Title games impact Browns' coach search?


MOBILE, Ala. – The search for new players continues here, as the focus of the NFL scouting world turns to Senior Bowl Week.

The search for the Browns' new coach who will lead those and other players also continues, with the process potentially entering a holding pattern because of the outcomes of Sunday's conference championships.

Thanks to the Denver Broncos' victory in the AFC title game and the Seattle Seahawks' triumph for the NFC crown, the Browns wouldn't be in a position to hire at least two of the coaches they have reportedly targeted – Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn – will be tied up for the next two weeks preparing for Super Bowl XXVIII on Feb. 2.

Gase and Quinn certainly offered some reasons to believe the wait is worthwhile.

Gase's offense generated 507 yards and put together six successive scoring drives in the Broncos' 26-16 victory against the New England Patriots. Peyton Manning, Denver's quarterback who has been reaching new levels of greatness this season, threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns, and wasn't intercepted on the way to posting a quarterback rating of 118.4.

Quinn's defense, which led the NFL with 39 takeaways, was spectacular in the Seahawks' 23-17 win against the San Francisco 49ers, forcing three turnovers in as many drives in the fourth quarter. The last was an interception of a Colin Kaepernick pass in the end zone to put the game away.

Under NFL rules, the Browns, because they have interviewed Quinn once, could interview him a second time. However, they have yet to interview Gase and would not be able to do so until after the Super Bowl.

Would the delay in hiring/interviewing Gase and Quinn persuade the Browns to turn elsewhere for a coach? Would they be inclined to look toward Mike Pettine, the Buffalo Bills' defensive coordinator who reportedly had a strong interview with the Browns last week?

There is reason to think the timing wouldn't influence the Browns' decision, that the team's decision-makers would stay true to the pursuit of the "right" guy rather than the "available" guy.

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