After another disappointing season for the Cleveland Browns ended this year, the Browns finished with a record of just three wins and 13 losses. As has become customary with the team, this meant firing the head coach, Mike Pettine. Not as common—but also a needed overhaul—it meant the end of the line for former General Manager Ray Farmer.
The search was on to replace these important positions and move the organization in a better direction. Specifically the search for a new coach was underway, wrapping up on Wednesday with the hiring of Hue Jackson. For better or for worse this is the direction the Browns are heading. Here is a look at the options the Browns pursued and an overview of the man chosen to take the helm next season.
One of the first options the Cleveland Browns looked into for in the coaching position was Doug Marrone, the assistant coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Marrone already has plenty of experience as the head coach of an NFL team after his time as head coach of the Buffalo Bills. He also serves as the offensive line coach for the Jaguars, which could have been a good fit for the club considering the frequent breakdowns that the Browns’ line suffered this season.
Looking at possible coaches who are more specialized at setting things up on the other side of the scrimmage line, the Browns took a look at Jerome Henderson, who is currently working as the Dallas Cowboys defensive back coach. Henderson is a former NFL player himself, and has played in two Superbowls—once with the Bills and then with the New England Patriots. Another interesting line in his resume is that he had already worked with the Cleveland organization for two years and helped Joe Haden improve his game, work that has still helped the team.
The Observer thought that the Browns should look for a recently successful person to take over the role, and one in a coordinator position. The top choice on the defensive side of the ball, we felt it would be wise to look toward a man who lead his team to only lose one game over the regular season this past year. Sean McDermott, the defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers, might have just been that guy. He has been working consistently on the defensive end of the field since before the turn of the century after he started working with the Philadelphia Eagles, switching between different defensive positions until he eventually reached the position of defense coordinator there.
He has been the defensive coordinator for the Panthers since 2011. His strategies for how to stop offenses has proven to be incredibly successful and he may be the best option available for the Browns to have a chance at success, especially defensively. However since the Panthers are still in the playoffs, he was not available for interviews yet. It also looked like McDermott has been leaning more towards taking a position back in the City of Brotherly Love in Philadelphia because of his past there, and is now looking more likely.
Looking closer to home and at the offensive side of the ball, the Browns considered and rushed to hire Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. Jackson has been jumping around the league leading different parts of each team he joins. Jackson has head coaching experience, having a stint as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders under his belt.
The idea of taking an offensive coordinator from a divisional rival and also of taking a guy who knows so many different aspects of running a football team seems very appealing. The Browns also seem to need more help offensively, especially as the future of quarterback Johnny Manziel with the club is up in the air. It was an uphill battle to get him to stay in the Buckeye State, though, as he was also the front-runner for the position with the San Francisco 49ers, and was also courted at the last minute by the New York Giants.
Many other options were still available for the Cleveland Browns to select but they seemed eager to make the decision. Jackson will start out walking on eggshells, as has been the tune with coaches in Cleveland for a long time. If Jackson can get the job done and improve the team even to just a five or six win season next year, the team’s rebuilding stages may at long last be working.