The Cleveland Browns have asked permission to speak with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman about their head coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the requests told the Associated Press on Monday.
Cleveland fired Freddie Kitchens on Sunday night following a loss in Cincinnati that concluded a disappointing 6-10 season. The Browns almost immediately reached out to inquire about McDaniels and Roman, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the teams are not confirming the Browns’ interest.
Per league rules, the Browns cannot interview McDaniels until after New England’s wild-card game against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday. They can speak this week to Roman because the Ravens have a bye.
“I’m 100% fully invested in getting ready for Tennessee and trying to put our best performance of the season out there on Saturday night,” McDaniels said Monday on a conference call when asked about the Cleveland opening. “We have a lot of work to do. That’s where my focus will be. That’s where it’s at now, and it’ll stay there. That’s the best thing for our team. It’s the best thing for me.“
McDaniels and Roman both have Ohio roots. McDaniels has been linked to previous coaching searches in Cleveland. He interviewed for the Browns’ job in 2014.
McDaniels went 11-17 in two seasons in Denver. He’s won six Super Bowl titles alongside Bill Belichick, and he’s been successful in working closely with quarterbacks. One of Kitchens’ failings this season was that quarterback Baker Mayfield regressed after a strong rookie season.
Roman, 47, also has a proven track record with quarterbacks. He’s overseen the NFL’s highest-scoring offense this season and has helped develop QB Lamar Jackson into a superstar and the league’s likely MVP.
The Browns, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, are looking for their seventh coach since 2009.
Kitchens was fired following his only season as a head coach.
“We thank Freddie for his hard work and commitment to this organization but did not see the success or opportunities for improvement to move forward with him as our head coach,“ owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “Our focus is on hiring an exceptional leader for this football team, and we will take a comprehensive approach to this process. We are excited about the core players we have to build around and develop, and we look forward to bringing in a strong head coach that will put this group of players in the best position to succeed.”
The Browns were a trendy pick to make the postseason under Kitchens after acquiring star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in a blockbuster trade in March from the New York Giants. They paired him with Mayfield, who broke the league rookie record for touchdown passes in 2018.
But the Mayfield-to-Beckham connection was never consistent with Kitchens also handling play-calling duties. The Browns were also one of the league’s most penalized teams for much of the year. Injuries were also a problem, but there were numerous self-inflicted issues — none bigger than star defensive end Myles Garrett being suspended indefinitely for ripping off Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet and hitting him in the head with it during the closing seconds of a Nov. 14 home game.
Giants fire Pat Shurmur, reports say
The New York Giants have fired coach Pat Shurmur after the once-proud franchise took a step back by winning four games in a season marked by a franchise record-tying nine-game losing streak, a person familiar with the move told the Associated Press.
Shurmur was released Monday, a day after the Giants failed to play the spoiler role and saw the Philadelphia Eagles beat them 34-17 to win the NFC East. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Giants have not announced the firing.
The four-time Super Bowl champions finished with a 4-12 record, missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years. New York has won 12 games over the last three seasons, including a 5-11 mark in Shurmur’s first season in 2018.
Shurmur had refused to speculate about his future after the game. He felt the franchise, which dates to 1925, was in better shape than when he took over after a 3-13 season in 2017. He noted the organization now has salary cap room for free agency and draft picks, including the No. 4 overall selection in 2020.
Co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch disagreed. Beating Washington (3-13) twice, Miami (5-11) and Tampa Bay (7-9) was not enough.
Redskins fire Bruce Allen
Washington Redskins team President Bruce Allen was fired Monday after a tumultuous and loss-filled decade with the NFL team once coached by his father.
Owner Dan Snyder announced the move early Monday. From the outset of the 2010 season, the Redskins went 62-97-1 with Allen serving as owner Daniel Snyder’s right-hand man, a stretch that featured only two playoff appearances and zero playoff victories — along with plenty of public relations disasters.
“As this season concludes, Bruce Allen has been relieved of his duties as president of the Washington Redskins and is no longer with the organization,” Snyder said. “Like our passionate fan base, I recognize we have not lived up to the high standards set by great Redskins teams, coaches and players who have come before us. As we reevaluate our team leadership, culture and process for winning football games, I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead to renew our singular focus and purpose of bringing championship football back to Washington.”
Allen was hired as Washington’s executive vice president and general manager in December 2009, then promoted to president in May 2014.
Allen infamously boasted at a news conference after the 2014 season that the Redskins were “winning off the field” under his watch. He was mocked more recently for objecting to reporters’ questions about widespread criticism of the organizational culture by asserting, “The culture is actually damn good.”
Washington went 3-13 this season.
Jay Gruden, who was given a contract extension by Allen, was fired after an 0-5 start to this season, his sixth — the longest stint for a head coach under Snyder — and replaced by offensive line coach Bill Callahan on an interim basis.