It's happening... again. One by one, the Cleveland Browns' top candidates for the head coaching vacancy are being ruled out as they opt for jobs elsewhere or even staying put.
The latest name to be crossed off the list is the one that has long been speculated to be the favorite for the position, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Adam Schefter, NFL insider for ESPN, reported this afternoon that McDaniels has removed himself from consideration for the Browns' opening.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has withdrawn from consideration for the Cleveland Browns HC job, per a league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 8, 2014
Schefter added that according to someone who knows McDaniels, he had "an awesome" meeting with the Browns, but it wasn't the right time for him to become a head coach.
Had he taken the job, it would have been his second attempt to be a head coach in the NFL after his first try ended quite badly, dismantling the Denver Broncos' offense and drafting Tim Tebow in the first round of the 2010 draft. He was fired before the end of that season following a video taping scandal.
Disaster averted in Cleveland? If so, it appears to have occurred despite the front office's best effort. Will Burge, featured Browns columnist for Bleacher Report, said "that job was McDaniels' if he wanted it," according to a source.
Source just told me, "make no mistake that job was McDaniels' if he wanted it. Thats the guy (they) wanted and missed." #Browns
— Will Burge (@WillBurge) January 8, 2014
The report seems to coincide with much of what has been rumored and speculated since news of Rob Chudzinski's firing first broke.
At this point, you might be thinking – "we've seen this movie before" – the ending of the last iteration was just mentioned and came down not but just over a week ago.
Synopsis: Fail to bring in Plan A. Plans B and C end up elsewhere. Hire Plan D and fire him less than a year later.
Now, while many may view not landing McDaniels as a blessing in disguise and with good reason, all signs point toward the organization wanting him here, whether the driving force was Haslam, Banner, Lombardi or all three. They failed to get that done.
It's a sad state of affairs when public perception of a management failure is widely viewed as a potential positive in the long run. Regardless, Browns fans should take silver linings anyway they can get them.
Moving forward, the question becomes where do they go from here?
Though they weren't largely considered "top" candidates, several interviewees remain available:
- Ben McAdoo - Packers QB coach - interviewed
- Dan Quinn - Seahawks DC - interviewed
- Todd Bowles - Cardinals DC - interviewed
- Adam Gase - Broncos OC - opting not to interview until after team's postseason
- James Franklin - Vanderbilt head coach - reported likely to take Penn State job if offered
- Gus Malzahn - Auburn head coach - reported he "spurred" extension with Auburn
Josh McDaniels- Patriots OC - interviewed, opting to stay with Patriots
Ultimately, this hiring will be judged by wins. Not the weight of his name.