Cleveland Browns: Colts coordinators are sneaky strong HC candidates

KANSAS CITY, MO - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Nick Sirianni of the Kansas City Chiefs poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Nick Sirianni of the Kansas City Chiefs poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns have cast a wide net of candidates for their head coaching search, and the Colts coordinators are underrated candidates for the job.

The Cleveland Browns are making sure they are doing their due diligence with the search for their next head coach. The Browns have either interviewed, plan to interview, or requested permission to interview nine candidates.

There is a variety of candidates, with the Browns planning to interview veteran head coaches and first-time coordinators. And most likely, not all candidates are not yet known.

Two of the candidates for the job are the coordinators for the Indianapolis Colts, offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni and defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus.

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Both coaches are in their first seasons as coordinators in the NFL. Eberflus was originally going to be the Colts defensive coordinator under Josh McDaniels, but Frank Reich decided to keep him on his staff when he was named the Colts head coach. However, both of these coaches have spent a long time coaching in the league.

Sirianni has been a NFL coach since 2009, coaching in a variety of offensive roles. Eberflus also became a NFL coach in 2009, primarily coaching linebackers before becoming the Colts defensive coordinator.

In their first seasons with the Colts, both coaches have helped turn around units that ranked in the bottom of the league. Eberflus inherited a defense that finished 30th in the league in total defense the two seasons prior. Under Eberflus, the Colts finished the season 11th in total defense, allowing only 339.4 total yards per game. The Colts have allowed the 10th fewest points in the league, allowing only 21.5 points per game.

Sirianni has also helped better the Colts offense. In 2017, the Colts finished second-worst in the league in total offense, averaging 284.6 yards per game. They finished third-worst in the league in scoring offense, averaging 16.4 points per game. But in 2018, the Colts have the seventh-best offense, averaging 386.2 yards per game. They also have the fifth-best scoring offense, averaging 27.1 points per game.

Both coaches are respected among their peers, and people that have coached or played around them have had nothing but good things to say about the coordinators.

Sirianni served as the quarterbacks coach, wide receivers coach, and offensive quality control coach for the Chargers from 2013-2017. During that time, Danny Woodhead was playing running back for the Chargers, and he believes that Sirianni is one of the best coaches he has been around, which includes coaches like Josh McDaniels and Bill O’Brien, .

If the Browns want to find an innovative coach to surround quarterback Baker Mayfield, Sirianni may be a perfect fit. Although he is not the Colts play-caller, he has helped transform their offense. Reich believes Sirianni is one of the most innovative young offensive minds in the league.

Eberflus served as the University of Missouri defensive coordinator from 2001-2008. Former Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, explained why Eberflus is a good leader – via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star.

"“Another guy that was remarkably sincere, when working with people and kids, was Nick Saban,” Pinkel said. “When you’re talking to Nick, you can tell he cares about you, you can tell if he’s angry with you or if he loves you. … That’s what (Eberflus) is. He believes in what he’s doing, but he’s very sincere in how he treats people, and that’s a very good trait for high-level leadership.”"

Dorsey has said that he wants a “man of character” for the head coaching job. He also said he wants somebody that will be consistent, a thinker, a learner, and someone that can instill leadership in the players. Eberflus fits all of those traits.

Although Eberflus and Sirianni have not had long periods of being coordinators in the NFL or have been a head coach anywhere prior, they are obviously two respected coaches that people around the NFL expect to be head coaches at some point. Although they are not considered serious candidates for the Browns job, they both could prove to be good hires.

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Both coaches will have to interview for the Browns head coaching vacancy next week, as they are preparing for their Wild Card playoff game against the Houston Texans.