September 16, 2014

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Browns to interview Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, according to report

Rich Bisaccia

Rich Bisaccia

The Browns weren’t done interviewing Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine on Thursday when the next candidate emerged for their vacant head coaching job.

They will interview Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia on Saturday, according to a report by Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.

The Browns are certainly keeping busy as they wait to interview Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase and perhaps other coordinators coaching Sunday in the conference championship games.

Bisaccia interviewed earlier this month for the head coaching position with the Redskins that went to former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Bisaccia, 53, spent 2013 with the Cowboys after two years with the Chargers and nine years with the Buccaneers.

He’s spent most of his time working with the special teams, but also held the title of assistant head coach in 2012 with San Diego and from 2008-10 with Tampa Bay.

Before making the move to the NFL, Bisaccia spent 19 years coaching in college, including stops at Mississippi, Clemson and South Carolina.

He and Pettine are off-the-radar candidates added to Cleveland’s list in the third week of the search, despite being available since the season ended Dec. 29. Pettine was the seventh known candidate to interview for the opening created when Rob Chudzinski was fired after going 4-12 in his only season.

Four of the candidates are no longer in the running, leaving Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, former Titans coach Mike Munchak and Pettine.

In Pettine’s first season with the Bills this year, they set a franchise record and ranked second in the league with 57 sacks. They were 10th in overall defense.

The Browns are the only team left in the league with a vacancy and are committed to a thorough search. Gase, 35, was the first interview requested after Chudzinski was fired, but he declined until after Denver’s playoff run.

Gase has made quite an impression on Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway.

“I wish I could have played for him,” Elway, a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Broncos, told reporters in Denver. “He’s done a tremendous job. He’s had a great year and he’s just got such a great feel, and he’s a hard worker and he’s very bright. I hope he stays.”

Gase is in his first year as a coordinator, but has been with Denver for five years. He spent two as receivers coach, then two as quarterback coach. The Broncos became the highest-scoring team (37.9-point average) in the Super Bowl era with Gase as coordinator, and quarterback Peyton Manning set NFL records with 55 touchdowns and 5,447 yards passing.

Gase also impressed Elway by declining interview offers from the Vikings and Browns while the Broncos are in the postseason.

“To me that was ‘studly’ because I like guys that are committed to what they’re doing, committed to the Denver Broncos,” Elway said. “So I couldn’t be more proud of that decision. It tells you a lot about the guy.”

“I just felt like I was all in for what we were doing here,” Gase said. “I just didn’t want to stand in front of players and say one thing and do something else. So I felt like it was the most important thing for what we needed to do for this team.”

The Broncos host the Patriots on Sunday in the AFC championship game. If Denver loses, Gase would be immediately available. If it wins, the Browns would have to wait to meet with him until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

There’s no guarantee the Browns will offer the job to Gase, or that he’ll accept. The Browns could also seek a second interview with Quinn, or first interviews with Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and 49ers coordinators Greg Roman (offense) and Vic Fangio (defense).

Turner to Vikings?
The Browns are close to losing offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

New Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is expected to hire Turner as coordinator. Zimmer was hired Wednesday after three years as defensive coordinator in Cincinnati.

“There’s a good chance,” Turner told the Pioneer Press regarding finalizing a deal.

Turner improved Cleveland’s offense in his only season with the team, despite being forced to use three quarterbacks and never having a viable running game. The Browns ranked 18th overall (338.9 yards per game), tied for 27th rushing (86.4) and 11th passing (252.5). They were 27th with 19.25 points a game.

Under Turner’s direction and in his vertical passing attack, receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron had breakthrough seasons.

Gordon led the league with a franchise-record 1,646 yards and 18.9 per catch in his second season. He caught 87 passes and nine touchdowns and was named to the All-Pro team and the Pro Bowl.

Cameron caught 80 passes for 917 yards and seven touchdowns after totaling 26 catches in his first two seasons. He was voted to his first Pro Bowl.

“He had high expectations for me from what he had seen and knew my potential and I looked at him as a guide and a mentor for me to become the best player I know I can be,” Gordon said.

Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez reported Turner is expected to bring his son, Scott, as quarterbacks coach. Scott was receivers coach with the Browns this year.

** The Buccaneers hired Jon Embree as tight ends coach. He held the same role for the Browns in 2013.

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @scottpetrak.