So goes another Cleveland Browns head coaching stint, as Mike Pettine was fired from the gig after just two years. Rumors had been swirling about whether or not Pettine would be back even before Cleveland’s 28-12 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. And the move was confirmed after the Steelers game, which dropped the Browns’ record to a dismal 3-13. So now that Pettine is out, who will be the new coach of the Cleveland Browns?
According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the team’s first choice is Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Cleveland targeted Gase before they hired Pettine in 2013; however, Gase removed himself from consideration to focus on the Denver Broncos’ playoff run. And sources confirm that the 37-year-old offensive coordinator is scheduled for an interview with Cleveland.
An interesting twist to this story is that Peyton Manning recommended Gase to his friend and Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. Manning is interested in playing another season somewhere after a foot injury derailed his current season in Denver. And it’s possible that this somewhere could be Cleveland if Gase lands the job.
However, it should be noted that all this information is merely based on reports and speculation. Gase will likely have plenty of other offers in 2016, with ProFootballTalk.com reporting that the Dolphins, Eagles and Lions (if Jim Caldwell is fired) will be in the hunt as well.
Gase has helped various quarterbacks experience great seasons. The Bears’ Jay Cutler is a prime example since he’s completed 63.9 percent of his passes while tossing 19 TD’s against only 8 INT’s. So far Gase has dealt with big pocket passers, meaning he might be skeptical of this job if Johnny Manziel is the best quarterback option in 2016.
In 2013 and ’14, Gase led the Broncos offense to league highs in points (34.0 PPG), passing (315.2 YPG) and total yards (430.1 YPG). Two years ago, Denver broke the NFL record for points scored (606) and touchdowns in a season (76). The same year saw Manning break records for passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) in a season.
Of course, it’s easier coaching perhaps the greatest quarterback in history to record highs. But what Gase did with lesser talents might be a true testament of his abilities. In 2011, he coached the duo of Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow to a combined 20:13 TD-to-INT ratio. That same year the Broncos won the AFC West title and a postseason spot, despite mediocre play at the game’s most important position.
Given all that Gase has done, he might be wise to consider another coaching opportunity when thinking about what’s happened in Cleveland over the last decade. Pettine lasted two seasons, Rob Chudzinski lasted one year, Pat Shurmur lasted two years and Eric Mangini also lasted just two seasons. The last coach to leave the franchise with a winning record was Marty Schottenheimer in 1988, and the last coach to tally 65 wins was Bill Belichick who was fired in 1995.
Besides the coaching carousel, the team has suffered a number of embarrassing draft mistakes over the past decade and a half. Tim Couch (1999), Courtney Brown (2000), Gerard Warren (2001), William Green (2002), Brady Quinn (2007) and Justin Gilbert (2014) are among the team’s most-memorable draft bust since re-starting their franchise in 1999.
It’s looking like Manziel (2014) could be yet another player added to Cleveland’s growing list of first-round draft busts. The former Heisman Trophy winner has suffered a number of alcohol-related, off-field incidents that have cast shadows on his character. So it remains to be seen if he’ll be on the roster when a new coach is brought in to the Browns organization this offseason.