The Houston Texans got it started last night by firing Lovie Smith but today is considered “Black Monday” in the NFL as the day when many head coaches and other coaches are fired. The number of head coaches let go is expected to be smaller after a few teams fired their coaches in the season.
Before we get into the Cleveland Browns, a quick note on this writer. Since I am relatively new to DBN, I thought it was important to give you a quick resume before you read what I am hearing.
I’ve been covering Cleveland sports for over a decade. I am not a news breaker like Mary Kay Cabot, the legendary Lane Adkins or the impressive youngster Brad Stainbrook. The last time I broke stories Kareem Hunt was signing with the team, Andrew Berry was leaving for Philadelphia and I had most of the details of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade days before it happened.
I do have sources around the league but rarely am I allowed to, care to or want to try to break stories.
On this Monday after the season, a lot of communication with those sources and connections around the league has taken place and here is what I’m hearing about the Browns:
- HC Kevin Stefanski is safe unless something went sideways in conversations this week, last night or this morning
- DC Joe Woods is 95% likely to be fired in the next 48 hours with little chance he is retained
Update: Seconds after this piece was published, reports came that Woods has been fired
- ST coordinator Mike Priefer is closer to 50/50 or 60/40 that he will also be let go
Update: Following the Woods firing, I’ve been told that Priefer’s job is “more than likely” safe but “some conversations have to be had still”
- The offensive staff will likely have turn over with Drew Petzing, Chad O’Shea and others changing roles or teams
- Play-calling duties are not currently considered a hot issue, Stefanski may or may not give them up and, as he has been, is open to it
- Veteran coaches (for example, names like Brian Flores, Vic Fangio and Jim Schwartz) are expected to be pursued for the defensive coordinator position
- Denver DC Ejiro Evero will be highly sought after by many teams including some head coaching interviews. Cleveland will be interested in him as a DC candidate
- Jim Leonhard will get a look but his lack of experience may keep him lower on the list
Thankfully, we should have some answers in the next 48 hours. According to Stainbrook, Stefanski and GM Andrew Berry are expected to speak to the media later this afternoon which could provide some clarity quickly.
As always, time will play out and we will know the facts pretty soon.