If Damarious Randall had to make a choice between his two former head coaches, he has made it pretty obvious which one he preferred. The Green Bay Packers traded him away from Mike MCarthy this offseason and sent him to work under Hue Jackson with the Cleveland Browns.
When Jackson joined the Cincinnati Bengals after his firing, Randall had a laugh. After McCarthy was fired, he took to his defense. “They traded away all their good players and they expect Aaron Rodgers to just be magical”, he said. “The magic hasn’t been so magical lately. But other than that, I don’t know”.
The Browns sent 2017 second-round quarterback DeShone Kizer to the Packers in exchange for Randall, who primarily played cornerback in Green Bay but who would be moved full-time to safety in Cleveland.
He says that while the change of scenery has been good for him, the biggest different has been the change on the field. “It was more of a position change of me actually being back, playing my natural position. That was probably more of the problem at Green Bay”, he said. “Just the position”.
On the season, Randall has recorded a career-high 65 tackles so far. His three interceptions are consistent with what he has done throughout his career up to this point and he’s on-pace with his total passes defensed as well.
His most recent interception came just two weeks ago as the Browns faced the Bengals. After intercepting a poorly-thrown pass from Andy Dalton at the end of the half, Randall stepped out of bounds at Cincinnati’s sideline and handed the ball directly to Jackson, his former head coach, who proceeded to pat him on the helmet and thank him for the ball.
While it sounds as though Randall would have preferred to be playing at safety all along through his three seasons in Green Bay, that likely was not a decision that McCarthy made. Former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dom Capers held that same role for the Packers at that time up until this season, and former Steelers safety Darren Perry worked with the defensive backs—again, up until this season.
There was one incident last season in which Randall was benched in the middle of a game in which he was struggling, but he didn’t fault McCarthy for that. “I don’t think that has much to do with us getting along”, he said. “I don’t think we ever had a problem. Me and him never had any type of problems. He’s a great coach. I would look forward to him being here”.
As I mentioned recently, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if McCarthy does end up in Cleveland. Their general manager, John Dorsey, as well as Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith, all members of the front office, were brought in from Green Bay or had previously worked with McCarthy in Green Bay.