As Cleveland fans watched two more top-tier coaches fill vacant seats while their Browns remain without a leader, owner Jim Haslam penned a letter hoping to reassure his fan base a new head coach is coming.
As reported by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Haslam stated he and team officials believe their vacancy to be very “attractive,” with five Pro Bowlers and tons of salary cap space, and that they intended for the search to be a long process.
Haslam also stressed the team has interviewed many top candidates, but wanted to speak to everyone on their list, and knew from the outset they might have to wait for the playoffs to end.
According to Cabot, the Browns are specifically waiting out Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. The 35-year-old, along with help from quarterback Peyton Manning, guided the Broncos historic and top-ranked offense with 37.9 points and more than 457 total yards per game. If the Browns intend to draft a quarterback with their No. overall 4 pick in the upcoming draft, Gase would be an excellent mentor.
Hailing from Michigan, Gase worked his way up Detroit’s ladder, before a year in San Francisco, and finally landed in Denver in 2009. From there he worked his way up from receivers coach to offensive coordinator.
Gase, according to NFL.com, actually turned down initial overtures from both Cleveland and the Minnesota Vikings earlier this month, and is waiting for the playoffs to end. Denver next faces New England in Sunday’s AFC title game. Teams are only allowed to interview candidates during the weeks leading up to the conference title games and Super Bowl if it is a second meeting.
A snag would come in form of Gase’s agent Bob LaMonte, who also represents former Browns coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert, according to Cabot. Heckert is now director of pro personnel in Denver, and likely has Gase’s ear.
Many coaches might have likely been scared off after Haslam fired Rob Chudzinski after one season, despite guiding a young Cleveland defense to 10 th overall in the league.
Another big name linked to the Browns job is Mike Munchak, who was let go by Tennessee after spending more than 30 years with organization as a player and coach. Cleveland reportedly met with Munchak on Monday, but the Titans never ranked higher than 22 nd in the league in offense and were as low as 29 th in Munchak’s first year.
The Browns are reportedly looking for a more offensive-minded coach, which cuts down on Munchak’s chances, along with Seattle DC Dan Quinn, and Carolina’s Sean McDermott.
Assuming he’s been given permission to interview, McDermott could be a solid choice. In two years he took a Panthers defense that was ranked 28th to second in the league and first overall with 60 sacks.
Same goes for Quinn, who’s led the Seahawks No. 1 defense to the NFC title game for the third time in the franchise’s history.
Haslam’s words of encouragement come a day after two candidates dropped out. Green Bay quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo was hired by the New York Giants as their new offensive coordinator, and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles removed himself from consideration,
Detroit’s hiring of Jim Caldwell, and Ken Whisenhunt taking over in Tennessee, make the Browns one of two vacancies left around the league; Minnesota being the other.
[UPDATE] According to ESPN, the Minnesota Vikings have hired now former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.