Browns Rumors: Urban Meyer, McDaniels, McCarthy, Roman, More Linked to HC Job

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 20: Former player Urban Meyer, rumored to be the next USC head coach, appears at the USC game against the Utah Utes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly considering big names for their head coaching vacancy after firing Freddie Kitchens on Sunday.

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy are all on the Browns' radar:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

The #Browns are launching another coaching search, and some big names are worth monitoring, including Urban Meyer, Josh McDaniels and Mike McCarthy. @nflnetwork @gmfb https://t.co/FuzX4Y6mR0

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Browns have already requested an interview with McDaniels and added that the Carolina Panthers are expected to request an interview as well. Per Josina Anderson of ESPN, McDaniels is expected to accept the request and is "ready to be a HC again."

Schefter later reported Cleveland has also requested interviews with Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

As for McCarthy, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported the Browns "plan to interview" him.

Kitchens lasted just one season as the head coach in Cleveland, as the Browns went a disappointing 6-10 and missed the playoffs for the 17th straight year.

Unlike with Kitchens, each of the candidates Pelissero mentioned has previous high-level head coaching experience.

In 17 seasons as a collegiate head coach at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State, Meyer went 187-32 with three national championships. After going 10-1 and winning the Rose Bowl in 2018, he retired for the second time.

Meyer took one year off after retiring from his job at Florida in 2010 before returning to take the job at OSU, and there is some thought that he would consider a similar move this time around. He told Cleveland.com's Doug Lesmerises in September: "I'm not there at the moment. Like you said, next year can I say that? We'll talk again next year and we'll see."

Speculation ramped up when Meyer attended the Week 15 game between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles to watch former Ohio State players Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin.

McDaniels spent parts of two seasons as head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2009 to 2010, going 11-17. He eventually returned to New England as an assistant under Bill Belichick before accepting the head coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018.

He backed out and decided to remain with the Patriots, however, which led to speculation that he was given some kind of assurance that he would succeed Belichick whenever he retired.

Despite that, Pelissero reported that McDaniels "would definitely entertain" the opportunity to become head coach of the Browns. While his first run as an NFL head coach didn't go well, he is a six-time Super Bowl champion as an assistant and has played a role in quarterback Tom Brady's success over the years, meaning he should be a capable mentor for Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

McCarthy—whose time as head coach of the Packers overlapped with current Browns general manager John Dorsey's stint in Green Bay's front office—may be the best fit.

McCarthy went 125-77-2 in parts of 13 seasons as head coach of the Packers before getting fired last season. He led Green Bay to six NFC North titles, nine playoff appearances and one Super Bowl title.

The Packers went to the playoffs in eight straight seasons from 2009 through 2016 under McCarthy, and the Browns are looking to end the longest active playoff drought in the NFL.

Unlike the other three candidates, Roman has no head coaching experience, but he has been an offensive coordinator for the Ravens, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers.

Roman has been especially good at working with mobile quarterbacks, as he helped lead the Niners to the Super Bowl with Colin Kaepernick under center, and the Ravens ranked second in total offense and first in scoring this season behind likely MVP Lamar Jackson.

Mayfield doesn't measure up to Kaepernick and Jackson as a runner, but he is mobile and capable of throwing on the move, which could make Roman a good fit as his mentor.

Salah also has no head coaching experience but has overseen a 49ers defense that allowed the second-least yardage per game of any team (281.8) and 19.4 points per game, the eighth-best mark in the league.