The Cleveland Browns announced on Monday their decision to fire head coach Rob Chudzinski. It was Chudzinski’s first season with the Browns, leading the team with a 4-12 record. With the firing, Cleveland will now be looking to hire its sixth head coach since 2004.
Shortly after news broke, a handful of potential candidates surfaced to take over the revolving door that is the Browns’ head coaching gig. Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated likes New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin, and Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton as early possible replacements for Chudzinski.
Whoever the Browns elect to go with will likely have to fit in with the team’s current staff. NFL.com’s Ian Rapaport is reporting that Cleveland will keep the current staff in tact as of Monday morning. Whether or not that changes remains to be seen, but it does add an interesting wrinkle to the search process.
The next head coach will have a few stars in the making on the roster in wide receiver Josh Gordon, cornerback Joe Haden, and left tackle Joe Thomas. Center Alex Mack is a free agent this offseason; however, it sounds like he would stay in Cleveland if the offer is right.
The Browns have the No. 4-overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, as well as the No. 26 pick. Cleveland could use those two picks to shore up the quarterback and running back situation.
Despite a 4-12 record in 2013, the incoming coach has some pieces to work with to get the franchise on the right track.
*UPDATE* Rapaport is reporting that the Browns already have their first candidate lined up, Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Quinn spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons in the same capacity with the Florida Gators.