With Jeff Howard taking a job with the Chargers, the Cleveland Browns have a vacancy at defensive backs coach. Will they choose to elevate from within, and who would they promote?
The Cleveland Browns are in need of a new defensive backs coach after Jeff Howard took a position with the Los Angeles Chargers to become their linebacker’s coach, per Jake Trotter.
The likelihood of Howard staying on in Cleveland after the firing of former defensive coordinator Joe Woods seemed like a longshot. But now with Howard gone, there is now a vacancy that needs to be filled by the incoming defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz.
Will Schwartz choose to elevate from within the Browns organization, or will the veteran defensive mind bring someone in that he has worked with in the past? If the Browns were to decide to go the internal route for finding their next defensive backs coach, Brandon Lynch would be the obvious choice.
Lynch, a former linebacker at Middle Tennessee State, spent a few seasons bouncing around the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts practice squads before finishing his playing career with the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Rough Riders.
When his playing career was in the books, Lynch began his coaching odyssey. He started as the Bill Walsh minority intern for the Minnesota Vikings in 2013. It was there where Lynch was on a staff with an ascending Kevin Stefanski, and a then defensive backs coach Joe Woods. Those connections would pay off for Lynch down the road.
After his stint as an intern in Minnesota, Lynch spent four seasons with the Northern Iowa Panthers, beginning as a secondary coach and ending as the associate head coach for defense. Then Lynch served as the Eastern Carolina Pirates secondary and cornerbacks coach for three seasons. But it was the previously mentioned connections that he built while in Minnesota that would bring him to Cleveland when Kevin Stefanski was named head coach of the Browns in 2020.
Since 2020, Lynch has served as the Browns’ assistant defensive backs coach. Obviously, Stefanski has a high opinion of Lynch, but will that be enough for Schwartz to elevate the assistant coach?
During his introductory press conference when asked about assembling his staff by Ashley Bastock of Cleveland.com, Schwartz said “it’s not my staff, it’s Kevin’s staff.” While there’s surely some truth to that statement, it would also seem obvious that Stefanski would not push an assistant on Schwartz that he does not approve of.
Since his arrival in Cleveland, all indications are that Schwartz and Stefanski are in lockstep in regard to football operations, so promoting from within seems like it is definitely on the table.
If Lynch ends up receiving the internal promotion to become the defensive backs coach, it will speak to the impression that Lynch has made during his short time working under Schwartz. The move would also make Lynch a name to keep an eye on in league circles. If the Browns are looking to promote Lynch, expect the news to come fast.