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Thursday, January 9, 2014
Wise move to add Whisenhunt to search

By Pat McManamon

The Cleveland Browns' coaching search took an interesting turn Thursday when word broke via ESPN's Adam Schefter that the Browns will interview Ken Whisenhunt on Saturday.

It’s interesting on several levels, primarily because Whisenhunt interviewed last year and talks broke off because of differences in how the coaching staff should be hired, according to a report from CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora.

It’s also interesting because CEO Joe Banner initially said he did not believe that he would interview anyone this year who also interviewed a year ago. Whether that makes Whisenhunt pause will be interesting.

But mainly it’s interesting because Whisenhunt brings credibility and cachet that other coaches have not.

Did Josh McDaniels removing himself from consideration with the Browns change things and re-open the pool?

Did the Browns realize they needed another viable and experienced option because their candidates are all coordinators who have never been coaches, or in the case of one candidate a quarterbacks coach who has never been a coordinator?

Or did the Browns simply realize that Whisenhunt is a viable candidate who deserves another look?

It would be nice to think the latter.

Whisenhunt is a qualified and more-than-capable coach with head-coaching experience who took the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl. He coached with the Browns under Chris Palmer, and spent several seasons as offensive coordinator with the Steelers before going to Arizona.

However, he also is interviewing in Detroit and Tennessee, and he could be very attractive to the Lions because he is known as a guy who works effectively with quarterbacks.

Matt Stafford would seem to benefit from Whisenhunt, as would the Lions' offense.

Whatever the reason, if the Browns do have the chance to interview Whisenhunt they’ll have the chance to hire a guy with head-coaching experience.

That has happened twice before in team history -- when Art Modell hired Nick Skorich to replace Blanton Collier and when Randy Lerner hired Eric Mangini to replace Romeo Crennel.