game coordinator at Texas. Brandt notes that Drayton coached Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State, which explains the Cowboys’ interest. It’ll be interesting to see whether he picks Sean McVay or Mike McCarthy.
  • In case you missed it, Rhule is looking to bring his defensive coordinator from Baylor with him to fill the same position in Carolina.

Browns Still Mulling Coaching Hire

The Browns completed their interview with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Friday, but they not quite ready to make their decision, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. The Browns’ coaching search will roll on, likely with McDaniels, Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski, and Eagles DC Jim Schwartz representing the three finalists. 

[RELATED: 2020 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker]

The Browns watched the Redskins, Cowboys, Panthers, and Giants beat them to the punch in their head coaching searches. That stripped away candidates like Mike McCarthy, but it also left the Browns with their pick of the remaining litter. At this time, the Browns are the only NFL team in search of a head coach.

Despite all of their dysfunction over the years, the Browns job holds obvious appeal – and not just because they’re the only game in town. Quarterback Baker Mayfield still stands as one of the most dynamic players at his position with potential to rebound from his rocky 2019. Meanwhile, he’s surrounded by seriously talented weapons including Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and pending free agent Kareem Hunt.

Some feel that McDaniels would be the best hire and the right coach to get the most out of the team’s offensive talent. Still, Stefanski is also a highly-respected offensive mind and there’s also a case for the Browns to tighten up their defense under someone like Schwartz.

We’ve been hearing that the Browns are looking to make their decision by Saturday, so the search could be coming to its conclusion very soon.

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Latest On Browns’ Head Coaching Search

The Browns are set to meet with Josh McDaniels today. The Patriots offensive coordinator also brought his wife Laura along with him, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), which could be an indication that McDaniels is poised to land the head coaching job. 

The Browns don’t necessarily have to rush to make a hire, but they’ve reportedly aiming to make a hire by Saturday. McDaniels is the last of three candidates to interview this week, and it’s believed that the hire will ultimately come from that trio of the Pats OC, Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski, and Eagles DC Jim Schwartz.

The search is being spearheaded by Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, who has a good relationship with Schwartz. However, the final decision will be made by owner Jimmy Haslam, and McDaniels is a northeast Ohio native with an impressive resume.

McDaniels, 43, has interviewed with the Browns twice before. He met with the Browns during previous owner Randy Lerner‘s tenure in 2009, before the team hired Eric Mangini. McDaniels withdrew his name from consideration after interviewing in 2014, when current owner Jimmy Haslam was in charge. Before he bowed out in ’14, he was believed to be the favorite.

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Latest On Browns’ Coaching Search

Part 1 of the final leg of Browns interviews took place Wednesday, with Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz sitting down with team brass. Despite being a late entry into this process, Schwartz continues to gain steam.

The former Lions head coach is a legitimate candidate to land this job, per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, who is running this search, already has a good relationship with Schwartz, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (video link).

Kevin Stefanski is up next, with that interview set to take place Thursday in Minneapolis. Stefanski impressed during two interviews for this job last year, but Rapoport notes that while John Dorsey ran the search that ended with Freddie Kitchens, owner Jimmy Haslam also nixed a potential Stefanski-Browns union. While DePodesta now has greater say in how the Browns proceed here, Haslam certainly still will make the call.

Josh McDaniels‘ interview remains on for Friday. The longtime Patriots OC has interviewed with his hometown team twice before. Although McDaniels withdrew his name from consideration for the Browns job in 2014 and backed out of a Colts agreement four years later, Rapoport adds that the 43-year-old assistant “definitely wants” this job. However, he may no longer be the favorite.

The Browns have interviewed several others in this search, which is slated to be an eight-interview process. But at this point it would be a bit of a surprise if one of these final three did not end up with the job. The team is aiming to have a coach by Saturday. Here is where the Browns’ process stands as of Wednesday night, courtesy of PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker:

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Matt Rhule Preferred Giants To Panthers?

On Tuesday, Matt Rhule signed on as the new coach of the Panthers. However, the former Baylor head coach preferred the Giants job, according to a source who spoke with Ralph Vacchiano of SNY

After receiving a whopping seven-year, $62MM offer from the Panthers – a deal that could reach $70MM, through incentives – Rhule called the Giants to see if they would be willing to match. The Giants asked Rhule to meet with them in person, but Rhule pressed for a more definitive answer. When the Giants informed him that they would not match on the money or length of the deal, Rhule cancelled his Giants interview and accepted the Panthers offer, out of fear that owner David Tepper would pivot to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

In the weeks leading up to the hire of Joe Judge, Rhule was the Giants’ top target in their search. However, the Giants insist that they preferred the Patriots assistant, even when putting finances aside. Judge floored the Giants in his interview and Vacchiano hears that he came with a sterling recommendation from Bill Belichick.

It doesn’t matter how we got here,” one team source told Vacchiano. “We feel we got the right guy. And I think everyone will be happy in the end.”

Ron Rivera was also linked to the Giants job by many, due to his history with GM Dave Gettleman. The Giants had interest in the 58-year-old, but Vacchiano hears that he was not considered a priority, even before he was hired by the rival Redskins.

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Latest On Browns’ HC Search

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:

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Coaching Notes: McDaniels, Cowboys, Rhule

Two years ago, Josh McDaniels had assistants ready to follow him to the Colts. Multiple staffers did so, even though the Patriots assistant backed out of the agreement. This time around, McDaniels looks to have a staff lined up again. McDaniels is now “very much ready” to leave New England, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, adding that the longtime Patriots play-caller has Redskins OC Kevin O’Connell and Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon set to be key players on his staff (should McDaniels accept a job if offered). The Redskins are interested in retaining O’Connell, their offensive coordinator this season, but his NFL years began as a quarterback under McDaniels during the latter’s first stint as Patriots OC. Gannon joined the Colts’ staff in 2018. Like McDaniels, Gannon is a Cleveland-area native. He was a scout with the Rams during McDaniels’ one season in St. Louis.

