Berea, OH (WOIO) - On December 30, Browns CEO Joe Banner declared that the team would not revisit their 2012 list of candidates as they searched for Rob Chudzinski's replacement. By January 9, he'd changed his mind. With Josh McDaniels, their top candidate, turning them down, and with other candidates either staying put (Auburn's Guz Malzahn), taking other jobs (James Franklin/Penn State), or off-limits until after the playoffs (Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase), the Browns shifted gears, and decided to make a run at Ken Whisenhunt, the Chargers offensive coordinator.
Their interview with Whisenhunt comes almost exactly a year to the day that he turned down the job that eventually went to Chudzinski. There were rumors that he walked out of his second interview with the Browns back then, frustrated that he wouldn't be able to choose his assistant coaches. Well, this time Whisenhunt has the leverage. Not only was he meeting with the Lions and Titans before the Browns got to Denver, he knows the list of qualified candidates is dwindling fast.
There's a lot to like about this possible hire. Whisenhunt took the Arizona Cardinals to their only Super Bowl following the 2008 season, and of course has a Super Bowl ring from his days as the Steelers offensive coordinator. And there's a little to be concerned with, including the fact that he went 18-30 over his final three years with the Cardinals. Of course, he'd lost Kurt Warner by then, and without a franchise quarterback, Whisenhunt suffered, as most coaches do. You need both, a strong coach and a franchise quarterback. Teams just don't succeed without both.
You ask me, I say make it happen. Bring Whisenhunt in, and get him his franchise quarterback next May. The problem is, if I'm Whisenhunt, I have a hard time saying no to the Lions, and Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, and a ferocious defense.
But at least the Browns are in the game for a head coach with Super Bowl experience. That's a first. And not a moment too soon.