The Browns are interested in former Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak as an offensive coordinator, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport wrote on Twitter this morning.
Rapoport wrote that hiring Kubiak would make sense given the Browns’ “love for” running back Ben Tate, who’s set to become a free agent March 11.
However, the Browns' interest in Kubiak might not matter much. ESPN's Adam Schefter later reported that "despite the Browns' interest, it is considered unlikely" that he'll become their offensive coordinator.
New Browns coach Mike Pettine said he would like to have a former NFL head coach on his staff to help him learn the ropes. Pettine was the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills last season and the New York Jets the previous four years, but he has never been a head coach in the league before.
“I think for any first-year coach when you’re building a staff, you would want somebody who has head-coaching experience, absolutely,” Pettine said Thursday after his introductory news conference. “I don’t know if I’d put it as a priority. I want to put the best staff together, but I think that’s a fringe benefit.”
Pettine and Kubiak have never worked together, but Pettine made it clear he doesn’t want his entire staff to be comprised entirely of familiar faces.
“I have a lot of coaches that I’m close with and I’ve worked with, but I don’t want to build, for lack of a better phrase, ‘a good old boys club,’” Pettine said. “A lot of coaches hire people that they are friends with or go way back with, and sometimes those relationship are great and for those reasons, they work well together. But I’m not insecure. That’s [not] an issue for me.
“When you hire a great coach and do a background check and you find he has great character and is passionate and is all about winning, when you put coaches in a room like that, they’re going to bond. So I don’t have a problem hiring somebody that I’ve never worked with before. I think the staff will be a combination of guys that I’ve had connections with, but I’m not going to bring somebody here just because I’d like to have somebody to go to lunch with. It’s going to be all about winning.”
Pettine is obviously a defensive-minded coach, and he said he plans to call the defense's plays during the 2014 season. He has ideas about the way he wants the Browns to play on offense, but there's no doubt the hiring of his offensive coordinator will be crucial. Whoever receives the job should be vital to the process of evaluating and targeting a quarterback this offseason, almost certainly via May's draft.
The Texans entered the 2013 season with Super Bowl aspirations but fired Kubiak on Dec. 6 after absorbing 11 consecutive losses and stumbling to a record of 2-11. Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke during Week 9 and missed two games before returning.
Kubiak, 52, went 61-63 in his eight seasons with the Texans, who made the playoffs twice during his tenure. He was the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator from 1995-2005. As the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterbacks coach in 1994, he directed Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young to an MVP season.
Kubiak played for the Broncos from 1983-91, serving as the backup quarterback to Hall of Famer John Elway. Kubiak played in 119 regular-season games and went 3-2 as a starter.