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Mailbag: Why wasn’t there interest in Jim Schwartz for head coaching jobs?

Q: Did Jim Schwartz have any interviews for NFL head coaching positions?

— John Palazzo

A: If he did, they weren’t reported. So I don’t believe he did.

It’s an interesting dynamic. He and Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo didn’t draw interest in the recent head coaching hiring cycle despite doing an outstanding job this season, having a history of success at coordinator and being former head coaches. While normally this could be blamed on the desire to hire young offensive minds, that wasn’t the case this offseason. Five of the eight open jobs went to defensive coaches. So something else was in play for Schwartz and Spagnuolo.

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For Spagnuolo, 64, it’s likely a three-year stint as coach of the St. Louis Rams in which he went 10-38 from 2009-11. The lack of attention for Schwartz is more difficult to figure. He’s only 57 and turned the Browns into the No. 1-ranked defense in his first season. As a head coach, he took over an 0-16 Lions team and went 10-6 and made the playoffs in his third season. His overall record of 29-51 works against him, as does perhaps a thyroid issue that caused him to take a step back from coordinator until 2023.

Whatever the reason, the Browns are happy to have Schwartz coming back for a second season.

Q: General manager Andrew Berry said he wouldn’t necessarily call pass catcher the top offseason priority. Do you agree?

— Phil S. from Brooklyn

A: I do not.

The reference is to something Berry told The Athletic’s Zac Jackson at the Senior Bowl. Berry said the team feels “pretty good” about the pass catchers, noting not many teams have two Pro Bowl-caliber targets such as wideout Amari Cooper and tight end David Njoku. I see Berry’s point but believe the pair needs help. The depth behind Cooper and Njoku wasn’t good enough in 2023 and should be improved in the organizational effort to give quarterback Deshaun Watson the best chance to thrive.

The only other option for the top priority is the defensive line. A pass-rushing tackle to start next to Dalvin Tomlinson or a starting end opposite Myles Garrett also rank high on the wish list.


Q:
Does the big night at NFL Honors count as a playoff win?

— @camp84481738 (Prof. Snark)

A: Your X (formerly Twitter) nickname is appropriate for this question. I’m not sure you meant it for the mailbag, but you weren’t alone in your sentiment and I think it’s a worthwhile topic.

Myles Garrett named AP Defensive Player of Year as Browns go 4-for-4 at NFL Honors

I know the fans, winners — Kevin Stefanski, Garrett, Joe Flacco, Schwartz — and organization would trade all the awards for playoff success and the luster of the honors was dulled by the embarrassing 45-14 defeat to Houston in the wild card round. But in my eyes that debacle doesn’t diminish the outstanding work done in the regular season … even if for some the recognition was harder to enjoy.


Q:
Are the Brook Park Browns a negotiating bluff or could the Haslams really move out of Cleveland?

— John Palazzo

A: I wouldn’t rule out anything because billion-dollar projects get complicated, but the statements released last week by the Browns and then the city of Cleveland felt like public negotiations. I have no doubt the Haslams would prefer to stay in Cleveland and that the city wants the Browns to stay there. I believe it would take a huge breakdown in discussions for a resolution not to happen.

Brook Park site among stadium alternatives Browns considering

Having said that, the threat of moving to Brook Park — which may or may not be financially feasible — means the issues the Browns are having regarding a renovation to Cleveland Browns Stadium or the construction of a new stadium downtown have reached a new level. A purchase of the land in Brook Park hadn’t been made by last week, but the possibility shows the frustration of the Haslams, likely with the city of Cleveland, although there’s a lot of other bureaucracy involved.


Q:
Wasn’t Ken Dorsey fired twice as an OC ???

— @weldequipguy

A: No. He became an offensive coordinator for the first time in 2022 with the Bills, then was fired in November 2023. He said in his introductory news conference he had been fired one other time, by the Panthers. But that was after a five-year run with them as quarterbacks coach.

The midseason firing is unusual, but I agree with the Browns that it shouldn’t have disqualified Dorsey from consideration from the coordinator job he got. As for the other firing, that happens when there are major changes to the staff. It’s a rough business.


Q:
Why hasn’t Stefanski gotten an extension?

— @jq6008

A: I believe it’s just a matter of time. I expect extensions for Stefanski and Berry to happen before the scouting combine at the end of the month, if not sooner. They undoubtedly deserve them for their work in 2023 and overall over their four years together and in the jobs. Ownership shouldn’t let them enter the final years of their original deals without guaranteeing their futures in Cleveland.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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