Could John DeFilippo be a match for Cleveland Browns as offensive coordinator?
Could John DeFilippo be a match for the Cleveland Browns vacant offensive coordinator position? On the surface, it does not get much better than this.
John DeFilippo — better known as “Flip” — was the offensive coordinator for the Browns under Mike Pettine in 2015. That year, believe it or not, three Browns quarterbacks combined for 3,782 net passing yards.
That’s a huge number for a team whose quarterbacks were Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel and Austin Davis. It’s also the third-highest in Browns history, behind the 2018 team with 4,007 net yards and the Brian Sipe-led team of 1980, with 3,915 yards.
Of course, the 1980 team was much more impressive because that era was much more run-dominated. Still, the point is that DeFilippo was able to get good performances from quarterbacks with only moderate skills operating in a difficult environment. He did the same with Case Keenum in Minnesota,
DeFilippo, needless to say, was also new Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski‘s mentor in Minnesota in 2018. That Minnesota team underachieved, however, with Kirk Cousins replacing Case Keenum and yet scoring fewer points (362 under DeFilippo versus 380 under Pat Shurmur).
DeFilippo was fired with three games remaining, which is how Stefanski became the offensive coordinator there. Stefanski generally received better reviews than DeFilippo and was the coordinator in 2019 as Cousins had a career year and finally seemed to harness his vast potential.
So the experience of John DeFilippo working with Kevin Stefanski is not necessarily 100 percent positive, but would certainly allow Stefanski to make an informed decision on his former mentor.
On Monday, the Jacksonville Jaguars decided to fire DeFilippo after one year as the offensive coordinator there. That team didn’t score many points, only 300 on the year — which landed them 26th out of 32 teams. That’s very bad.
Worse, the team had too much success from mustachioed sixth-round draft pick Gardner Minshew, and too little from $88 million dollar free agent dud Nick Foles. Obviously, the front office would rather not look like idiots when the rookie all-nothing quarterback outperforms the high priced free agent. However, they may in fact be idiots, and understandably are not anxious to admit it.
The Jaguars, in fact, were enigmatically bad on offense in 2018 after making the playoffs in 2017 and nearly stealing a Super Bowl visit, only to fall to the New England Patriots by four points in the AFC Championship game.
Browns fans will remember that the Jags traded for Carlos Hyde, who could not gain any yards for them (only 189 yards and 3.3 yards/carry), even though he went over 1,000 yards this year in Houston. The Hyde experiment makes you wonder whether something is wrong in Jacksonville.
DeFilippo seemed like the perfect hire for the Jags, as he had been the quarterback coach for Foles when the Eagles won it all in 2017. Obviously, he also did well with Carson Wentz who played like an MVP that year.
The Jags were somewhat improved in 2019 as Leonard Fournette had a good year and Minshew put up numbers through the air. Understandably, however, the team did not want to have an $88 million dollar asset on the bench.
In order to try to recover that investment, their solution is to fire the offensive coordinator to see if someone else can design an offense around Nick Foles. Hence, Flip is now out of work.
For this analyst, the impressive work with Minshew outweighs the problems experienced with Foles, who has always been somewhat of an enigma despite a Super Bowl ring and flashes of outright brilliance.
Still, he is on his fifth team, counting Philadelphia twice. Maybe it’s not Flip’s fault that he has not been able to set down roots in Jacksonville.
Will the Jaguar’s loss be a gain for the Cleveland Browns?