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Browns OC Search, Meet the Candidate: John DeFilippo

Next on our review of the Browns potential OC replacements is John DeFilippo.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the Browns parting ways with Kyle Shanahan last Thursday morning, I thought it'd be best if we got to know our early candidates. (Ed. note: most of the ‘candidates' are names of coaches floated by various media members. I'm running with them as ‘candidates' until further evidence is presented to the contrary.)

Next on our list of candidates is John DeFilippo.

The skinny:

  • Born April 12, 1978 (age 36) in Youngstown, Ohio.
  • Played QB at James Madison University.
  • Began his coaching career in 2000 as a QB coach for Fordham University.
  • Broke into the NFL as an offensive quality control coach under Tom Coughlin with the New York Giants.
  • Named QB coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2007.
  • QB Coach for the New York Jets in 2009 - coached rookie Mark Sanchez, goes to AFC title game.
  • Serves as QB coach at San Jose State University in 2010, named OC in 2011 - offense jumps 32 spots nationally the year after he takes over as OC.
  • Returns to Oakland in 2012 as QB coach, his current position - in 2012 he coaches Carson Palmer, who has Raiders single-season second best passing total (4,018 yards).
  • Was considered for the OC opening last year.

Why he makes sense:

He's a Youngstown guy, duh!

The Browns are looking for some stability in their search for the next offensive coordinator. Given the fact the DeFilippo interviewed last year for the same position, before it was offered to now-departed Kyle Shanahan, it makes sense to give him another shot. By all indications, the interview went well, but they Browns favored the more seasoned Shanahan at the time.

Now that Shanahan is out of the picture, and DeFilippo has another year under his belt, it would make sense to consider him for the OC position available. He's considered another "QB guy," a trend that seems to be recurring for the Browns in their search for the next offensive coordinator.

Some may scoff at his age, 36, but he's been in the NFL coaching ranks almost a decade. He's considered a well-regarded QB coach, and many think he's ready to make the leap to coordinator.

In the article linked above from last year about this time, Denver Broncos quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp is interviewed regarding John DeFilippo. Knapp, who oversaw DeFilippo for three seasons in Oakland, had some good remarks about DeFilippo:

"Don't let his age fool you. He's like Adam Gase. He's got great knowledge and a great future ahead of him.''

He's of course comparing him to Adam Gase, the Broncos OC, and another up-and-coming QB guy that has been a hot-commodity the past few years. For the Browns to get a young, bright mind to coach their offense, would be a big step forward. Hopefully they'd be able to keep him around for more than a year, to help build some stability and consistency in the offense.

Why he makes no sense:

Every coach needs their "big break" at some point, but DeFilippo just isn't ready for his, yet. He's only been a quarterbacks coach and offensive quality control coach in the NFL, totaling 8 seasons. That just isn't a big enough sample size to see what he's capable of as a coordinator.

Sure, he was the OC For San Jose State, but that's San Jose State. He'd be taking the playcalling duties over for an NFL team, there's a big difference.

At just 36 years old he may be considered an up-and-coming guy, but the Browns need someone who is a veteran and is going to be able to lead the offense, and demand accountability.

DeFilippo just doesn't appear to be ready for that type of role yet. I'd think the Browns would be leaning towards a more established OC, with a proven past of playcalling.

Furthermore, he's regarded as a passing guy, something the Browns just aren't built for right now. He's coached some okay quarterbacks in his time, but a lot of them had way more attempts than I think the Browns would like to see. In 2012, while the QB coach with Oakland, the Raiders set a franchise record for attempts in a season with 629. For perspective, the 2014 Cleveland Browns had 502 attempts.

The Browns need an OC that will keep the offense relatively similar to last year, and employ the rushing attack, while relying on the defense to get stops. Mike Pettine is a defensive guy and preaches ball security. Until further notice, let's assume Johnny Manziel is the starter for opening day. Having a young, unproven QB with a ton of pass attempts isn't exactly the safest way to secure the ball.


Most of the points I made about him not making sense, were for the sake of the article and playing devil's advocate.

I genuinely think that the Browns need to hire an OC like DeFilippo, and perhaps he is the guy.

Cleveland needs to get in on the ground floor with a bright young mind to help steer the offense in the direction in which the NFL is headed. He's a passing guy, which may throw some off, but the league has been trending that direction for a while.

Ultimately, I think the Browns may be interviewing DeFilippo as an OC candidate, but in hopes that they could bring him on as the QB coach, and bring in a more established, veteran OC. Who knows if that's the case, but that's my guess. The Browns could then groom DeFilippo for a potential OC replacement down the road.

What do you all think of John DeFilippo as a potential OC candidate?