With the Cleveland Browns two losses away from a winless season, and a possible reshuffling on the sidelines, it appears that head coach Hue Jackson may not be returning in 2018.
While the front office has stated that Jackson will be retained for what would be his third season in Cleveland, a 1-28 mark in two seasons, questionable time management and personnel moves in addition to a new boss in newly hired general manager John Dorsey could mean something entirely different.
Again, nothing is certain, but with road games in Chicago and Pittsburgh, it is very likely the the Browns will join the Detroit Lions as the second team to ever have a winless season.
With two picks in the first round–and possibly in the top five–five in the first two rounds and well over $100 million in salary cap room, Cleveland has a lot of proverbial wiggle room to make some moves in the offseason.
But will Hue be amongst them?
Below are my top five head coaching candidates to replace Jackson in 2018.
Frank Reich: Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator: While head coach Doug Pederson may be the main guy who calls the plays for Carson Wentz, offensive coordinator Frank Reich is the man who has helped him blossom into an NFL MVP candidate.
Before his season-ending ACL injury, Wentz was leading the NFL in touchdown passes. A former NFL quarterback, best remembered for engineering the greatest comeback in NFL history as a backup QB vs. the old Houston Oilers back in 1993, may be ready to spread his own wings and fly as a head coach.
Josh McDaniels: New England Patriots offensive coordinator: The ultimate homer long-shot fantasy if you’re a Browns fan, the Canton McKinley and John Carroll University alum, has been on the proverbial wishlist of both the Browns and their fans for years.
After a unsuccessful head coaching stint in Denver, instead of trying to coach elsewhere, McDaniels decided to return to Foxboro and coach the likes of Tom Brady instead. Perhaps the lure of coaching his hometown Browns might be enough to entice him away from One Patriot Place?
We shall see.
Jim Bob Cooter: Detroit Lions offensive coordinator: Thanks to the success of thirty-something Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, could the suddenly in-demand 33-year-old Jim Bob Cooter be the next young top gun ready to become an NFL head coach? While some may argue that’s its easy to look when coaching the likes of Matthew Stafford, there is no denying his unique and diverse play-calling.
Dave Toub: Kansas City Chiefs special teams coordinator: Here’s an interesting name to keep an eye out for. Considering his connection to Dorsey and the explosive success of Kansas City’s return game, thanks in large part to Tyreek Hill, if Dorsey want to go with something familiar, then don’t be shocked to hear more of Toub’s name in the coming months.
Jim Harbaugh: Michigan Wolverines head coach: If Jimmy Haslam and Dorsey both wish to make a BIG splash, then luring one of the most antagonistic–yet successful–coaches in football away from his alma mater in Toledo-born Jim Harbaugh. If they are able to pull off such a coup, Cleveland would have an experience head coach who has both playoff and Super Bowl experience, knows how to get the most out of players, played the game himself and knows how to deal with distractions–i.e. Colin Kaepernick.
The Browns would also get a tough-minded head coach who isn’t afraid to hold players accountable, knows the value of a tough and physical offense in the AFC North, and has a winning background as well.