Brown spurned by coveted offensive coordinator candidate

Kellen Moore left Ohio without a contract and the Cleveland Browns never got a chance to re-visit their talks

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages
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Kellen Moore was a hot name this offseason for teams in need of a new offensive coordinator and the Cleveland Browns seemed to be making a strong push for him. He was one of several coaches they've interviewed as a potential replacement for Alex Van Pelt and optimism was high although he had other interviews lined up.

Without much warning at all, the chances of the two coming together came to a halt on Saturday night. Moore headed to Philadelphia to interview for the Eagles vacancy and never left the building. It was announced that he would take over for Brian Johnson — who was fired by Nick Siranni and is one of the remaining options Cleveland has brought in. They could also still add Jerrod Johnson, who was the quarterback coach for the Houston Texans this past season.

Cleveland has cast a wide net as they search for their next OC but they're also taking their time. They used a similar approach last season when looking to replace Joe Woods and wound up with Jim Schwartz as their defensive coordinator. That worked out well and this front office has proven they deserve the benefit of the doubt as they kick all the tires.

Who is the favorite for Borwns offensive coordinator?

With Moore out, there are three coaches currently in the running — that we are aware including Brian Johnson, Jerrod Johnson, and Ken Dorsey. Brian Johnson, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles, has one year of experience as an offensive coordinator. He took over when Shane Steichen was hired as the head coach for the Indianapolis Colts.

Steichen led the Eagles to the No. 1 offense in terms of yardage and No. 3 in scoring during the 2002 campaign. That helped Philly make it to the Super Bowl and left Johnson with some big shoes to fill. The offense declined under Johnson, finishing eighth in yards and seventh in points — but a late-season slump led to their early playoff dismissal and Johnson's ousting.

Before being the OC, Johnson spent several years as a quarterbacks coach at the collegiate level. He had a couple of seasons as offensive coordinator during his tenure, which included stops at Utah, Mississippi State, Houston, and Florida. He has experience with mobile quarterbacks as well, coaching Dak Prescott at Mississippi State, Feleipe Franks at Florida, and Hurts in Philadalphia where he was the QB coach before being promoted.

Jerrod Johnson comes in with much less experience and has never been a coordinator. He got his start with the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship and worked his way to a job with the Minnesota Vikings as their assistant quarterbacks coach in 2022. He was signed this offseason by DeMeco Ryans to coach quarterbacks in Houston and helped C.J. Stroud put together an impressive rookie campaign.

Ken Dorsey has the most NFL experience, dating back to 2013 when he was the quarterbacks coach for the Carolina Panthers. While there, he helped Cam Newton rise to the level of NFL MVP. He then headed to Buffalo where he helped Josh Allen take his next step as a passer. However, his work as the OC was under fire this season and he was let go on Nov. 14.

As it stands now, it's hard to pick a favorite but the Browns have already poached one member of the Texans' staff, hiring Jacques Cesaire to coach their defensive line. Perhaps they grab another from this staff — which is a talented collection of coaches.

Whatever they decide, chances are high that the offensive pay-calling will stay with Kevin Stefanski now that Moore is out of the picture. That means the selection will likely be chosen due to their ability to help Deshaun Watson take the next step. All three men have impressive resumés in that regard and all have done well with mobile gun-slingers, meaning it won't be an easy choice.

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