One former Cleveland Browns coach is San Francisco-bound and another is conducting preliminary scouting of the Bay Area.
According to reports, the San Francisco 49ers have hired former Browns secondary coach Jeff Hafley and are showing interest in former Browns defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil.
Alex Marvez of FOX Sports broke the news about Hafley and Jason Cole of Bleacher Report noted the Niners' interest in O'Neil.
The Browns' secondary excelled in 2014, sending Joe Haden, Donte Whitner, and Tashaun Gipson to the Pro Bowl. As Hafley's bio says, the Browns led the NFL in opponent passer rating (74.1), completion percentage (57.1) and passes defensed (99). The team also finished second in the league with 21 interceptions and fifth in yards per pass attempt (6.44).
But due to injuries and changes on defense, the club's secondary performed much worse in 2015. The Browns ranked 31st in pass yards per attempt (8.2), 29th in touchdowns allowed (34), and tied for 21st with 11 interceptions.
In other words, the Browns shouldn't miss Hafley too much. The team also shouldn't miss Hafley's boss, either.
But as the old saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure.
New 49ers head coach Chip Kelly sure seems to value the Browns' scrapheap of former coaches. In addition to hiring Hafley, Kelly might hire O'Neil, too. According to Jason Cole, Kelly sounds interested in the former Browns defensive coordinator.
Perhaps Kelly is growing desperate? After all, Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel turned down the position and few other experienced candidates seem interested in heading to the rebuilding franchise.
But Kelly's interest in former Browns coaches is not new. Former Cleveland head coach Pat Shurmur served as Kelly's offensive coordinator from 2014-15 and then served as the Eagles' interim coach after the team fired Kelly before the last game. (The Vikings hired Shurmur today to serve as the team's tight ends coach.)
If all else fails, Chip, maybe Mike Pettine will be interested? The list of former Browns coaches is certainly long enough, someone must be interested in the job.