AFC North: Dirk Koetter

Soon enough the list of NFL coordinators who did not interview to become the Cleveland Browns coach will be shorter than the list of ones who did.

It might be already.

Tuesday afternoon word broke that the Browns have added Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to the list.

Koetter has worked for the Falcons since 2012, and prior was the coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars. A year ago the Browns wanted to talk to Koetter, but he declined. Evidently a year does make a difference. FOX’s Alex Marvez first reported the Koetter interview, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed it.

This news comes on the heels of the Browns flying to Mobile to have a second interview tonight with Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. The Browns also are expected to give Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn a second interview.

There is no truth to the rumor that Simon Cowell is part of a three-person panel making immediate judgments on those interviewed.

At this point, it’s easier to simply list the candidates interviewed and/or considered who are no longer candidates, and the guys still candidates.
So ...

Those interviewed or considered who either pulled out or who are out of the picture (in alphabetical order):
  • Todd Bowles, withdrew
  • James Franklin, took job as Penn State coach
  • Adam Gase, declined
  • Ben McAdoo, took job as Giants offensive coordinator
  • Josh McDaniels, withdrew
  • Bill O’Brien, took job as Houston coach
  • Bob Stoops, did not interview
  • Ken Whisenhunt, took job as Tennessee coach

Those still alive, until the list morphs further (again in alphabetical order):
  • Rich Bisaccia
  • Dirk Koetter
  • Mike Munchak
  • Pettine
  • Quinn

Meanwhile, the two in-house coordinators who had the qualifications to be a head coach -- Ray Horton and Norv Turner -- have taken jobs elsewhere.

The methodical march continues.
The first coaching candidate for the Cleveland Browns has been identified: Dirk Koetter, the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator.

According to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports, Koetter is set to interview this week for jobs with the Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. He's obviously a popular candidate but I'm not sure how he fits in the Browns' new structure. The Browns are hiring a head coach first because he is going to have a bigger role going forward and will help decide the personnel director.

Koetter was the head coach at Boise State (1998-2000) and Arizona State (2001-06) before becoming the offensive coordinator for the Jaguars (2007-11). He became the Falcons offensive coordinator this season and helped Matt Ryan to produce a career year. Ryan set career highs in passing yards (4,719), touchdowns (32), completion rate (68.6 percent) and passer rating (99.1).

Under Koetter, the Falcons ranked eighth in total yards and seventh in points (26.2) this season.