A new name has surfaced in the Browns’ search for their seventh full-time head coach since 1999.
The Browns will interview Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo on Wednesday, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported today, citing an unnamed source. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reported the interview was set for this week.
The Browns are looking for a coach because they fired Rob Chudzinski Dec. 29 after he spent just one season on the job. The team went 4-12 under Chudzinski and suffered seven consecutive losses to end the season.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the news about McAdoo is the potential for him to follow a similar career path to that of Andy Reid, one of the most respected head coaches in the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Indianapolis Colts in a wild-card game this past weekend, but in his first season with the team, Reid guided it to a record of 11-5 and a postseason berth after it went 2-14 in 2012.
When Browns CEO Joe Banner oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Philadelphia Eagles, he and owner Jeffrey Lurie hired Reid as the team’s head coach in 1999. At the time, Reid was the Packers’ quarterbacks and had never previously been a coordinator at any level, let alone a head coach. Reid, though, held the job with the Eagles for 14 seasons and led them to five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl.
McAdoo, 36, is in the same boat Reid was in when he interviewed with the Eagles 15 years ago. McAdoo has always been a position coach and has yet to reach the status of a coordinator. He’s been with the Packers for eight seasons, and he spent the first six as their tight ends coach. Reid also coached the Packers' tight ends before guiding their quarterbacks.
Banner takes great pride in seeing something in Reid that not many others did at the time. Banner often points out that eight NFL teams were hiring head coaches in 1999, and only the Eagles gave Reid an interview.
“If you look at my career, I’ve been pretty comfortable projecting people,” Banner told the Beacon Journal in September. “People thought I was crazy when I hired Andy Reid.”
If the Browns hire McAdoo, they would rely on a projection because he has no track record of being in charge.
Before joining the Packers, McAdoo worked with the offensive line and tight ends as an assistant offensive line/quality control coach for the San Francisco 49ers (2005) and New Orleans Saints (2004). McAdoo left two college football programs -- Stanford University in 2005 and the University of Akron in 2004 -- after brief stints during the recruiting season to take those jobs with the 49ers and Saints.
McAdoo spent the 2003 season as an offensive assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2002, he also served as offensive line/tight ends coach at Fairfield University in Connecticut. He started his collegiate coaching career at Michigan State University as a special teams/offensive assistant in 2001 after coaching high school football for four years in his home state of Pennsylvania.
McAdoo is the first position coach who has been connected to the Browns’ head-coaching vacancy.
New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles are the candidates known to have interviewed with the Browns last week. The Browns requested to interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, but he said he'll postpone such opportunities until his team is done with the playoffs.
The Browns also are interested in two college head coaches, Auburn University’s Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt University’s James Franklin, Jason La Canfora of CBS reported last week. Franklin, though, has emerged as the clear front-runner for the Penn State job, Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports reported today.
League rules prohibit teams from offering jobs to NFL assistant coaches whose teams are in the playoffs. So the Browns would need to wait until McDaniels and Quinn are finished with the postseason if they want to strike an agreement with either of them. The Packers suffered a wild-card loss to the 49ers this past weekend, so McAdoo is free to accept another job at anytime.
There has been much speculation about McAdoo getting a shot to become the Miami Dolphins' offensive coordinator after Mike Sherman was fired Monday. Before becoming the head coach of the Dolphins, Joe Philbin was the Packers' offensive coordinator, and McAdoo was one of his assistants.