The Cleveland Browns have yet to hire any assistant coaches on the offensive side of the ball, but there was some news that came along on Saturday that indicated that significant changes are on the horizon. Let's recap all of that news below.
John DeFilippo Not Being Retained
#Browns have informed OC John DeFilippo that he has been released from his contract, source said.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) January 16, 2016
In his first year as an offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo was viewed as a bright spot on the coaching staff who made the most out of the talent he was given. The team ranking 25th on offense (22nd in the run, 21st in the pass), and were pitiful in the red zone (32nd). They were also 30th in the league in points per game at 17.4 points per game. Many fans who watched the games, though, understood that the playcalling itself was typically pretty solid, and for a first-year coordinator, he made adjustments as the year went along, including in the run blocking scheme during the final quarter of the season.
With that said, DeFilippo's departure will be a quick afterthought before long since Hue Jackson is our head coach. He has already preached about how head coaches should use their innovation to their advantage, and it's expected that he will be the team's "offensive coordinator" in 2016. Jackson has already said on the radio that he's not going to have a separate "offensive coordinator" this year.
Pep Hamilton Highly Coveted by Hue Jackson
The Indianapolis Colts fired offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton this past season. As Stampede Blue points out, "last year, he was regarded as one of the hottest up and coming head coaching candidates." With that type of promise, Jackson wants him as his right hand man in 2016 to help run things on offense, without the designated title of "offensive coordinator."
I'm told Pep Hamilton is considering the position/title of Asst Head Coach/ Offense with the #Browns, at this time. Would be an adjustment.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) January 16, 2016
Hamilton is considering the offer but is probably weighing whether the position would help or hurt his chances of being a head coach in 2017 and beyond. Would he be better off finding a place where he can call plays himself, or would the mere association with Jackson (if his offense is successful) boost his stock again?
Running Game Coordinator Denied by Vikings
What is a "running game coordinator?" My understanding is that is that the position would oversee the run blocking of and communication between the offensive line, running backs and tight ends, as opposed to only focusing on running backs. It seems like an innovative approach for the NFL level, and Jackson had his eyes set on Minnesota Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson. However, the Vikings see it as a lateral move and have denied his request at this time:
CLE sought MIN RB coach Kirby Wilson to be the #Browns running game coord, but I’m told Wilson was informed request was denied at this time.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) January 16, 2016
The Browns might not be done trying to press the Vikings, though, and Jackson might try to do some convincing with his former pal Mike Zimmer.
Fritz Pollard's John Wooten will lobby #Vikings to let Kirby Wilson take #Browns running game coordinator job despite fact request denied— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 16, 2016
If the Vikings remain firm, Cleveland will simply have to seek another candidate.
Offensive Line Coaching News
#Browns have talked to former #Colts O-line coach Hal Hunter about joining their coaching staff.— Nate Ulrich (@NateUlrichABJ) January 16, 2016
Still Setting Sights on Ray Horton
On the defensive side of the ball, the Tennessee Titans asked Mike Mularkey to be their head coach hours after they interviewed Ray Horton for the position. According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, "the Titans might ask Horton to remain [their defensive coordinator], but Horton's preference is to return to Cleveland, according to John Wooten of the Fritz Pollard Alliance to promote NFL minority hiring."
Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is running a $1M fantasy football league on Sunday. First place wins $100,000. Join now!