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Next steps in Browns' head-coach search


Browns CEO Joe Banner and team owner Jimmy Haslam continue head-coach search.

MOBILE, Ala. -- You've got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns' official Facebook and Twitter pages, and Here's what I have to say about what you have to say from the Senior Bowl:

Allen says: "Now that Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase has removed himself from consideration for the head-coaching job, where do the Browns go from here?"

I say: They continue going where they've been headed since the search began, Allen: in pursuit of the best candidate they can find.

Although it seemed pretty clear from the start that the Browns were targeting Gase as someone very high on their list, they were fully prepared for the possibility that they might not hire him, whether the decision was his or theirs. Therefore, they have been talking with many other coaches, and have been putting together a list of possibilities from which they will ultimately make their choice.

Based on what I've heard, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn continue to be someone in whom the Browns have a great deal of interest. He was the first person they interviewed for the job and there is reason to believe they will have a second interview with him. My understanding is they've been thoroughly researching his background and inquiring about his personality, etc.

There also are reports that the Browns maintain a strong interest in Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, whom they have interviewed once and reportedly are going to interview him a second time here. In addition, the Browns reportedly are going to interview Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who is part of the Falcons staff that is here coaching the North squad.

I can't say that Quinn or Pettine or Koetter would prove to be a better choice than Gase. But I also can't say whether Gase would have been the best choice of all.

In each case, you're talking about first-time head coaches, and in Gase's case, you're talking about someone who is relatively young at 35 and has only spent one season as a coordinator, albeit on a Super Bowl team with the best offense in the NFL.

Benjamin says: "How much is not having a head coach hurting the Browns' ability to evaluate talent at the Senior Bowl?"

I say: I honestly don't think it is that big of a deal, Benjamin.

Teams routinely have their scouting departments oversee the talent evaluation at this college all-star game as they do with other college all-star games and as they do with the entire process of assessing college players from the beginning of the football season and beyond.

The Browns' scouts have been grading players based on a scale and standards that were put in place regardless of who is their head coach. And once they sort out how players are ranked at each position and overall, they then match talent with the specific systems that the coach and his staff put in place.

Coaches do have some say in acquiring talent from the draft and from free agency, but they are generally brought into the discussion after the season, well after the scouting staff has done the bulk of the work in studying and ranking college prospects.

In most cases, rosters are shaped by the people who manage scouting, whose daily duties involve watching videotape of prospects and traveling to college campuses around the country, something coaches will do on a fairly limited basis in the months/weeks leading up to the draft. It's obviously something the Browns' new head coach and his staff should have plenty of time to do, especially the draft moving from April to May.

For the record, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks don't have any coaches here, either. They're preparing for a little game known as the Super Bowl, while the scouting staffs for those respective clubs are on hand in pursuit of talent that will allow them to continue to compete for championships.

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