Terry Pluto has a good list of candidates. DBN has some more, including who is getting ready to interview. I’ll rank them. Note that Cleveland hasn’t actually scheduled interviews with some of them, so it’s pure speculation on his (and my) part. I’ve left Jerome Henderson off the list because he’s probably going to Miami with Adam Gase.
10. Tom Coughlin — No interview scheduled, but he’s my least favorite choice. I know he’s a successful coach, but he’s the oldest school of old school among the bunch, which makes him a poor fit for the analytically-inclined New Browns.
9. Doug Marrone — He reminds me too much of Pettine. Pluto says he’s pretty thin skinned and can’t take criticism well. The defense needs help, but I don’t think he’s the right guy to fix it.
8. Teryl Austin — Austin is something of a cipher to me. I know he’s the Lion’s defensive coordinator, but Detroit wasn’t much better than Cleveland this year. By DVOA, they were 16th, with Cleveland at 29th. However, there was only about nine percentage points between them.
7. Paul Guenther — Nothing scheduled for the Bengals’ defensive coordinator, but he’s another one like Austin that I just don’t know that well. The Bengals were pretty good defensively this year, but they also have a much better secondary than we do.
6. Chip Kelly — I think he’s a good fit with the new regime, but I question how willing he’ll be to accept a situation where he has little control over the roster (which is Brown/DePodesta). He’d be top three if I knew he could accept less control.
5. Hue Jackson — The other Bengals’ coordinator, he doesn’t have a track record of developing QBs, but he does have head coaching experience. He’s also well-liked and well-spoken; Cleveland could use one of those guys.
4. Lovie Smith — I don’t know how responsible Smith was for developing Jameis Winston, but he’s got a really good track record as a head coach. No interviews yet, but I would venture Cleveland comes a-calling at some point.
3. Sean McDermott — The more I hear about the defensive coordinator for Carolina, the more I like him. He wants to coach in Philly, so I don’t think Cleveland has a great shot at him, but Cleveland needs a good defensive guy to change things up.
2. Tom DeFilippo — I don’t know if the Browns even want Flip to be a head coach. I love his offensive schemes, though, and with more talent he’d look even better. He creatively got people involved (Duke Johnson, for one). I don’t know if other teams want to interview him, but I’d rather he be HC than lose him.
1. Matt Patricia — Unless, of course, we get this guy. Patricia is a brilliant guy and extremely analytical. He’s gotten the most out of an aging defense. He’s never been Head Coach, which will make the Browns job attractive. If we hired this guy, I would feel better about Cleveland next year than almost any other hire.