CLEVELAND — The Browns lost their final game of the season to the now 2-14 Cincinnati Bengals Sunday in an embarrassing display of football. With head coach Freddie Kitchens being fired by the team Sunday after a truly disappointing season, it’s time to start considering who the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns will be.
Here are six potential candidates the Browns should consider to replace Kitchens next season, in no particular order:
The former Green Bay Packers coach is on the market and a no-brainer candidate. McCarthy was rumored to be a finalist in the head coach search last season and has ties with the front office.
The 56-year-old coach has a track record of success and would provide the Browns with much-needed, proven leadership.
The only concern is his past history of having a polarizing relationship with his quarterback, but if he could form a connection with Baker Mayfield, his expertise could be the spark Cleveland desperately needs.
McCarthy has had a year off from coaching to reflect on his mistakes and could have reinvented his offensive schemes during that time. If the Browns could bag him, considering he turned the job down last year, next season might look like we thought this year would.
Recently let go by the Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera could be just what the Browns, and their locker room needs. Discipline, discipline, discipline.
The 2013 and 2015 AP Coach of the Year, Rivera lead the Panthers to four playoff appearances with a coaching record of 76-63-1 over his nine years with the team.
Rumors surrounding the state of the Browns locker room and organization as awhile have been spiraling around the city, but Rivera is a man of the people. A well-respected, well-liked head coach could be the glue the team has been missing to become a cohesive unit.
See for yourself what the Browns would be getting with Rivera:
All the best to you, Coach pic.twitter.com/5Tt8YhbiRC— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) December 4, 2019
Come on, it’s Urban Meyer. The man is legendary in Ohio.
The former Ohio State coach has one of the highest winning percentages in NCAA history and rumors point to him considering becoming a head coach in the NFL.
While he has no experience in the NFL, Meyer knows exactly how to build a successful team from top to bottom and ran his Ohio State program like they were in the NFL, preparing them for success in the league before they had even entered it.
The biggest concern with Meyer as the Browns head coach would be his health issues. An enlarged congenital arachnoid cyst on his brain caused Meyer to retire from coaching the Buckeyes. A stress-inducing team like the Browns might not be great for Meyer’s well-being.
He's a young, intelligent, soon-to-be head coach with a wealth of potential and having Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels at the helm of the Browns could be lethal for the rest of the league. The Northeast Ohio native obviously knows how to perform at a high-level with his 16 years of experience with the Patriots.
The downside to McDaniels would be, like Kitchens, his lack of experience. He had mediocre— and controversial—results in his first head coaching job with the Denver Broncos, but has spent years learning with one of the most successful organizations of all time. If the Browns are looking to take a chance on bringing up another inexperienced head coach, McDaniels seems like the way to go.
The chemistry between Lincoln Riley and Baker Mayfield is the strongest argument for his consideration as head coach of the Browns.
Under Riley’s offense, Mayfield was explosive, leading to his Heisman win and the Browns subsequently taking him first in the 2018 NFL Draft.
If he could replicate that Sooner success with Mayfield again and incorporate Odell Beckham Jr. in a way Kitchens was unable to this year, next season would already be better off for it.
Baylor has seen a major turn around with Matt Rhule in control. The program that went 1-11 in 2017 went 11-2 in just two seasons under Rhule.
With experience playing the game, years of experience as an assistant coach in the NFL and success as a head coach with both Temple and Baylor, Rhule is a strong candidate for many NFL teams searching for their next head coach.
The Browns could use Rhule’s proven ability to turn a team around quickly, his passion and some of that hoodie magic he brought to Baylor this year.
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.