The Cleveland Browns have taken a beating recently in the m..."/> The Cleveland Browns have taken a beating recently in the m..."/>

Cleveland Browns Coaching Search: Getting to Know the Top Contenders

4 of 6

3. Dan Quinn – Defensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks

Status: Already Interviewed

Resume: The 43 year old Quinn hails from Morristown, New Jersey and played for 4 years at Salisbury State as a defensive lineman. After graduating in 1993, he spent the 1994 season as the defensive line coach for William & Mary and then moved onto the same position with VMI, followed by a 5 year stint with Hofstra as their defensive line coach and eventual defensive coordinator. Quinn then jumped into the NFL game with the San Francisco 49ers and then head coach Steve Mariucci.

After 4 seasons in San Francisco as a defensive quality control coach and defensive line coach, Quinn took the same job with Nick Saban and the Miami Dolphins for two years, followed by another two years with the New York Jets and head coach Eric Mangini. In 2009, Quinn was brought to Seattle for the first time by Jim Mora Jr. After only one season, Mora Jr. was fired and replaced by current head coach Pete Carroll who decided to keep Quinn on his staff as the teams defensive line coach.

Quinn would then move on to coordinate the University of Florida’s defense in 2011 and 2012. After two successful seasons in Gainesville, Quinn would return to Pete Carroll’s staff in Seattle prior to the 2013 season. This time Quinn would take over the defensive coordinator duties for the departed Gus Bradley, who left for the head coaching position with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Quinn’s defense played at a remarkably high level in 2013 and led the league in fewest yards and points per game on their way to a 13-3 record and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Personality: Quinn is a fiery competitor who coaches with a players mentality. His units are physical, aggressive, and disciplined. Quinn is considered a strong communicator and is thought to be an excellent “teacher” of the game, and is said to have played a key role in Red Bryant’s switch from defensive tackle to strong side end or “elephant” in the Seattle hybrid 4-3 defense. Quinn has coached under just about every personality type from the strict and no nonsense coaches like Nick Saban and Eric Mangini to the more player friendly coaches like Steve Mariucci and Pete Carroll. His ability to adapt to his surroundings has only added to his steady climb as a head coaching candidate.

Schematic Preference: It is hard to imagine Quinn not bringing a concept similar to the Seahawks schematic set-up on both sides of the ball. With his primary area of expertise the defensive line and the defensive side of the ball in general, Quinn would have to be licking his chops with some of the versatile defensive talent already assembled in Cleveland. With athletic defensive tackles like Desmond Bryant and Billy Winn capable of playing inside at defensive tackle or on the edge as the “elephant” or strong side end, along with Paul Kruger, Barkevious Mingo, and Jabaal Sheard able to shift between strong side linebacker and the weak side rush end also known as the “Leo”.

Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor are both capable of occupying the middle at both nose tackle and 3 technique, steady veteran D’Qwell Jackson in the middle, backed by a strong secondary featuring pro bowlers Joe Haden and T.J. Ward there is plenty of reason for optimism should Quinn land the job. While the NFL has shifted towards a more wide open passing league in recent years, the climate in north east Ohio still favors a power running game similar to the way the Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks have worn down opponents in late season games in poor conditions. The Browns inability to run the ball would likely be among the first things Quinn would look to rectify upon his arrival in 2014.

Free Agency Impact: As the Browns look to shore up some of the “holes” on their roster, Quinn could look to his former team for some support. Some defenders like defensive tackle Michael Bennett and rush end O’Brian Schofield could ultimately interest the Browns in further bolstering their defensive line/pass rush, and could become a necessity if the team decides to part ways with Ahtyba Rubin whose 2014 status is up in the air due to a hefty salary. Offensively, the offensive line could get a boost from right tackle Breno Giacomini who at 28 years old could be seen as a potential answer at right tackle if the teams rumored interest in moving Mitchell Schwartz inside to guard is realized.

Another player of great interest would be wide receiver Golden Tate, who after a slow start to his career has developed into a fantastic playmaker for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Tate is a workman like receiver who has soft hands, an ability to separate, and a knack for making plays after the catch. An added bonus is his experience in adverse weather conditions after playing his college ball at Notre Dame and now in the often cold, wet, and windy conditions of the great north west. Outside of former Seahawks, the Browns and Quinn may look to acquire some size and physicality at corner to go along with Joe Haden and the aggressive yet under sized Buster Skrine. New England’s Aqib Talib will likely be the top corner on the market but an emerging player like Minnesota’s Chris Cook would make more sense and be far more affordable.

Draft Impact: Sitting at the #4 spot, the Cleveland Browns look to be in a perfect position to add that elusive “franchise” quarterback the team has chased since it’s re-entry to the league in 1999. However, there are 3 defensive end/outside linebacker prospects that could very well wind up in the top 5-10 picks on draft day and could ultimately find themselves atop the Browns draft board depending on how the first 3 picks were to fall.

Everyone knows about the talents and potential of South Carolina Gamecock’s defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who has been the favorite for the top selection of the 2014 draft since he arrived on campus in 2011. Not to be forgotten are UCLA’s dynamic outside linebacker Anthony Barr who has 41 tackles for loss and 23 sacks in his only two seasons as a defender under Jim Mora Jr.(who hired Quinn 2009) as well as Buffalo Bulls edge defender Khalil Mack, who has been one of the nations most productive defensive players the past two season by posting 194 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks, 3 interceptions(2 TD returns), and a whopping 9 forced fumbles.

Other defensive players who could peak the interest of the Browns under Quinn would be versatile Florida State defensive back LaMarcus Joyner whose ball hawking skills could remind Quinn of the diminutive Seahawks playmaker Earl Thomas. Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley could be a target with the 26th pick, as an upgrade to would be weak side linebacker Craig Robertson and eventual replacement inside for D’Qwell Jackson whose age, like his cap number, are headed in the wrong direction. Finally, just a year removed from his position as the Florida Gators defensive coordinator, Quinn could target one of a trio of Gator corners or maybe use late second or early 3rd day selection on Dominique Easley. Easley is a powerful defensive lineman who prior to an early season ACL tear appeared headed towards the drafts top 20 selections.