The Cleveland Browns are scheduled to conduct head-coaching interviews with Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Friday and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Saturday, according to reports.
The Browns also reportedly interviewed Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn on Wednesday, which would mark their first known meeting with a candidate since they shocked many by firing coach Rob Chudzinski on Sunday night. The Seahawks (13-3) won the NFC West and finished the regular season with the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense (273.6 yards allowed per game) in Quinn's first season as their coordinator.
For coaches who are in the playoffs like McDaniels and Quinn, NFL rules stipulate that they cannot agree to a head-coaching job until they're eliminated from the postseason. The Patriots and Seahawks have byes this weekend and won't play until Jan. 11.
The Browns are not commenting on interviews as they search for their seventh full-time coach since 1999. Chudzinski spent only one season on the job and finished 4-12 with a seven-game losing streak and 10 defeats in the final 11 games.
Bowles, 50, will interview in the Cleveland area, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported. He's familiar with Northeast Ohio because he coached defensive backs for the Browns from 2001-04 as a member of Butch Davis' staff.
Bowles helped the Cardinals (10-6) finish with the NFL's sixth-ranked defense (317.4 yards allowed per game) in his first season as their coordinator.
Bowles joined the Cardinals last year after splitting the 2012 season as the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. In addition to the Browns, he previously coached defensive backs for the Miami Dolphins (2008-11), Dallas Cowboys (2005-07) and the New York Jets (2000).
Bowles also played safety for eight seasons in the NFL (Washington Redskins 1986-90, 1992-93 and San Francisco 49ers 1991). He went undrafted in 1986 but appeared in 117 regular-season games, tallying 15 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries. He started for the Redskins when they won the Super Bowl during the 1987 season.
Interviewing Bowles would satisfy the Rooney Rule. The rule requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate before hiring a head coach or personnel chief.
Of the defensive-minded coaches who have been linked to the Browns, Bowles is the only one who uses a 3-4 scheme. Quinn, 43, runs a 4-3, and so does former Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz, whom La Canfora reported is "expected" to become the Browns' next defensive coordinator. The report contradicts CEO Joe Banner insisting during a news conference Monday that the new coach would pick his assistants.
Even though the Browns just switched from a 4-3 system to a 3-4 this past season under defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Banner said they're open to changing again during an interview this week on the team's radio show. Like firing Chudzinski without much time to prove himself, flip-flopping defenses would be surprising because the new regime invested so heavily in 3-4 outside linebackers by drafting Barkevious Mingo sixth overall in April and signing Paul Kruger to a five-year, $40 million deal in March.
"Obviously, there are some benefits to continuing something as basic as you playing a 3-4 or 4-3," Banner said. "But if we found somebody we thought was going to be a great head coach and we had to look at that, it wouldn't rule the coach out.
"But that's not to deny it would be simpler if we perpetuate the system. Most of those players, by the way, we think can play effectively in either scheme. But we really just need to find the right coach and let him define those things."
As for McDaniels, a former Canton McKinley star quarterback/kicker, he's set to interview with the Browns on Saturday in the New England area, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported. He helped the Patriots (12-4) finish the regular season with the NFL's seventh-ranked offense (384.5 yards per game).
Banner's history shows he prefers hiring offensive-minded head coaches, and La Canfora has labeled McDaniels, 37; Auburn University coach Gus Malzahn, 48; and Vanderbilt University coach James Franklin, 41, favorites to get the job. All of them are linked to agent Jimmy Sexton, who also represented Chudzinski. Sexton goes way back with Browns General Manager Mike Lombardi.
On Thursday, the Browns announced they signed running back Jamaine Cook and defensive back Brandon Hughes to reserve/future contracts.
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