The Cleveland Browns coaching search has been filled with many twists and turns, and they were spurned by their original two top candidates. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was the first guy the Browns targeted, but he decided to stick around in New England due to a more stable situation with the likes of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady instead of joining Jimmy Haslam, Joe Banner, and the Browns. The next top candidate for the Browns was Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, but he too decided to stick around with Peyton Manning and the more stable situation with the AFC Champion Broncos.
After being rejected by McDaniels and Gase, the Browns have since turned to defense-minded head coaching candidates instead of offense-minded head coaches, mostly because the best candidates available are defensive coordinators. While the Browns defense is set and they have major problems on offense (no franchise QB, feature back, or legit No. 2 WR to help out Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron), the Browns best bet at this point is to hire a defense-minded head coach and a strong offensive coordinator. And oh by the way, the Browns lost top-notch coordinators Norv Turner and Ray Horton to the Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans respectively.
The Browns third top candidate was Seattle Seahawks DC Dan Quinn, but it appears that they aren’t willing to wait until the conclusion of the Super Bowl to speak with Quinn; it looks like they want to make their decision now. Both Quinn and the Browns have mutual interest, and he’s a solid option. However, Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who was previously the New York Jets DC, looks like the better option, and he is among the best in the NFL on the defensive side of the ball. Pettine knows blitz schemes as well as anyone, and he’s coaxed the best out of talented-but-inconsistent former first-round picks Leodis McKelvin and Jerry Hughes, who can now shed the bust labels.
Although the Browns haven’t hired Pettine as previously reported, it looks like they could be close to hiring the Bills defensive coordinator as their new head coach. And according to CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora, if the Browns do hire Pettine- as is expected- then Green Bay Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt would be high on his list as his offensive coordinator in Cleveland. Van Pelt would be a very strong hire, as he is one of the league’s best position coaches and yet another Packers head coach primed for an OC promotion (former QBs coach Ben McAdoo is now the New York Giants offensive coordinator, and he was previously in the running for the Browns head coaching job).