On Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the St. Louis Rams requested permission from the Cleveland Browns to interview offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. Remember that while head coach Mike Pettine was fired, most, if not all, of his assistants are still under contract, something that is pretty standard until a new coach is hired.
Upon hearing the news, I waited in anticipation to see whether the Browns would grant DeFilippo permission to interview for a lateral move. Remember that Jimmy Haslam has already said that there were a few coaches that the organization would be asking to stick around. Would DeFilippo be one of those "names?" Apparently not, because Mary Kay Cabot reported today that DeFilippo is now scheduled to interview with the Rams on Monday, January 11th.
In his first year as an offensive coordinator in the NFL, DeFilippo was seen as a bright spot, at least in comparison to defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor. There were definitely some flaws in the Browns' offense -- the thing that stands out the most is the fact that the team ranked 32nd in the red zone and 32nd in goal-to-go situations. In the red zone, they only scored touchdowns 38.3% of the time. To compare, the median team in the NFL scored touchdowns 55.1% of the time, while the best red zone team scored 69.4% of the time.
Those who watched the games got a sense that DeFilippo would learn from his mistakes, and his playcalling seemed to accommodate the Browns' offensive personnel well. One of his faults was trying to keep Kyle Shanahan's zone blocking scheme for three-fourths of the season, in hopes that he'd be allowing some continuity from the previous season. When he finally adapted over the final fourth of the season, the Browns' running game exploded in comparison to what they had been doing, and they actually ended up being ranked 16th in rushing yards per play on the season.
Josh McCown also set a couple of franchise records as a passer. It's not a guarantee that the Browns will lose DeFilippo, but they also apparently aren't going to hold he (and presumably other members of the staff) hostage, and understandably so.
One beat writer wonders if DeFilippo could be on the radar of James Madison, where he used to play quarterback.