The Cleveland Browns interviewed a pair of candidates for their head coaching position on Thursday. They started the day speaking with former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and finished with current Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman. The two candidates are coming from completely different perspectives, but the questions the Browns have for each likely have some overlap.
McCarthy in particular, the questions will revolve around his quest to modernize. As the head coach of the Packers, he enjoyed a ton of success, winning over 60 percent of his games there. One of the criticisms McCarthy faced at the end of his 13-year tenure there was that he hadn't adapted his scheme with the changes going on in the NFL, leaving the Packers in the past.
When winning as much as he was, it can be easy to believe that what the team is doing is good enough to compete. Considered an innovative offense mind earlier in his career, he became stale. McCarthy has made efforts in his year out of coaching to modernize and adapt. The Browns are going to want to figure out just where McCarthy is on that front, both in terms of updating schemes and coaching processes to where the NFL is now.
If they are happy with his answers and believe in his evolution, he could be an incredibly attractive candidate. He was able to help Aaron Brooks play career years with the New Orleans Saints and he helped Aaron Rodgers become one of the best quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. The Browns fully believe in Baker Mayfield and might see McCarthy as the best option to develop him into an elite quarterback.
For Greg Roman, the biggest questions for him will be about adaptability. His track record of finding incredible success with quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick, Tyrod Taylor and now Lamar Jackson have some inclined to want to pigeon hole him as needing a mobile quarterback in order to function. Beyond the fact that Taylor wasn't as mobile as the other two, Roman may be presenting something entirely different to the Browns when it comes to Mayfield. The fact he has had so much success with those quarterbacks doesn't automatically mean he can't with someone like Mayfield. Mayfield may not be a runner, but he can move and he is capable of making some plays with his legs.
Since Roman hasn't been a head coach before, there are any number of questions the team will have in terms of his processes and what he would hope to institute were he to get the job.
Roman is attractive in that he was given the opportunity to work with a quarterback like Lamar Jackson and came up with an offense that dispelled the notion that the NFL is a passing league. While the Ravens can certainly pass the ball, they broke the record for rushing yards in a season by a team, eclipsing the mark set by the 1978 New England Patriots. And the Ravens did it without having a ton of stars on offense. Most of what Roman has done is adapting his scheme to the talent he had and maximizing it across the board. Jackson is what makes the entire thing go, but they have a number of players playing at career levels. This suggests remarkable adaptability and attention to detail.
Perhaps the Browns and Roman will find they aren't a great fit, but he seems certainly capable of presenting a persuasive case both in the form of an offense around the talent the Browns have as well as bringing a professional operation geared toward producing a winning football team. If that happens, Roman could be prove a far more serious candidate than people might anticipate.