It’s been a long, long time since the Cleveland Browns have had a head coach that has won more games than he has lost with the team. You would have to go all the way back to the mid- to late-80s era of Marty Schottenheimer, who coached Cleveland for five seasons and led them to three straight double-digit-win seasons from 1986 to 1988.
Though it has only been half a season, Gregg Williams this past year has become the first coach of the Browns since that time to post a winning record. After the front office decided to fire Hue Jackson two and a half seasons into his tenure, Williams won five of his eight final games, his only losses coming to AFC playoff teams.
Will that be enough to convince Jon Dorsey and company that he is the right man for the job on a full-term basis? He had his formal interview for the head coaching position yesterday, but the Browns have several other candidates lined up, including former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, an obvious dot to connect since he worked with Dorsey for over a decade.
“I really like this young team”, he told Cleveland.com. “I said this before, I turned down multiple jobs to come to Cleveland. I really wanted the opportunity to come here. I really love living in Cleveland. I love the people in Cleveland. I have tremendous memories of coming up to the old ‘Mistake by the Lake’ stadium”.
While he pitched his belief in the team and love for the environment, Williams also stuck to his personality, telling the paper that “there’s word on the street” that other teams are also interested in pursuing him as a candidate for one of the many currently vacant head coaching positions.
Whoever the Browns’ next head coach ends up being will actually have a roster with talent for once, and that’s starting with 2018 first-overall pick Baker Mayfield at quarterback, who set the NFL record for the most touchdown passes by a rookie. He also threw 14 interceptions, of course, but he clearly has a lot to work with.
Players like Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, and others on the offensive side of the ball will be important in the young quarterback’s development, while the defense will be carried by young starters such as Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, and Denzel Ward.
Williams is best-known for his time as a defensive coordinator in various stops. He previously served as head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2001 to 2003, posting a 17-31 record during that time.