The start to the NFL playoffs was very interesting especially the Saturday night cap. While the Jacksonville Jaguars press on in the postseason and the Los Angeles Chargers go back to licking their wounds, the Cleveland Browns are trying to figure out how to join them in (or knock them out of) the AFC playoffs.
The NFC matchup was a little less exciting despite the Seattle Seahawks taking a slim halftime lead against the San Francisco 49ers. In the end, it was the Brock Purdy show in California.
The results of both of those games could ensure that the Browns wrap up the biggest piece of their offseason before player movement. Cleveland fired DC Joe Woods the day after the season ended and quickly started the process of interviewing coaches. One of the names on their list is now available thanks to last night.
Sean Desai should be scheduled to arrive in Berea over the next few days, perhaps Monday or Tuesday this week. While the defense that Desai is a part of coaching got destroyed in the second half last night, that is unlikely to impact the Browns thoughts on the candidate.
Also of interest to Cleveland fans is the possibility of Chargers head coach Brandon Staley getting fired. Staley was a great defensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams and fits the structure in place in Cleveland. Much like Desai, the Browns would not likely hold Los Angeles's defense’s collapse against Staley if he were interested in becoming a candidate.
One insider quickly linked Staley to Cleveland’s opening last night:
If Brandon Staley does get fired I'd suggest he'd leap to near/the top of the list of DC candidates for Cleveland.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) January 15, 2023
Like Kliff Kingsbury, Staley could also take time off instead of jumping back into coaching but Allbright believes he wants to coach.
As I have throughout the process, here is what I am hearing about the Browns search:
- Nothing surprised Cleveland in their interviews so far
- The team was aware that Brian Flores could have head coaching interviews that could delay him being available if they chose him
- Jim Schwartz is not currently being pursued by other teams, gives the team some time with that candidate
- The newest addition to the process, Dennard Wilson, is someone they would like to add to the staff with a new DC, if able to, but is a real candidate for the top spot as well
- They, like other teams, thought it would be tough to get Jerod Mayo out of New England but were excited about getting the chance to meet with him
- As Allbright mentioned, Staley would be high on their candidate list but waiting for the Chargers to make a decision might be difficult
- If Cleveland adds another candidate (outside of Staley), it may be in part to extend the process while Flores’ head coaching interview(s) take place
- We do not have any information on when Arizona will be interviewing Flores but a former player of his, Adrian Wilson, is in a position of authority there so he’s a real candidate
All of the pieces are now in place with a new one (Staley) possibly becoming available very soon. Hopefully, the Browns and their fans will know who will be running the defensive side of the ball very soon.