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Cleveland Browns Coaching Search: Getting to Know the Top Contenders

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The Cleveland Browns have taken a beating recently in the media and amongst the teams fan base for a lack of immediate results from their coaching search. According to reports, the Browns job is viewed as “toxic” and something of a joke in which at least two candidates have withdrawn their names from consideration. It has even prompted a letter to Browns fans and season ticket holders from team owner Jimmy Haslam himself seemingly defending the groups diligence regarding the naming of the teams next leader.

Regardless of the outside world’s perception, Haslam has continued to lead his search for the teams next coach with help from CEO Joe Banner, team president Alec Scheiner, and general manager Mike Lombardi. The organization has been secretive about its candidates and the only known interviewees are New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak, and Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. The team reportedly had interest in several college coaches, most notably Bob Stoops of the Oklahoma Sooners, Auburn Tiger’s  head coach Gus Malzahn, and James Franklin of the Vanderbilt Commodores.

But as we’ve seen time and time again, a lot can happen in the coaching world in a short amount of time. McDaniels and Bowles withdrew their names from consideration to return to their coordinator positions, McAdoo has signed on with the New York Giants as the teams new offensive coordinator, the Tennessee Titans lured Whisenhunt to Nashville with a reportedly guaranteed 5 year deal, James Franklin is now the new head coach at Penn State, and Stoops and Malzahn appear too comfortable to leave the college game.

That leaves Dan Quinn, Mike Munchak, and Mike Pettine as the current front runners, with Pettine reportedly already lined up for a second interview. There is one remaining wildcard which appears to have a big fan in Jimmy Haslam, and that man is Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Gase is the youngest and one of the least experienced coaches among the Browns search, but has enjoyed a ridiculous amount success this season with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos offense. Jimmy Haslam has remained close friends with the Manning family going back to Peyton’s days at the University of Tennessee and may have a better insight to Gase’s true potential as a head coach due to his relationship with Manning.

The Browns are reportedly waiting on their interview with Gase before making a final decision on the coaching search, which is, again, being led by Jimmy Haslam, which points to Adam Gase as the leading contender to be the next Cleveland Browns head coach. The only hurdle is that Gase has told NFL teams that he will not interview about any job openings until after the Broncos season has finished. If the Broncos win Sunday against New England, then Gase will likely not interview for at least two more weeks until after the Super Bowl.

Let’s take a closer look at the top contenders: