The Cleveland Browns surprised us all by firing head coach Rob Chudzinski after just one season with the team, and he fell a day before “Black Monday”, when the firings usually set in. The Browns were just 4-12 this season and lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday, but not much was expected out of the Browns this season. They were actually competitive despite not having a franchise quarterback, but it seems like Chudzinski was fired for losing the trust and control of his players.
Regardless, the Browns have decided to move on from Chud, and it’s time for them to hire a new coach as they head into a critical offseason. They will almost certainly draft a quarterback this year, and they also have to re-sign key free agents Alex Mack and T.J. Ward. There are plenty of questions remaining, too, most namely at the running back position. The next head coach has to be a good one, and the Browns can’t afford to keep running through a carousel of head coaches; they need to get this one right and stick with him.
According to league sources close to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, two coaches expected to be pursued by the Cleveland Browns are San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Whisenhunt coached the Arizona Cardinals before being fired last year on “Black Monday”, and he’s done a great job with the playoff-bound Chargers this season. He has helped Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense perform at a high level, and he’s regarded as a solid head coaching option. McDaniels also has experience as a head coach, but his tenure with the Denver Broncos was pretty much an embarrassment. He does make sense for the Browns, though, since he knows an awful lot about coaching an offense and is another Bill Belichick disciple like GM Michael Lombardi. Whisenhunt seems to be a better hire for the Browns, but I wonder if the McDaniels-Lombardi connection will win the day.
Watch closely for defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who is an excellent defensive mind and has the trust of the players. He seems to be the Browns best option and is a top-notch internal candidate. Horton, by the way, has experience working with Whisenhunt, as he was Whisenhunt’s defensive coordinator in Arizona.