Which Head Coaching Candidates Should Be at the Top of Cleveland's Wish List?

Dilan AmesCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2014

Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels looks on against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Brownshocked the NFL world with their firing of Rob Chudzinski after just one season and now find themselves exactly where they were a year ago—lost and without a coach.

They've wasted no time in courting potential successors to Chudzinski and have a lot of great options to choose from. The pool of available coaches is littered with former NFL coaches and up-and-coming college coaches who all have much to offer.

The Browns need someone who will change the losing culture of this team and form a solid base from which to build on, and any three of the gentlemen listed below could be entrusted to do so.


Dan Quinn

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 19:  Defensive line coach Dan Quinn talks with defensive tackle Brandon Mebane #92 of the Seattle Seahawks as they face the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 19, 2010 in Denver, Colorado The Broncos defeated the
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

As the current defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, Dan Quinn would be a great fit in Cleveland. He's done a tremendous job of maintaining and developing the Seahawks defense, a unit that has allowed the fewest yards and points of any NFL team thiseason.

The Browns have a very young and talented defense, and Quinn could really bring them to the next level. Although the problem for Cleveland is the offense, having a gritty defense never hurts. Cleveland is reportedly expected to hire Jim Schwartz as its defensive coordinator, per SI.comso having a guy like Quinn take over would be an even greater advantage to them.

The Browns have already inquired about interviewing the current coordinator, per ESPN's Adam Schefter via Pro Football Talk, and would be smart to bring in a defensive mind like Quinn.


Gus Malzahn

The Browns' interest in head coaches has extended to the NCAA and Auburn's Gus Malzahn, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS. La Canfora also mentions how Cleveland's owner, Jimmy Haslam, is likely very familiar with Malzahn's work in the SEC because of his allegiance to the University of Tennessee.

Malzahn's work with Auburn's football program has been well-documented throughout thiseason and will be on display next week in the BCS National Championship. Malzahn made Auburn relevant in just one season, and that's likely a big part of Cleveland's attraction to him.

What could also inspire the Browns to offer Malzahn the job iseeing the success of former college coaches in the NFL such as Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles.


Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels is reportedly the top candidate for the job with Cleveland, according to the Associated Press, and for good reason. He's had much success with the New England Patriots and with helping Tom Brady sustain his high level of play.

What will also play in McDaniels' favor is the Patriots' 2013 season. They faced much adversity offensively, but McDaniel has kept them on track. They're the seventh-ranked offense in the NFL and have done a lot with very little before, something that has certainly spoken volumes with the Browns' front office.

The Browns were given permission to interview McDaniels and are very high on the Patriots coordinator. Cleveland general manager Michael Lombardi has ties to McDaniels and haspoken very highly of him in the past, saying that he believe McDaniels would one day be a successful head coach in the league.

It's clear that there are a ton of quality options for the Browns, but McDaniels is the best option by far. He may not have much experience as a head coach, but he knows what it's like to be around one of the best during his time around Bill Belichick