Browns coaching search: Ken Whisenhunt reportedly front runner for Lions job


Dec 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt calls in a play during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions appear to be the front runner for Ken Whisenhunt to be their next head coach.  The Cleveland Browns are scheduled to meet with Whisenhunt, currently the San Diego Chargers’ offensive coordinator today before he goes to coach the Chargers offense against the Denver Broncos.

Whisenhunt could represent a contrast in styles in the front office.  He has ties to Jimmy Haslam to the extent that both were part of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization when he was the offensive coordinator, though Whisenhunt was gone to be the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals before Haslam became a part owner.  CEO Joe Banner had said at the press conference discussing the firing of Rob Chudzinski that they did not think they would look at any coaching prospects they had discussed last year.

There are theories all over the place on this situation.  Haslam has taken more control and a more active role in the coaching search, which is why Whisenhunt is scheduled to interview with the Browns.  Therefore, huge differences of opinion that caused this match not to happen last year would theoretically be gone this year.  Whisenhunt would have more control and Banner would be less of a force.

On the other hand, this could be a situation where Haslam is more involved in the search and just wants to be there for the interview to see up close and personally why this was not a good match last year.  In that sense, Banner has no less power or control but is just indulging the owner in this situation, especially if their real target is still coaching in the playoffs, such as Adam Gase.

Whisenhunt’s career is no less controversial.  He was able to coach a Kurt Warner led Cardinals team to the Super Bowl, but lost.  After Warner retired, he had a number of disasters under his watch.  It is unclear how much input he had on the move to bring in Kevin Kolb, but that was a huge failure and a large reason for why Whisenhunt is no longer there.