Browns hire DeFilippo as offensive coordinator
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns have their sixth offensive coordinator in six years.
Cleveland hired John DeFilippo, a former Oakland assistant who has a reputation for developing young quarterbacks, to run its offense on Wednesday. He fills the vacancy created when Kyle Shanahan resigned after one season on Jan. 8 with two years left on his contract.
DeFilippo has worked as a college coordinator but not in the same capacity in the NFL. He’s inheriting an offense with some talent and potential but also has uncertainty at quarterback.
DeFilippo previously worked for one season with Browns coach Mike Pettine, who is thrilled to be reunited with his former colleague.
“The things John brings to the table are exactly what we were looking for. He’s the total package,” said Pettine, who worked with DeFilippo on the New York Jets staff. “He’s very bright. He has great energy about him, great passion. Loves the game. Works extremely well with other people. You could see that when I brought him in and had a chance to meet with not just the offensive staff, but he spent time with the defensive staff.
“That was a big part of it, making sure we weren’t bringing in just a playbook; we were bringing in a good person,” Pettine said. “That, to me, is one of the biggest reasons why he’s here.”
The 36-year-old DeFilippo, who is from Youngstown, Ohio, spent 2014 grooming Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr. Under DeFilippo’s guidance, Carr passed for 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns in 16 starts. In 2009, he tutored then-rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, who led the Jets to the AFC championship game.
Pettine said DeFilippo’s ability to work with quarterbacks was a major part of his appeal.
“I think he has an excellent way with those guys,” Pettine said. “He can be tough on them and at the same time, not have them tune him out. I think he holds those guys accountable. I think they feel his energy and they feel his passion and it’s contagious.”
DeFilippo interviewed with Cleveland last year. He’s eager to bring some fresh ideas to the Browns, but stressed he may keep some elements of Cleveland’s offense implemented by Shanahan intact.
“We’re not going to just scrap something just because I’m here,” he said. “I don’t have that type of ego. If something’s good that our players do well and they know, we’re going to keep doing it.”
Before rejoining the Raiders in 2012, DeFilippo spent two years at San Jose State, serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2011. With DeFilippo calling plays, the Spartans ranked 23rd overall in passing yardage and San Jose State rose 32 spots in total offense from the previous season.
DeFilippo wants to be a long-term solution to a position that has been in continuous flux. He hopes this is “the last change for these guys for a long time.”
The Browns were 7-4 and in playoff contention before losing their final five games. The team also benched starting quarterback Brian Hoyer in favor of rookie Johnny Manziel, who played poorly in two starts before injuring his hamstring and missing Cleveland’s season finale.
Pettine has called Cleveland’s quarterback situation “muddy at best.” Manziel failed to live up to expectations and Hoyer is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in March.
The Browns are still looking for a wide receivers and quarterbacks coach.
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