The Browns have received permission from the New England Patriots to interview offensive coordinator and Canton native Josh McDaniels for their head-coaching vacancy, NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported today.
According to NFL rules, the interview must take place before the completion of the wild-card playoff games Sunday because the Patriots made the postseason and have a bye.
The Browns began asking for permission to interview McDaniels and other candidates Monday. They fired coach Rob Chudzinski Sunday night after just one season on the job. The team went 4-12 and finished with a seven-game losing streak and 10 defeats in the last 11 games.
Under McDaniels' guidance, the Patriots (12-4) finished the regular season with the NFL’s seventh-ranked offense (384.5 yards per game).
"Josh is the best offensive coach I could ever imagine," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told WEEI Monday morning. "He's so prepared. He's so confident in what he does. He figures out a way each week to get us in the best position as players to win.
"I have so much respect for him and what he does for me, what he does for our team. He's just a great coach. He's got a lot of poise. He's got a lot of disciple. I hope he doesn't go anywhere. I'd love for him to coach me the rest of my life. But that's just the way it is. He's one of my best friends, and I love having him."
McDaniels, 37, spent the 2009-10 seasons as head coach of the Denver Broncos. He compiled a record of 11-17 before being fired following Week 13.
His brief tenure was marred by a spying scandal. Broncos videographer Steve Scarnecchia violated league rules by videotaping the San Francisco 49ers during a practice in London on Oct. 30, 2010, and the NFL fined McDaniels $50,000 for failing to report the transgression.
Browns General Manager Mike Lombardi has gotten to know McDaniels through his long-standing friendship with Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Several national reporters have speculated that McDaniels is the Browns' top target during the search for their seventh full-time coach since 1999.
The Browns also have requested permission to interview Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, 43, a league source confirmed. They reportedly have sought permission to interview Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, 50, as well.
This afternoon, Jason La Canfora of CBS reported the Browns were in the process of finalizing some interviews with candidates, including Bowles. Interviewing Bowles, who coached defensive backs for the Browns from 2001-04, would satisfy the Rooney Rule. The rule requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate before hiring a head coach.