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Browns methodical coaching search may take another two weeks

Jan 20, 2014 -- 6:00am

By Tony Grossi |


The Morning Kickoff …

The waiting game:  Now what do the Browns do?

Their presumed top two choices for head coach are going to the Super Bowl. Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase is 1A. Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is 1B.

By rule, both can be interviewed during the coming Super Bowl bye week if their teams give permission – but the job can’t be offered.

Gase, playing hard to get, has previously declined to interview until the Broncos are done playing. It’s a commendable position, but, really, it’s time for Gase to quit the games and decide if he wants to be considered or not. It’s either yes or no. Make a decision. Fourth-and-2. You going for it or punting?

Quinn already has interviewed once and probably will consent to a second interview.

Quinn has a few advantages over Gase.

1. When a team fires a coach so abruptly as the Browns did, it usually seeks to replace him with a polar opposite personality. Rob Chudzinski was an offensive coach. Quinn is from the defensive side. Chudzinski was not a dominant personality. Quinn can be a dominant personality. Gase is a wallflower, as was Chudzinski (publicly) and Pat Shurmur.

2. In two coaching searches, Jimmy Haslam has been turned down more times than a beggar on a downtown street corner. Gase’s attitude has got to be a turnoff. Quinn has been much more accommodating and pleasing.  

The Browns now have to decide whether to wait two weeks for both candidates to finish their business with their present teams or to turn to Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who appears to be a facsimile of Quinn. Or to Dallas special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, who has some SEC ties and twice interviewed for positions at Haslam’s beloved University of Tennessee.

Or maybe the Browns expand this “methodical” search to San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman or San Francisco special teams guru Brad Seely (more qualified than Bisaccia).

Or maybe the Browns expand the search to the college ranks and find somebody to agree with them that Johnny Manziel can stay healthy and win in the AFC North and complete a pass in 10 degrees temperatures and 20 mph winds in December.

The problem for the Browns is that the Senior Bowl workouts in Mobile, AL, are this week. Besides being a pre-combine preview of draft-eligible college talent, the Senior Bowl is a renowned coaches convention, where out-of-work coaches converge to “network” for new jobs.

I don’t want to overplay the “assembling a coaching staff” angle, but the last two coaching hires in 2013 were made on Jan. 17 (Gus Bradley by Jacksonville and Bruce Arians by Arizona). So the Browns already are past that date.

Things we learned from the championship games

* Josh McDaniels is no offensive genius: Let’s hope McDaniels doesn’t have a change of heart and calls the Browns about revisiting their interest in him as head coach. He is so unqualified to take over a team again, it’s discouraging the Browns even considered him seriously.

McDaniels is only 37, so he has time on his side to rebuild a reputation that was tarnished as coach of the Denver Broncos for 28 games in 2009 and 2010. If the Patriots envision McDaniels as Bill Belichick’s successor, McDaniels ought to sign up for that right now. And good luck after Tom Brady retires.

When comparing McDaniels to Denver’ Gase, the similarities are that they are young and have the good fortune of caddying for future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. But there is a major difference in their resumes.

Gase has worked for a variety of head coaches: Nick Saban, Steve Mariucci, Dick Jauron, Rod Marinelli, Mike Singletary, McDaniels, and John Fox. Those varied mentors help to broaden Gase’s experience.

McDaniels is typecast as a Belichick lackey -- 11 years under him. His only other experience was one dreadful 2-14 season under St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo.

If McDaniels truly wanted to expand his career, he would seek another position under a new head coach to prove he can prosper without Belichick. Otherwise, stay with the Patriots.

* Denver will win the Super Bowl: Take the Seahawks away from Seattle and they are a good, not great, team. Peyton Manning can win anywhere.

Russell Wilson? I don’t think so. He’s a fantastic little quarterback, but he doesn’t have the receivers to compete with Manning’s arsenal.

There will be a lot of talk about Seattle’s top-ranked defense going against Denver’s top-ranked offense. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman will do a lot of the talking. In the end, offense will prevail. My early take is that Denver will win by two scores.


Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and

He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi




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