The Browns head coach search remains in progress, seven busy days following the firing of second-year man Mike Pettine. I’ll use this space to update the state of the search, based on both official and reported developments.
So here’s a list of the candidates, with the strongest and most likely contenders nearest the top:
- Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, interviewed twice: January 10 and 12. Has also interviewed with 49ers and is scheduled to meet January 14 with the Giants.
- Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, interviewed January 9. Team still in playoffs, so hiring could not occur until the Patriots’ season is complete.
- Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, interviewed January 10. Also interviewed with Buccaneers. Team still in playoffs, so hiring could not occur until the Panthers’ season is complete.
- Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson, interviewed January 8.
- Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, interviewed January 6.
- Jaguars assistant head coach/offensive line coach Doug Marrone, interviewed January 7. May not be seen mutually as a good fit, though he also interviewed with Browns in 2013 before accepting the Bills head coaching job. Giants also interested.
- Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, interviewed for 49ers’ head coach job, no confirmation of his being considered as such by Browns. He’s one of four Browns assistants the organization would like the next head coach to consider retaining.
- Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, rumored interest but no interview confirmed.
- Former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, rumored interest but no interview confirmed.
- Former Raiders/Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden is reportedly not interested in leaving his ESPN broadcasting role to return to coaching, though he has a connection to the Browns and to their owner.
- Former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has not been definitively linked with the Browns’ current coaching search. He was considered a top candidate in 2013.
- Bears offensive coordinator
Adam Gase, interviewed January 6, but later hired as Dolphins’ head coach.
At the risk of sounding defensive, it’s likely that not everything at play in the Browns head coach search has been made public. There may be an X factor somewhere, a coach under consideration — perhaps from the college ranks — who remains under the radar. But right now, the pursuit of Hue Jackson is real. If he goes elsewhere, expect the Browns to turn to McDermott or Patricia, either of whose availability may be complicated by their teams’ playoff success.