49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was the fourth candidate the Cleveland Browns interviewed, and he reportedly has created fans in the organization.
The Cleveland Browns are in the thick of their head coaching search and will be wrapping up their initial interviews this week. As the Browns continue their interview process, one candidate is already standing out to the Cleveland search committee: 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
Saleh was the fourth interview the Browns conducted for their head coaching vacancy. The Browns traveled to San Francisco on January 4 to interview the 40-year-old coach, and he has emerged as one of the best candidates the Browns have interviewed so far.
During an interview with Cleveland radio station 92.3 The Fan, Peter King of Pro Football Talk reported the Browns are "very high" on Saleh after his interview. King's report follows up a report earlier Monday from ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, who said Saleh's interview went very well.
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Saleh has emerged as a top young coaching candidate after what he has built with the San Francisco defense. Since becoming the 49ers defensive coordinator in 2017, Saleh has continued to improve the San Francisco, and the unit finished as the second-best in total defense this season.
Although he may be a year away from becoming a serious candidate for a head coaching job, Saleh's work with the young 49ers defense and his leadership cannot be denied. He has earned the respect of the players and has gotten the best out of his personnel. His energy shown on the sidelines has made him a popular figure among the 49ers fan base.
Saleh has been coaching in the NFL since 2005, starting with the Houston Texans and worked under head coach Gary Kubiak. He then moved onto working with the Seahawks and spent three seasons in Seattle. During that time, and another three seasons with former Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in Jacksonville, Saleh learned and is now utilizing the Cover 3 scheme Seattle defense has built their success upon.
Cleveland is in the middle of wide-open search to fill their head coaching vacancy, and as Fowler stated, the search committee is leaving themselves open to be swayed. However, since the start of the search, Patriots' Josh McDaniels and Vikings' Kevin Stefanski have been viewed as the front-runners for the job.
The Browns seem to have their minds set on hiring either McDaniels or Stefanski. But Saleh interviewing well with the organization is not a surprise. His knowledge, leadership, and success he has had with the 49ers should help him land a head coaching job next offseason.