The Browns have interviewed almost a dozen candidates, mostly various assistants throughout the league. They have been publicly turned down by New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase is also not expected to pursue the Browns’ head coaching position upon completion of Denver’s Super Bowl run. There have also been rumors of Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops being an option, but there doesn’t seem to be much to that anymore.
There are several excellent candidates for the job. Seattle Seahawks DC Dan Quinn, former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak and San Francisco 49ers OC Greg Roman are three strong coaches who would be a good fit for Browns.
But the best option is current Broncos defensive coordinator and former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio. Del Rio has had a successful NFL coaching career and a successful playing career.
Del Rio was the Baltimore Ravens‘ linebackers coach when they won the Super Bowl in 2000. He became Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator in 2002 before becoming Jaguars head coach. Del Rio coached nine seasons in Jacksonville with an overall win-loss record of 68-71 and a 1-2 playoff record. He also went 3-1 as interim head coach of the Broncos this season, filling in for an ill John Fox. Del Rio showed strong qualities in taking over a Super Bowl-contending team mid-season and keeping everything moving forward smoothly.
He would bring toughness and discipline to the Browns, two qualities the franchise has lacked for many years. He would also be the first coach with NFL head coaching experience the Browns have hired since the franchise returned to the league as an expansion team in 1999.
Going the route of first-time head coaches has obviously not worked well for the Browns over the last decade. Del Rio brings nine years of NFL head coaching experience, defensive coordinator experience and an 11-year playing career.
The Browns have two first-round picks, some cap space and some talent on the defensive side of the ball. The No. 4 overall pick will likely be used on a quarterback, with Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater being top prospects in that spot. Josh Gordon was one of the top wide receivers in football, and Jordan Cameron emerged as a top tight end. They need to address running back as well.
There is plenty of talent in Cleveland, but coaching instability and serious problems at quarterback have held back this franchise for a very long time. Jack Del Rio is the right man to stabilize the franchise and bring a toughness that the city of Cleveland is known for but the Browns have generally lacked.