The Cleveland Browns on Sunday wrapped up their best season in years. While the Browns finished 7-8-1, which placed them in third place in the AFC North and well outside of the playoffs, the season still marked a huge improvement over recent campaigns. The Browns were winless in 2017, going 0-16, and went 1-15 in 2016.
The Browns, buoyed by the play of rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, went on a run in the latter part of the season, winning five of seven games before the finale, and the success coincided with the firing of head coach Hue Jackson, who was replaced on an interim basis by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. But despite that success, it appears that Williams is not the reported favorite for the permanent head coaching job.
The Browns have reached out to former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy about their head coaching job, the Toronto Sun‘s John Kryk reported Sunday. Another reporter, Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic, went further Sunday night, tweeting that he was “hearing former Packers coach Mike McCarthy will be the next head coach of the Browns.”
The NFL has a rule in place called the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority coach for head coaching openings, which would seemingly preclude them from hiring McCarthy immediately.
McCarthy was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers for nearly 13 years, until he was fired by the team in early December. The coach led the Packers to a Super Bowl championship after the 2010 season. The coach is close with John Dorsey, the Browns general manager, who worked for many years with Green Bay.
The Sun report says that the Browns will interview several other candidates, including Williams, with New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Indianapolis defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus also mentioned as possible contenders for the job. A bizarre media report in November, quickly denied by Dorsey, stated that the Browns were looking to interview former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice for their coaching job.
Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have had a long parade of unsuccessful head coaches, with Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Terry Robiskie, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, Mike Pettine, and Jackson all posting losing records in their time as Browns coach. Williams, with a 5-3 record in his interim tenure, is the first Browns coach to post a winning record since Marty Schottenheimer, who coached the Browns from 1984 to 1988.