June 27, 2016

Partly cloudy

Browns: Two more coaching candidates out of the running

Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles won’t be the next coach of the Browns. Neither will former Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo.

Two of the candidates that interviewed for Cleveland’s coaching vacancy have removed themselves from the running.

Bowles became the second candidate of the six known to interview to withdraw his name from consideration, joining New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McAdoo was hired Tuesday by the Giants as their offensive coordinator.

A perception exists nationally and locally that the Browns’ job isn’t desirable. These moves don’t help, even if Bowles and McAdoo weren’t considered favorites to land the job.

McDaniels was reportedly a front-runner, but a league source said McDaniels only withdrew after he called the Browns last week and was told he wasn’t expected to be hired.

“I’ll definitely be here (next year),” McDaniels said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters. “This is the right time for me to be here.

“I’m very happy here. Sometime you have to make choices for what’s best for you and your family, and that’s what I tried to do.”

The Browns seem content to wait to meet with Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, 35, who delayed interviews until after Denver is done with the playoffs. The Broncos host the Patriots on Sunday in the AFC championship. The Super Bowl is Feb. 2.

While the Browns wait, other teams are hiring coaches.

The Titans on Monday hired Ken Whisenhunt, who interviewed with the Browns on Saturday and twice last year before they hired Chudzinski. Whisenhunt was offensive coordinator for the Chargers this year after six seasons as coach of the Cardinals.

On Tuesday, the Lions hired Jim Caldwell. He was Baltimore’s offensive coordinator and former coach of the Colts.

Whisenhunt and Caldwell lost Super Bowls during their tenures as head coach.

ESPN’s Ed Werder reported Bowles felt Cleveland’s search was dragging and it was important for the coach to be in place before the Senior Bowl next week.

The Browns and the Vikings are the only teams left with vacancies.

Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and former Titans coach Mike Munchak are the known interviews who remain candidates for Cleveland, along with Gase. The Browns reportedly also have interest in Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, and others could be added to the search.

The Browns will likely be in the market for a defensive coordinator, too. Ray Horton was granted permission to interview for any coordinator and head coaching positions, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That coincides with what CEO Joe Banner said after Chudzinski was fired.

Horton could end up as coordinator under Whisenhunt in Tennessee. They held the same roles in Arizona in 2011-12.

Horton’s standing within the Browns organization has changed considerably. He interviewed for the head coaching job last January before Chudzinski hired him as coordinator. Haslam and Banner raved about him, and Haslam talked to Horton frequently at practice during the season.

Horton’s defense posted solid numbers — ninth overall, 18th against the run, eighth against the pass — but blew three straight fourth-quarter leads in December losses that contributed to a season-ending seven-game skid.

Contact Scott Petrak at (440) 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @scottpetrak.