By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
The Browns will interview former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan today and Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo on Thursday for the organization’s offensive coordinator opening, a team spokesman confirmed.
New Browns coach Mike Pettine’s background in the NFL is on defense, so the hiring of his offensive coordinator is crucial. Not only will the successful candidate call the offense’s plays, but he also should be instrumental in helping the Browns target a quarterback this offseason — almost certainly in the draft in May.
Shanahan has been passed over twice this offseason for offensive coordinator jobs for which he interviewed.
Instead of picking Shanahan, the Baltimore Ravens hired former Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak on Monday and the Miami Dolphins hired former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback coach Bill Lazor on Jan. 15. According to reports, Shanahan will not join Kubiak’s staff with the Ravens despite speculation about him possibly doing so.
The Redskins fired Shanahan and his father, Mike, the team’s former head coach, after they went 3-13 during the 2013 season.
The younger Shanahan, 34, had been the Redskins’ offensive coordinator since 2010. He also served as the offensive coordinator of the Texans from 2008-09.
Shanahan’s offenses finished in the top 10 in the NFL in yards per game four times — 2008 (third), 2009 (fourth), 2012 (fifth) and 2013 (ninth). The other two seasons were 2010 (18th) and 2011 (16th).
But Shanahan’s reputation was damaged this season partly because trust issues reportedly surfaced between the Redskins’ coaching staff and quarterback Robert Griffin III, creating friction between the two sides.
DeFilippo, 35, is in his second tour coaching the Raiders’ quarterbacks. He did it from 2007-08, left for an assistant quarterback job with the New York Jets in 2009 and then returned to the Raiders in 2012. He has coached their quarterbacks in each of the past two seasons.
DeFilippo, a Youngstown native, also coached at San Jose State for two seasons, serving as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2011.
Pettine was the defensive coordinator for the Jets from 2009-12 and the Buffalo Bills last year. So he and DeFilippo were members of Jets coach Rex Ryan’s staff in 2009. Pettine and Shanahan have never worked together.
Former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and Chicago Bears quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh have also been mentioned as potential candidates to join the Browns as a play-caller.
NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported Tuesday that the Browns considered Ravens wide receivers coach Jim Hostler for their offensive coordinator vacancy. Breer, though, reported that Hostler “may be out of the mix now.” Hostler interviewed for the Ravens’ offensive coordinator position before they chose Kubiak instead.
The Dallas Cowboys hired former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan as their play-caller. But the Cowboys still won’t let Bill Callahan, who called their plays last season, out of his contract, according to reports. Callahan also had been listed as a possible candidate for the Browns’ offensive coordinator opening.
Louisiana State offensive coordinator Cam Cameron told the Times-Picayune that the Browns showed interest in him last week, but he won’t be joining them.
“I don’t plan on going anywhere soon,” Cameron said Sunday. “I don’t want to uproot my family right now.”
The Bills announced Tuesday that they have granted the Browns permission to interview defensive line coach Anthony Weaver.
FootballScoop.com reported Tuesday that Weaver will leave the Bills to become the Browns’ new defensive line coach. Bills coach Doug Marrone said Monday that he didn’t “feel good about” Weaver remaining in Buffalo.
Weaver would become the fifth assistant coach Pettine has hired from the Bills’ staff.
Not the right time
Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase explained Tuesday why he declined to interview with the Browns during their head-coaching search. The Browns targeted Gase, but he withdrew from consideration Jan. 21, two days before they moved on and hired Pettine.
Gase, 35, has never been a head coach.
“I guess I didn’t really think about it until it came up this year, and it just wasn’t the right time, as far as the timing with us coming here and the focus I wanted on this game,” Gase told reporters during Super Bowl media day. He’ll coach the Broncos in the title game Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. “I'm not worrying about it right now. It’s on the backburner for me.
“I mean, who’s to say they’re really ready for anything, right? When those opportunities come up, and you decide, ‘Hey, that's the right opportunity for me,’ then you go ahead and jump in, and you just do what you're born to do.”
The Tennessee Titans hired Mike Sullivan as an assistant offensive line coach, the team announced Tuesday. He spent the 2013 season with the Browns.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.