The search for an offensive coordinator got wider and more interesting Thursday.
Brian Johnson, who was fired as Eagles coordinator Tuesday, interviewed with the Browns, a league source confirmed to The Chronicle-Telegram. Chargers coordinator Kellen Moore emerged as a candidate and was scheduled to interview Friday.
They bring the total to five known candidates for the job that had been held by Alex Van Pelt, who left after four years in the role. Coach Kevin Stefanski wanted to make a change and offered Van Pelt another position on the staff, but he declined.
The Browns previously interviewed Seahawks line coach Andy Dickerson, former Bills coordinator Ken Dorsey and Texans quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson for the coordinator position.
Moore, 34, has the most experience as a coordinator and play caller. If he were hired, Stefanski would be expected to turn over play calling after doing it throughout his four seasons with the Browns.
Stefanski, who’s expected to be named Coach of the Year for the second time next month, has repeatedly said he’s open to someone else calling the plays if he believes that’s better for the team.
“Ultimately that’s going to be his decision as he constructs a staff,” general manager Andrew Berry said Monday. “We’ve mentioned multiple times, I think that’s one of Kevin’s strengths, but how that operates from year to year, that’s ultimately something that we reassess.”
Moore called plays from 2019-22 with the Cowboys and in 2023 with the Chargers. The Chargers hired Jim Harbaugh as coach Wednesday and began granting Moore permission to interview for other coordinator jobs. He met with the Eagles on Thursday, according to multiple reports.
Moore had interviewed for the Chargers’ head coaching job.
The Chargers were hurt by several injuries this season, including to quarterback Justin Herbert. During Moore’s run with the Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott, they averaged the second-most points (27.7) and yards (391.0) in the NFL. They led the league in yardage in 2019 and ’21 and in scoring in ’21 with 31.2 points.
Moore went 50-1 as quarterback of Boise State, the most wins in NCAA history. He was in the NFL for six years as a player, three each with the Lions and Cowboys.
Brian Johnson, 36, joined the Eagles as quarterbacks coach in 2021 and was promoted to coordinator and play caller in 2023 after Shane Steichen left to become Colts coach. The Eagles lost the Super Bowl after the 2022 season.
The Eagles went 11-6 and made the playoffs as a wild card this season, losing to Tampa Bay in the first round.
The Eagles dropped from second (389.1) to eighth (354.3) in total yards this season and from third (28.1) to seventh (25.5) in scoring. They started 10-1 but lost six of their last seven, including the 32-9 playoff defeat, averaging 18.9 points over the span.
Johnson started his coaching career in 2010 with the University of Utah. He’s been a quarterbacks coach or coordinator since, making the jump from college to the NFL with the Eagles.
He had a longstanding relationship with Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, having played for Hurts’ father. Hurts, a dual threat like Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson, was a Pro Bowler in 2022 after going 14-1 as the starter during the regular season. He threw for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns, rushed for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns and was second in the MVP voting.
Johnson has interviewed for head coaching jobs with the Titans and Falcons this month. The Titans hired Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, and the Falcons picked Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
Browns assistant general manager and vice president of football operations Catherine Raiche was with Johnson with the Eagles in 2021.
Jerrod Johnson has the least experience of the coordinator candidates. He just finished his first season as quarterbacks coach after a year as assistant quarterbacks coach with the Vikings, but received rave reviews for helping Houston’s C.J. Stroud have one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history. He’s expected to be Offensive Rookie of the Year after leading the league in passing yards per game (273.9) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (23-to-5).
Dorsey, a former Browns quarterback, took over as Bills coordinator in 2022 after Brian Daboll was hired as Giants coach. Dorsey was fired this November during a slump by Buffalo.
Dickerson was defensive quality control coach for the Browns in 2009 and assistant offensive line coach in 2010. He spent the last three years with the Seahawks, who recently moved on from longtime coach Pete Carroll. Dickerson joined the Seahawks in 2021 as run game coordinator and spent the next two years as line coach.
The Browns have already settled on a couple of coaching hires. Duce Staley will lead the running backs, and Tommy Rees will coach the tight ends with potentially other duties.