The Cleveland Browns have started the interview process to find their next head coach with a sprawling list of candidates.
The first man to interview for the job was former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy — the most qualified of the candidates. He interviewed with the Cleveland brass on Thursday and former Browns All-Pro offensive tackle Joe Thomas said he’s heard good things about the former Green Bay skipper from the interview.
“I think the guy right now who is probably the leader in the clubhouse — and it’s still early — is Mike McCarthy,” Thomas said while on NFL Network on Friday. “I got a chance to talk with some of the folks who were in the interview process. They thought Mike McCarthy did a fantastic job. He’s a proven winner, he’s got a Super Bowl trophy to his name, he’s a guy who has been in the NFL a long time as a head coach.
McCarthy is the most veteran candidate on the Browns wish list. He spent 13 seasons in Green Bay as the head coach, winning Super Bowl XLV and regularly led the team to the playoffs. He went 135-85-2 as the coach in Green Bay.
The Browns have already interviewed McCarthy and Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is expected to interview Friday and the Browns are expected to meet with San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh over the weekend.
The Browns have also requested interviews with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski and Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. However, all those teams play this weekend in Wild Card games.
Mike McCarthy Will Have Chance to Innovate With Browns Stacked Offense
McCarthy will have plenty of weapons to play with if he takes the Browns head coaching gig. Nick Chubb just barely missed out on his first rushing title last season, while wide Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. will return hungry after the disappointing year despite each going over 1,000 yards.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said during his press conference Thursday that he felt the opening is attractive because of the amount of talent the Browns have assembled on both sides of the ball.
“Do not get me wrong, there could be some changes in the roster, but we have a pretty solid group of core players who are all extremely young,” Haslam said. “(CB) Greedy (Williams), who is 22; (LB) Mack (Wilson), who is 21; (S Sheldrick) Redwine, who is 23 and (CB) Denzel (Ward), who is 22. (QB) Baker (Mayfield) is 24, and our old guys (WR) Jarvis (Landry) and (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) are 27. It is a very young group. (DE) Myles (Garrett) is 24. That core group of players is very young. I can’t imagine anybody wanting to change that group.”
Thomas thinks McCarthy’s time away helped him take a step back and he will bring an innovative game plan when he does get his next job.
“Really the one reason he got fired in Green Bay was because they thought his offense got a little stale. He got a little bit comfortable toward the end of his career,” Thomas said. “But having that year off can really help him. He’s got a new fire burning in his belly and he seems to have taken that year away from football and really studied the evolution of the NFL offense. I think his offense, when he comes back and does get another head coaching opportunity, is going to be a new evolved version of the Mike McCarthy offense.”
Brett Favre Thinks Mike McCarthy ‘Perfect Fit’ For Giants
While Cleveland seems like a solid fit for McCarthy, one of his former quarterbacks believes he could be a nice addition in the Big Apple with the Giants.
Hall of Famer Brett Favre played three season under McCarthy in Green Bay and thinks he could do wonders in helping Daniel Jones develop.
“He’s really a bright mind, good for a quarterback,” Favre said Friday during his radio show on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Any young quarterback would like to work with him and he’s very understandable.
“As a player and quarterback for him, you feel confident in the plays he calls that will cater to your ability rather than a previous guy he might have had,” Favre said. “He’s a technique-driven head coach.”
After a scorching start, Jones cooled off, passing for 3,027 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions as the Giants finished 4-12.
Browns QB Baker Mayfield finished his sophomore season in the NFL with 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.