McDaniels is the frontrunner for the Browns job. He will interview with the Panthers on Tuesday, the Giants on Wednesday and the Browns on Friday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Here is the latest from the coaching carousel:

  • Matt Rhule had issues with the Jets attempting to overrule him on staff decisions, but Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes the Giants would not do the same. The Giants would let Rhule select his assistants, and the Baylor HC is believed to have candidates in place to follow him to New York if hired. Former Giants assistant and current Lions QBs coach Sean Ryan and Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow are believed to be Rhule’s coordinator choices should he land either the Giants’ or Panthers’ HC jobs, Vacchiano reports. Ryan, 47, held a key role with the Texans from 2017-18 but was with the Giants for nine years, including in 2012, when Rhule was on staff. Snow, 64, has been Rhule’s DC at Temple and Baylor. He coached with the Lions from 2005-08.
  • Had the Jets hired Rhule last year, Jets management would have insisted Gregg Williams be attached as defensive coordinator, per Vacchiano. Previous GM Mike Maccagnan also had an issue with Ryan bringing brought aboard as OC. Ryan ended up in Detroit instead.
  • As for Giants incumbent defensive coordinator James Bettcher, the front office was not exactly pleased with his game management nor were Giants brass happy with the entire defensive staff, Vacchiano adds. Lacking in talent and depth at linebacker and cornerback, the Giants ranked 31st in pass-defense DVOA. Bettcher’s better-stocked defensive front, however, produced the No. 7 run-defense DVOA figure.
  • Not only is Mike McCarthy a fan of 30-year-old Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, Jerry Jones spoke of his desire to keep the young coordinator on staff in each of the Cowboys’ interviews, Breer notes. The Cowboys promoted Moore to OC last year, and Dak Prescott had by far his best season as a passer under the former Dallas quarterback’s guidance.
  • The Falcons will not retain passing-game coordinator/defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, according to The Athletic’s Jason Butt (on Twitter). Henderson has been with the Falcons since 2016. Additionally, the Falcons interviewed Joe Whitt for their secondary coach position, Butt notes. Whitt spent the 2007 season as Atlanta’s assistant DBs coach before being on Green Bay’s staff for the next 10 seasons. He coached the Browns’ DBs under Freddie Kitchens.

Coaching Rumors: Panthers, Rhule, McDaniels

The latest from around the NFL:

  • Saints assistant Mike Nolan is a name to watch as new Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy searches for his next defensive coordinator, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) hears.
  • The Panthers‘ interview with Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski will take place in Minneapolis on Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) reports. The Browns could also schedule a chat with Stefanski for that same day. During Stefanski’s first full season at the helm, the Vikings ranked as a top-10 offense in points. With Stefanski on the sidelines, the Vikings also managed a 26-20 win over the Saints on Sunday to advance to the divisional round.
  • The Giants‘ interview with Baylor head coach Matt Rhule has been scheduled for Tuesday, Schefter hears. After that, they’ll meet with Patriots OC Josh McDaniels on Wednesday. Both interviews will take place in New Jersey.
  • At least 4 NFL teams have expressed interest in former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur as an offensive coordinator, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) hears. Shurmur has also heard from “a college team or two.” Shurmur was fired by the Giants after amassing a 9-23 record over the course of two disappointing seasons.

Latest On Josh McDaniels’ Plans

Josh McDaniels will honor each of his interview requests in this hiring period. In addition to meeting with the Browns, the Patriots offensive coordinator will sit down with the Giants and Panthers this week.

Prior to the Pats’ playoff loss to the Titans on Saturday night, those interviews were expected to take place Friday, January 10, in Foxborough, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). But now that New England has been bounced from the postseason, the three interested clubs will get to hear from McDaniels starting on Monday, January 6, as Michael Lombardi of The Athletic tweets. The Panthers, though, will meet with McDaniels on January 10 as planned, given that they are busy with other interviews (via David Newton of ESPN.com).

Veteran NFL reporter Ed Werder also believes the Cowboys, who have not been formally connected to McDaniels just yet, to have interest in him (Twitter link).

While the Browns met with McDaniels back in 2014, the Giants have also interviewed him previously. They did so two years ago for a job that went to the recently fired Pat Shurmur.

McDaniels, however, may have a clearer path to the Cleveland or Carolina jobs. Skepticism exists on the New York front. Some around the league have doubted the 43-year-old assistant is as interested in the Giants as they are in him, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, who adds that Dave Gettleman‘s role may pose a problem for McDaniels. Gettleman being in place as Big Blue’s GM would not necessarily be a deal-breaker, but McDaniels’ potential demand for more say in personnel matters does not appear to be what Giants ownership prefers.

Despite McDaniels’ previous run with personnel power going poorly (with the Broncos in 2009-10, the Browns will likely be willing to give the Ohio native such a role. They plan to hire a coach before adding a GM, and McDaniels is believed to be the frontrunner for the Cleveland position. The Panthers have GM Marty Hurney in place, but with the two-stint Carolina executive being hired before David Tepper bought the team, that situation is fluid. Gettleman has said he would cede some power if it would help the Giants, Vacchiano adds the team is not likely to offer its next coach such an opportunity.

McDaniels will want a personnel staffer he trusts to accompany him to New York, per Vacchiano. But John Mara said whomever the Giants hire will not determine Gettleman’s role, so a McDaniels-Nick Caserio partnership in New York seems unlikely to commence. Regardless, McDaniels’ stock has returned to where it was before he spurned the Colts in 2018.

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