Aaron Rodgers could be getting a call from Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.
The Browns will interview Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo today for their coaching vacancy, according to multiple reports. Rodgers is his star pupil.
“I sent (McAdoo) a text. I said, ‘Make sure you put me down as a reference,’” Rodgers said Tuesday during his weekly radio appearance on ESPN Milwaukee.
A strong endorsement followed.
“You can’t help but respect Ben the more time you spend with him, because he really cares about his job,” Rodgers said. “He listens when you talk, he asks good questions. I’m happy for Ben. Any opportunities he gets he deserves. He’s a guy that works extremely hard, he’s a guy who really puts the time in.”
If Browns CEO Joe Banner is looking for the next Andy Reid, he found a promising resume. McAdoo, 36, was tight ends coach before switching to quarterbacks in 2012. He’s never been a coordinator or head coach at any level.
While that may scare some potential employers, it’s a similar background to Reid’s when he was hired as head coach by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999. Reid was Green Bay’s tight ends/assistant offensive line coach for five years then quarterbacks coach for two before becoming the most successful coach in Eagles history, including a trip to the Super Bowl.
Banner was in charge of day-to-day operations for the Eagles when Reid was hired. He told The Gazette last year he was the person who did the research and found Reid.
“Most of the league is looking for the next top coordinator or they’re looking for a great college coach,” Banner said. “So the league wasn’t even exploring where we found Andy Reid. If they had, they would’ve found him, too. It’s not like we were brilliant, we were just looking in some places they weren’t.”
McAdoo spent the past two seasons working with Rodgers. In their first year together in 2012, Rodgers was voted the NFC’s Pro Bowl starter and led the NFL with a 108.0 passer rating.
Rodgers, who was Super Bowl MVP in 2010 and league MVP in 2011, initially didn’t want McAdoo as his position coach after six years in charge of the tight ends and no history playing quarterback. Two years later, Rodgers is a big fan.
“He’s a guy who wants to learn and really takes to heart the things that I say and really tried to become a better quarterback coach every day, and he did,” Rodgers told ESPN Milwaukee. “He’s a guy who really understands scheme and preparation and how to install plays.”
Rodgers said McAdoo installed Green Bay’s red zone package the last two years, which put him in front of the entire offense.
“Every week he got more comfortable and he put more into his presentation, more of his personality came out, there were jokes, there was an ability to control the room,” Rodgers said. “The people who are interested in him for a head coach job haven’t seen that. But to me that’s an important quality of a head coach, the ability to control a room with your speech, with humor when necessary. He proved it every day that he was a very prepared coach and I’m happy for him getting the opportunities.”
If the Browns don’t hire McAdoo, he’s expected to be a candidate for the coordinator job in Miami. Dolphins coach Joe Philbin came from Green Bay, where he was offensive coordinator.
As Packers tight ends coach, McAdoo oversaw the development of Jermichael Finley. He also worked with Packers coach Mike McCarthy in New Orleans and San Francisco, beginning his NFL career in 2004. He had short stints at the University of Pittsburgh, Akron and Stanford.
The Browns aren’t commenting on the search, but they’ve interviewed Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. They requested permission to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, but he declined until Denver’s done with the playoffs.
The Browns reportedly also have interest in Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, but Franklin’s reportedly close to being hired by Penn State.
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