Who Will be Browns Next Head Coach?
The Cleveland Browns have a long, storied tradition of winning. Well, sort of. The original Browns won the championship (AAFC and NFL versions) eight times, and now they have two Super Bowls to their name – as the Baltimore Ravens. The new Cleveland Browns, who claim the history and lineage of the old Browns, have won jack-squat. They’ve been to the playoffs once since being reborn in 1999. And they haven’t had a winning season since 2007.
The stink around this Browns franchise has been particularly bad in recent years. Their owner since 2012, Jimmy Haslam III, also owns the Pilot Flying J company, which saw 17 former employees – but not Haslam – convicted of fraud-related charges. Too bad you can’t get a jail term for committing fraud on the football field. If Haslam and the Browns have ever been serious about turning this team around, they’re not showing it by their actions. They’ve burned through four head coaches and 14 starting quarterbacks since Haslam bought the club.
Don’t Let the Door Hit Hue
Better make that five coaches. Hue Jackson was given his walking papers on October 29, after racking up a record of 3-36-1. Funny thing: Jackson and the Browns looked like they might be on the upswing this year at 2-5-1 (5-3 ATS) entering Week 9. Whatever the case, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will handle things on an interim basis for now. But who will replace Jackson as Cleveland’s full-time head coach?
Good question – and one you can bet on. Odds for the next full-time Browns hire are on the board at BetOnline, and the candidates range from the top college prospects to some very familiar NFL names. Here’s how the list shakes out at press time:
Zac Taylor (+200): Currently the quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Rams under reigning AP Coach of the Year Sean McVay, Taylor will be in high demand this offseason – if the Browns want to wait that long.
Lincoln Riley (+300): Riley is the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, and it just so happens that Riley worked with Browns QB Baker Mayfield for three full seasons in Norman. He might decide that $4.8 million a year to run the Sooners isn’t enough.
John DeFilippo (+450): The former offensive coordinator for the Browns under Mike Pettine in 2015, DeFilippo has the same job with the Minnesota Vikings after winning the Super Bowl last year with the Philadelphia Eagles. Would he be willing to return to Cleveland knowing what he knows about this team?
Dave Toub (+1000): This is where the “value” picks begin. Toub is the special teams coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Andy Reid coaching tree has been raided several times the past couple of years.
Brian Flores (+1200): The Bill Belichick coaching tree has produced some sour fruit (including former Browns coach Romeo Crennel), but Flores has gotten some attention as New England’s defensive coordinator.
Dan Campbell (+1200): Sean Payton’s assistant head coach with the New Orleans Saints could be in the mix; Campbell did time as the interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015 after they fired Joe Philbin.
Gregg Williams (+1200): Finally, the first person on this list with full-on NFL head coaching experience. But nobody’s hired Williams for that gig since his failed three-year stint with the Buffalo Bills ended after the 2003 campaign.
Bill Belichick, Mike McCarthy (+1400): Belichick (the last head coach of the old Browns) and McCarthy (in his 13th year with the Green Bay Packers) could be winding things down with their current teams.
Jim Harbaugh, Urban Meyer (+1400): You can say the same thing about these two college giants. Harbaugh (Michigan) had success during his four years with the San Francisco 49ers, but will any NFL owner want to let him or Meyer (Ohio State) run the show, let alone Haslam?
Sean McVay (+2000): Dare to dream.