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The Browns and Josh McDaniels were too weird for each other

Josh McDaniels and the Browns just weren’t a match.

After both parties showed “enthusiastic interest” in each other, the Ohio native “wasn’t a great fit” for the Browns organization, according to multiple reports. Instead, the Browns hired Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski to replace Freddie Kitchens.

It appears the mismatch with the Patriots offensive coordinator was two-fold. The Browns, specifically owner Jimmy Haslam and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, were intent on finding “an analytics person with a headset and access to the coaching staff on game days [and] hours-long, Monday-after, owner-coach meetings,” according to Steve Doerschuk of the Canton Repository.

DePodesta, the 47-year-old who left the Mets to join the Browns in 2016, has a known propensity for analytics, dating back to his time as assistant general manager of the Oakland Athletics.

“We are looking for a strong leader,” Haslam said at the outset of the search. “One, someone who is smart; two, has really good football acumen; three, will work within the organization. … It is not ‘my way or the highway.'”

McDaniels pitched “sweeping organizational change,” per The MMQB’s Albert Breer, which did not align with the franchise’s goals.

“The Browns want to hang on to some of the ideas they still think can work,” Doerschuk wrote. “McDaniels had quite different ideas.”

“It sounded like [McDaniels] was much more in favor of cleaning out some of what was currently [in Cleveland],” said NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Monday. “This was not going to work.”

Haslam and DePodesta were unwavering with their peculiar prerequisites.

“[Stefanski’s] willingness to work with coaching, analytics, and ownership types in ways agreeable to DePodesta and Haslam were big selling points,” Doerschuk said.

McDaniels, 43, joined the Patriots in 2001 as a personnel assistant and has held a number of different positions within the organization. He served as the Broncos’ head coach in 2009 and was fired during the 2010 season after a 3-9 start. He has won six Super Bowls during his tenure in New England.

McDaniels initially expressed interest in the Browns’ head-coaching position back in 2014, but took himself out of the running because he was not ready to leave the Patriots at that time. In 2018, McDaniels was hired as the Colts’ head coach and infamously jilted the team in a last-second change of heart. Some speculate that he will succeed Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, 67, when he eventually decides to retire.

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