Coaching searches provide a full range of emotions for fans of both professional and college football.
A perceived unqualified hire can deliver skepticism and disapproval, while a promising fresh face can fetch excitement and hope.
The process is underway in Cleveland. The Browns fired head coach Rob Chudzinski on Dec. 29 in light of a 4-12 season, and Browns fans have made their feelings clear on each and every rumor or report that has been put out.
Two of the Browns’ top choices are already out of the race. The Texans hired former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, and New England Patriots offensive coordinator (and JCU alum) Josh McDaniels took himself out of consideration.
What do the Browns do now? I’m not sure anyone knows, but I’m here to break down a few of the remaining candidates who may be roaming the sidelines of First Energy Stadium when the 2014 season kicks off.
Adam Gase: Offensive Coordinator, Denver Broncos
Fans have been wary of Gase as a candidate due to quarterback Peyton Manning’s de facto role as offensive coordinator of the team. But Gase deserves more respect than he’s given. He has helped Manning to his best year as a pro while also instituting a modern and dynamic offense unique to the Broncos. The fiery 35-year-old coach has stated that he will not interview with any teams until Denver’s season is over. I have a feeling this is the guy the Browns want, but until the Broncos lose there is not a chance to get an interview. Browns fans should be hoping for a Chargers win over the Broncos lose to the Patriots in the AFC Championship.
Ken Whisenhunt: Offensive Coordinator, San Diego Chargers
The conditioned former head coach has found success in just about every aspect of his career. He helped a young Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers win Super Bowl XL with his smash-mouth style of offense, and then moved on to head the Arizona Cardinals, where he molded a fitting offense for quarterback Kurt Warner and made a Super Bowl run. In his most recent stop, Whisenhunt has helped Phillip Rivers and the Chargers reach the divisional round of the playoffs. Everywhere he’s been, Whisenhunt has played to his players strengths well. This year has been no different, as Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers is a Comeback Player of the Year candidate. I think this is the hire most fans would like to see, and it would be hard to argue against hiring a seasoned head coach like Whisenhunt.
Ben McAdoo: Quarterbacks Coach, Green Bay Packers
Woah, woah…who? McAdoo’s name was popping up all over Twitter feeds after it was announced that the Browns would interview the position coach. McAdoo is looking to make the move to offensive coordinator, or possibly head coach, after many years with Mike McCarthy. So why is McAdoo being considered? Well, part of it may be that the Browns trying to find the next big thing before anyone else. The other part is his work with the five different quarterbacks the Packers have trotted out the last two years. He was able to get the most out of Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien, which is a big task, helping the Packers make the playoffs without the services of Aaron Rodgers for much of the season. Although it’s a long shot for McAdoo to be heading the orange and brown next year, he should be a name you remember.
Pete Carmichael: Offensive Coordinator, New Orleans Saints
Carmichael’s name has not been tossed around as much this offseason as it was last, but I think he could be someone the Browns look to if all else fails. The Saints have been defined by their offense. Although Head Coach Sean Payton gets most of the credit for the Saints’ offensive success, Carmichael deserves his share of respect. Plus, I don’t know many offensive coaches who wouldn’t like to call their own plays and show they can run a successful offense on their own.
Greg Roman: Offensive Coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
One of many successful John Carroll alumni in the NFL, Roman can be credited for running one the league’s most unique offenses. Roman has shown adaptability when working with quarterbacks, as Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick have totally differing styles. Even though his name hasn’t been tied with the Browns, I would like to see him get an interview with the Browns. I’d like to see what kind of innovating things he could do with whoever the Browns quarterbacks will be in 2014.
Yes, I have not highlighted any defensive coaches and you might be wondering why. The answer is that it’s a passing league, and with the high chance of a new quarterback being selected in May, an offensive coach would be best suited to groom the next face of the franchise.
Dark Horses/longshots: Gus Malzahn (Auburn HC), Darrell Bevell (Seahawks OC), Jim Schwartz (former Lions HC), Dan Quinn (Seahawks DC), and Todd Bowles (Chiefs OC).
Darkest of Dark Horses: Jim Tressel