Is Josh McDaniels no longer the top candidate in Cleveland?

Ryan Hannable
January 08, 2020 - 11:49 am

A lot has changed over the last day or so when it comes to open head-coaching jobs in the NFL.

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Two were filled on Tuesday when Matt Rhule went to Carolina and Joe Judge went to New York. This means the only opening left is in Cleveland and it will have its selection of who it wants.

Early on in the process, the thought was Josh McDaniels was the favorite, but that may not be accurate any more.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is now in the mix, along with Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. Schwartz reportedly is interviewing Wednesday and then Stefanski Thursday before McDaniels on Friday. Cleveland reportedly wants to have its new coach by the end of the weekend, but will complete the process and interview everyone before making a hire.

Looking at the names being interviewed, there’s no question McDaniels is one of the biggest, but he may not be what the Browns are looking for after all.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport noted Tuesday night how the team is seeking a coach who is into analytics, and that is more up Schwartz and Stefanski’s alley. Stefanski interviewed well last year, but ultimately recently let-go general manager John Dorsey promoted Freddie Kitchens instead of hiring him.

Also, McDaniels has been rumored to want to bring in his own personnel man and not have to work much with CSO Paul DePodesta, who has a baseball background and is big into analytics. DePodesta is in charge of the head-coaching hire and he may not connect as well with McDaniels as he may with Schwartz and Stefanski.

Other coaches to interview with Cleveland have been: Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

It remains to be seen exactly what happens, but do not be surprised if McDaniels returns to the Patriots, which would be a win for them.

Related: Tom Brady thanks Patriots fans in Instagram post, notes he still has more to prove