The Cleveland Browns reportedly are hiring Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as their new head coach, meaning New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels likely will return to his post in Foxboro for the 2020 season.
This is an interesting turn of events, as McDaniels seemed to have a legitimate shot at landing the Cleveland job. But Boomer Esiason explained Monday on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” that the Browns’ decision to pass on the Patriots OC didn’t exactly come out of left field.
“Not shocking to me at all,” Esiason, an analyst for CBS Sports and WFAN, said, as transcribed by WEEI.com. “As a matter in fact, we kind of expected it at CBS because I don’t think the Browns were going to commit to everything Josh wanted.”
There was speculation McDaniels might absorb significant power regarding personnel decisions should the Browns hire him away from the Patriots, as Cleveland mutually parted ways with general manager John Dorsey in addition to firing head coach Freddie Kitchens. But the Browns ultimately went in a different direction, opting for Stefanski, who was widely viewed as the runner-up for the position last offseason when Cleveland hired Kitchens.
Paul DePodesta, the Browns’ chief strategy officer, by all accounts led Cleveland’s coaching search this time around, and it sounds like McDaniels’ vision didn’t quite mesh with some of the protocols the organization reportedly plans to implement. According to Dustin Fox, a Cleveland radio host and ESPN college football analyst, candidates had to agree to submit their weekly game plans to team owner Jimmy Haslam and the analytics department.
“I am not (surprised McDaniels didn’t get the job), because Paul DePodesta is running that thing and he’s an analytics-driven guru,” Esiason said Monday. “I would imagine if Josh McDaniels is going to take a job, it was going to be under his ideas and he probably told the Haslams what he wanted, how he wanted to do things. It probably didn’t line up with what Paul DePodesta wanted to do.”
McDaniels also was expected to interview with the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers for their head-coaching jobs before they hired Joe Judge and Matt Rhule, respectively. Now, it’s fair to wonder whether McDaniels staying put in New England will impact Tom Brady’s decision, as the 42-year-old quarterback is set to become a free agent for the first time and it’s unclear whether he’ll return to the Patriots or take his talents elsewhere.
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