Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey is playing the head coaching search close to the vest - at least publicly.
But Dorsey may be more active in private, according to one news report.
The Browns have used “back channels” to reach out to New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to gauge his interest in the team, according to Steve Doerschuk of The Canton Repository. The Browns may like McDaniels and the feeling might be mutual:
McDaniels is enthusiastically interested in the Cleveland opening. The Browns have used back channels to indicate a mutual preliminary interest, but they have not invited him to an early interview. The Green Bay Packers did, and he said yes.
Browns General Manager John Dorsey has been good at cloaking what he is up to, including in the eyes of some obvious candidates. However, indications are that McDaniels is a very serious candidate.
If the Browns are interested in McDaniels, then Dorsey may have to start acting in earnest:
Spoke to a source close to the #Packers’ organization tonight who told me that Josh McDaniels is currently the one clear-cut leading candidate to be the team’s next head coach and could have a deal in place as early as within the next two weeks.— Zachary Jacobson (@ZachAJacobson) December 31, 2018
McDaniels has been continually linked as a possible Browns target over the years, in part because of having grown up in the area and because he is part of the Bill Belichick coaching tree.
Of course, that tree includes former Browns coaches Romeo Crennel, who went 28-55 in six years as a head coach, including a 24-40 mark in four years with the Browns; and Eric Mangini, who was 33-47 in five years as a head coach, including a 10-22 record in two years with the Browns.
Overall, it would be hard to say that the Belichick coaching tree is one that should be of interest to Dorsey:
Bill Belichick former assistants Head Coaching record:— Michael Colangelo (@MikeColange) September 11, 2018
Charlie Weiss: 41-49 (College)
Romeo Crennel: 28-55
Eric Mangini: 33-47
Josh McDaniels: 11-17
Bill O’Brien: 31-34
Matt Patricia: 0-1
Not one is .500.
Insert Not great, Bob! GIF
That Tweet did come at the start of the 2018 season, so since then O’Brien has clawed his way above .500, but Patricia did not exactly cover himself in glory by going 6-10 in his first season with the Detroit Lions.
It is also interesting to note that Dorsey’s agent (yes, even general managers have agents) is Bob LaMonte, who was McDaniels’ agent right up until McDaniels walked out of an agreement last year to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Dorsey has certainly spent time talking to LaMonte about the situation and you have to wonder if Dorsey would be willing to down that road with McDaniels.
As of now, the Browns and McDaniels have not set up an interview, so time will tell if there is any actual interest from the Browns in taking another shot at a Belichick assistant coach.