COMMENTARY | It's back to the drawing board once again for the Cleveland Browns.
Cleveland fired head coach Rob Chudzinski following the Browns' loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17. To say that Chudzinski's firing came as a surprise would be a huge understatement, as he seemed to be a lock to return as head coach next season, despite Cleveland's collapse in the second half of 2013.
While I, for one, am disappointed about the dismissal of a coach that was on the job for less than a year, the damage is done. Cleveland will have it's fourth different head coach in the past five years patrolling the sidelines next fall, and there is a pool of intriguing candidates for the Browns to choose from.
These are a few of the coaches the Browns might consider this offseason:
One of those names that always seems to pop up whenever a coaching job opens up in the NFL, Gruden hasn't had an NFL gig since 2008.
Gruden was on Cleveland's radar last year after Pat Shurmur was fired, and his shared connections to the University of Tennessee with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam mean that he will probably be on Cleveland's short list of candidates once again this offseason.
While McDaniels did not fare so well in his previous head coaching stint with the Denver Broncos from 2009 to 2010, he still brings quite a bit to the table as a candidate for the Browns job.
A disciple of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, McDaniels is in his second stint as the Pats' offensive coordinator. McDaniels is only 37, and has ties to Northeast Ohio, so that could be enticing to the Browns.
Currently the head coach at Penn State, O'Brien interviewed for Cleveland's coaching job this past offseason, but elected to remain with the Nittany Lions, whom he led to a 7-5 season in 2013.
O'Brien is 15-9 in his two seasons at Penn State, an almost remarkable feat considering the sanctions levied against the school by the NCAA in 2012. It is being reported that O'Brien will end up with the Houston Texans, but if that falls through, he would certainly be on Cleveland's radar.
Reports are that Schwartz is on his way out as head coach of the Detroit Lions, opening up the door for the Browns to pursue him, if they so choose.
Schwartz did turn around a Detroit team that was in way worse shape than the Browns currently are in leading the Lions to a playoff berth in 2011. Unfortunately, Schwartz's teams have underachieved the past two seasons, making me wonder if he is a wise choice for a Cleveland team that had more Pro Bowlers than wins in 2013.
Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Browns for over 25 years.
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