Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
Takeaways on the next Browns coaching search …
1. Now that the Browns have leaked – and then confirmed – the story that GM John Dorsey will lead the coaching search, ostensibly to assuage mounting fears that the Haslams will follow the advice of the same people that led them to Hue Jackson, it’s probably a good idea to send Dorsey to the media room to address the obvious issues. Transparency is the best policy. Leaking is another sign of bad culture.
2. I don’t care to see the veins protruding out of Jimmy Haslam’s neck when Dorsey presents his No. 1 choice to be a 56-year-old special teams coach. Haslam might be speed-dialing Jed Hughes of search firm Korn Ferry in no time.
3. I love Bruce Arians, but I think he’s tugging our chains when he said the Browns’ job is the only one he’d consider coming out of retirement for. Arians should have been hired long ago by the Browns, but now is not the right time. He knows that. Leaving Arizona golf behind at age 66 doesn’t seem to be in the cards, and Arians’ prototype quarterback is 6-3 and 225 pounds.
4. Yes, the next head coach must be chosen with Baker Mayfield’s best interests in mind. But doesn’t pairing Mayfield with his Oklahoma coach, Lincoln Riley, put both in compromising positions in the locker room? And yet … if Riley is lured to the NFL by another team, and is successful, the Browns would have Eggs Benedict on their faces. It’s really a tough spot for all involved.
5. At this point, I probably would favor a proven college coach with a bright offensive mind who has turned around major programs over an NFL offensive coordinator who was lucky to be surrounded by Pro Bowl quarterbacks and wide receivers and worked under a great head coach. We don’t need another Pat Shurmur.
6. The elephant in the room is the Rooney Rule. This year’s slate of minority candidates receiving interviews will include Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin (who’s been there before), Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores, Packers associate head coach Winston Moss, Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards, and former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell.
7. There was a tweet from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, attributed to a source, that Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak would be a candidate for the job. Munchak falls into that category of fabulous coaches you’d love to have on your staff – but not as head coach. There are a few up-and-coming offensive coordinators in that category, too, such as Kyle Shanahan-disciple Matt LaFleur of the Titans, Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, and Pete Carmichael Jr. of the Saints.
8. You’d love to have Matt Campbell of Iowa State on your NFL staff. But the leap from head coach in Ames, IA, to the NFL is one that even Evel Knievel wouldn’t attempt. Campbell is probably one major college job away from entering the NFL hiring cycle.
9. I believe to this day that Bill Cowher would be the perfect coach for the Browns, even at age 61 and retired as Steelers coach for 12 years now. But in January, Cowher told me on #100YearsPod, “I had the best job in football and I stepped away. I’m in a good place, for so many different reasons. As much as I missed the game, I think with each year going out I’ve been able to experience things I never would have been able to do had I been in coaching. It’s not about any job out there. To me, it’s about quality of life.”
10. John Harbaugh and Mike McCarthy are fine coaches and each has won a Super Bowl ring. I wouldn’t dismiss either as a candidate if he became available. I just don’t see either as the right coach for Mayfield.
11. I think Josh McDaniels has turned his back on Haslam’s overtures on two occasions. That would be enough for me to keep him off my list. Plus, there’s the Bill Belichick factor. No Belichick assistant had lasting success in the NFL. Mike Vrabel’s early run with the Titans is instructive. Yes, he played for Belichick, but he was smart enough to coach under the wing of others.
12. I wouldn’t eliminate a coach from the defensive side. He’d better have a young, progressive, offensive coordinator in his pocket, though. Think of the Dan Quinn-Kyle Shanahan ticket in 2015.
13. Whomever is hired, I would recommend Josh McCown as his quarterback coach and future coordinator.