The Cleveland Browns have mostly keyed in on offense-minded head coaches to fill the vacancy left by Rob Chudzinski, who was fired after just one year on the job, and the Browns previously looked at plenty of college head coaches before ultimately moving away from those candidates. Despite Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase being the Browns top target, it looks like the Browns have a much better chance at landing a defense-minded head coach. Gase has spoken with people who believe it is in his best interest to stay with the Broncos, and Gase reportedly prefers to stay with Peyton Manning and the more stable Broncos organization rather than pursue the Browns opening. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was in the same exact position as Gase and was initially the Browns clear-cut favorite, but he too opted to stay.
Although he hasn’t been ruled out as an option, I wouldn’t be surprised if news broke soon that Gase has taken himself off the table. As it stands now, he’s a very unlikely hire for the organization, and the brain trust will reap what they sow after firing Chudzinski without much merit to their argument.
FOX Sports’s Jay Glazer reports that Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who like Gase cannot be interviewed until his elite team ends its playoff run either by losing or winning it all, has more interest in the Browns opening than Gase. That’s not surprising to hear, but it is great news for the Browns that at least one high-level coordinator has significant interest in being their next head coach. The Browns would need a strong offensive coordinator and play-caller if they hire a defense-minded head coach, since they are set on defense (even if they did lose Ray Horton, but losing Norv Turner was also a blow). Quinn is an excellent DC, though he is helped plenty by Pete Carroll and the incredible talent on the Seahawks defense.
Glazer reports that the Browns are “high” on Quinn, so he is definitely a name to watch for closely. Quinn has been heavily linked to the Browns in the past, so this news isn’t surprising. What I think is more interesting is the last line in Glazer’s report, which states that the Browns had a successful interview with Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who is a big darkhorse for the opening. Pettine formerly worked as the DC of the New York Jets under Rex Ryan, and I think he’s an even better coach than Quinn. If you look at what he’s done in Buffalo coaxing big seasons out of former bust Jerry Hughes and CB Leodis McKelvin, you’ll see that Pettine is an expert at concocting blitzes and developing talented players.