Browns to interview former Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, AP source says

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FILE - Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson speaks with members of the media at the NFL football team's training facility in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. The Eagles have fired offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Browns are interviewing former Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brian Johnson to help bring out the best in quarterback Deshaun Watson, a person familiar with the team's plans told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Johnson, who was fired by Eagles coach Nick Sirianni on Tuesday, has a meeting with the Browns to be their coordinator, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not announcing any moves until coach Kevin Stefanski fills out his staff.

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Stefanski fired offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt last week as part of an offensive shakeup.

The Browns have also requested permission to interview Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, the person said. Moore could be exploring other options following Jim Harbaugh's hiring as coach on Wednesday.

Johnson was ousted by Sirianni along with Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai after Philadelphia lost to Tampa Bay in the wild-card round. Johnson was interviewed by Atlanta and Tennessee for their head coaching jobs.

Johnson coached Philadelphia's quarterbacks in 2021 before being promoted to coordinator when Shane Steichen left to coach in Indianapolis.

Under Johnson’s guidance, Jalen Hurts was a finalist for AP NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 2022 as the Eagles reached the Super Bowl. However, Hurts regressed this season with Johnson calling the plays.

Stefanski has called plays during his four seasons with the Browns. General manager Andrew Berry said those duties are always reviewed in the offseason and it was possible Stefanski could give them up, dependent on who was hired as OC.

Because Watson is a dual-threat quarterback, the Browns have studied Philadelphia's offense closely as the Eagles were able to achieve a productive blend of designed runs and throws for Hurts. Watson made only six starts this season before breaking his right shoulder but is expected to be ready for next season.

Stefanski has also interviewed Seattle offensive line coach Andy Dickerson, former Buffalo offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and Texans quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson for the coordinator vacancy.

The Browns are hiring Duce Staley, fired last season in Carolina, as their new running backs coach and former Alabama offensive coordinator Tommy Rees to coach tight ends. They'll replace Stump Mitchell and T.C. McCartney, respectively, who were fired by Stefanski days after the Browns lost in the playoffs.



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