Today is Thursday. The Cleveland Browns fired Freddie Kitchens after one year at the helm as head coach earlier this week. On this day, they interview their first candidate to replace him. And that would be the most veteran name on the open market right now: former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.
Between 2006 and 2018, McCarthy led the Packers to a 125-77-2 record, an overall winning percentage of .618. Granted, they went 13-3 and are enjoying a postseason bye in their first year without him. Nevertheless, he has a lengthy and positive resume that includes a 10-8 postseason record, including a Super Bowl XLV victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
McCarthy didn’t get any real serious looks at head coaching opportunities during the last cycle, but he is very active and eager to return to coaching this time around, and figures to be in the running for any number of vacancies, including that of the New York Giants.
The Browns present an interesting possibility, however, because they also parted ways with general manager John Dorsey, and though he also had ties to McCarthy back in Green Bay, what Cleveland wants to do is essentially pair the head coach with a general manager he’s comfortable with.
It’s believed that, should McCarthy get the job, he would pair with former Packers front office head Eliot Wolf, who along with several others in the hierarchy was let go at the end of the 2018 season, along with McCarthy and others on the coaching staff. Wolf is already in the Browns’ front office, officially as the assistant general manager, who worked under Dorsey.
According to an article from Cleveland.com, McCarthy undertook a coaching project during his time off, partnering with other coaches, which had the incidental effect of allowing them to get him to embrace analytics more, which is regarded as a positive in his favor from the Browns’ perspective.
Another element of McCarthy’s resume that the Browns are favorable toward is the fact that he has a history of coaching quarterbacks with a strong personality in Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, though reports of a negative relationship with Rodgers have been around for many years.
This is obviously important given that their ‘franchise’ quarterback is Baker Mayfield, a quarterback who has already put his foot in his mouth a number of times. At one point this season, he inadvertently threw the team’s training and medical staff under the bus while trying to defend Odell Beckham, Jr.
McCarthy is just one of a number of candidates who have been connected to the Browns, including Josh McDaniels, who most recently was set to coach the Indianapolis Colts before changing his mind. This is his first interview of the offseason, and the Giants will interview him over the weekend.