The Browns should learn more about the way their search for an offensive coordinator will unfold as other coaching vacancies throughout the NFL are filled.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur has been talking to offensive coordinator candidates, mostly by phone, though it's unclear whether any formal interviews have taken place. "Candidates with options and deadlines" have been communicating with the organization, a league source said.
The Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to hire a head coach. Those teams are expected to be in the market for a new offensive coordinator along with the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers.
Shurmur juggled the roles of a first-year head coach and an offensive coordinator during the 2011 season. After the Browns finished with a record of 4-12, Shurmur vowed to hire an offensive coordinator.
"More than anything, I think what it will do is allow me to just step back and look down on some things in some areas that I may be able to contribute more," Shurmur said Jan. 3 during his season-ending news conference. "I think that’s a key piece.
"Keep in mind this: As the head coach of this team, I want to direct a team that is winning games. I have a general philosophy of how that works. You tweak it to do what fits best based on those principles to win games. I think that’s just natural that you have an offensive coordinator."
Shurmur said he'll keep his list of candidates private, but he conceded a coach with experience in the West Coast offense would be an ideal fit.
Former Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress and former Green Bay Packers and Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman would be logical candidates. Both of them have connections to the Browns and are represented by agent Bob LaMonte, whose clients include Shurmur, President Mike Holmgren and General Manager Tom Heckert. Childress and Sherman have reportedly interviewed for the Buccaneers' head-coaching job.
Shurmur indicated he would be willing to forfeit play-calling duties if the Browns are able to secure a candidate he deems worthy of those responsibilities.
"I think it's important that I get the best coordinator I can for us," Shurmur said. "I think (determining who calls the plays is) one of the details that will get worked out as we go through the process."