By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
The Browns will probably pick a quarterback early in May’s draft, and if that’s the case, they’ll need someone to guide the rookie through a daunting transition from college to the NFL.
They’ll also need someone to help quarterback Brian Hoyer regain his form after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last year.
The Browns and new coach Mike Pettine seem to believe former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains is the right man for the job.
The Browns hired Loggains on Thursday night, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reported. Rapoport initially reported that Loggains’ title had yet to be determined, but that it would be either quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator.
A league source told the Beacon Journal it’s “very likely” that Loggains will become the Browns’ quarterback coach. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has yet to make an announcement.
This much is certain: Hiring a quarterbacks coach before an offensive coordinator would raise some eyebrows.
Pettine has never previously worked with Loggains. The Titans fired Loggains, 33, after they got rid of coach Mike Munchak following the 2013 season.
Loggains became the Titans’ offensive coordinator with five games left in 2012, and he kept that role last year. He served as their quarterbacks/passing game coach from 2010-12 and an offensive quality control coach from 2008-09. He has worked with quarterbacks Jake Locker, Matt Hasselbeck and Kerry Collins.
A former quarterback at the University of Arkansas, Loggains entered the NFL in 2005 as a scouting assistant with the Dallas Cowboys. He then joined the Titans as a coaching administrative assistant and held that role from 2006-07.
The Browns interviewed Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, 35, on Thursday and ex-Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, 34, on Wednesday for their offensive-coordinator vacancy, a team spokesman said.
However, Rapoport reported that Shanahan’s interview “did not exactly go as planned” and that the Browns have likely moved on from him. The search for a play-caller could extend into next week.
In four of the six seasons in which Shanahan has been an offensive coordinator, his offenses have finished in the top 10 in the league in yards per game. However, his well-documented clashes with quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Donovan McNabb have tarnished his reputation. The Redskins fired Shanahan and his father, Mike, their former head coach, after they went 3-13 during the 2013 season.
“What I would think the Browns do, based on talking to people close to the situation, is go back and interview a couple more candidates,” Rapoport said Thursday on NFL Network.
Chicago Bears quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh, 57, worked with Pettine when he was with the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets and has been mentioned as an offensive coordinator candidate. Like DeFilippo, Cavanaugh is a Youngstown native.
Other potential targets have been crossed off the list. Former Ravens wide receivers coach Jim Hostler took a job with the Buffalo Bills as a senior offensive assistant, ex-Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak joined the Ravens as their offensive coordinator, the Cowboys won’t let offensive coordinator and line coach Bill Callahan out of his contract and Louisiana State offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has said he plans to stay put because he doesn’t want to uproot his family.
In the meantime, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt reported that Pettine is zeroing in on former Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery to fill the same position with the Browns.