By Gregory Hunt

Typically, at least a half-dozen head coaching positions in the NFL become available after the end of the regular season. Those coaching vacancies are often filled by the offensive and defensive coordinators of the more-successful organizations in the league. As the New England Patriots prepare to meet the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, the team is also facing the possibility of losing both of its coordinators after the season, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Patricia interviews with the Cleveland Browns

Before talking over as head coach of the Patriots in 2000, Bill Belichick spent five seasons (1991-95) as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Now, the Browns are considering hiring Patricia as their new head coach. Patricia, who has been on Belichick’s staff since 2004, was interviewed by the Browns this past weekend. If hired, Patricia would become the third former Belichick assistant to serve as head coach of the Browns. Romeo Crennel held that position for four seasons beginning in 2005, then Eric Mangini took over the team for two seasons beginning in 2009.

Patricia was the fifth candidate to meet with the Browns, who were reported to be interested in former Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase before he accepted the head coaching position with the Miami Dolphins. Other candidates for the Cleveland position include Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Jacksonville Jaguars assistant head coach/offensive line coach Doug Marrone, and Dallas Cowboys defensive secondary coach Jerome Henderson.

In four seasons with Patricia as defensive coordinator, the Patriots have finished in the top 10 in scoring defense all four years.

McDaniels declines interviews, for now

McDaniels, who is in his second tour of duty as offensive coordinator with the Patriots, has been a head coach in the NFL before. He initially joined Belichick’s staff in 2001 and became offensive coordinator in 2006 before taking over as head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009. However, his tenure in Denver lasted only 28 games as he was fired on December 6 the following year after compiling an 11-17 record with no playoff appearances. After spending the 2011 season as offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, he regained that position with the Patriots the next season.

For a couple of years, McDaniels has been considered a strong candidate to get a second shot as a head coach in the NFL. But for now, he is concentrating on his current job as he declined to be interviewed for any of the vacant head coaching positions during New England’s bye weekend. As a result, he won’t be able available for interviews until either after the Super Bowl or after the Patriots are eliminated from the playoffs.

A report last week claimed that he was interested in coaching the Tennessee Titans, who fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt in November. If McDaniels were to take the Tennessee job, he would have the opportunity to develop a young, talented quarterback in Marcus Mariota, who achieved a 91.9 passer rating in 12 games as a rookie this past season.

Gregory Hunt is a Boston native and a life-long fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. He’s also particularly fond of lacrosse, IndyCar racing and women’s college basketball. He currently works for Examiner.com where he serves as the Senior Manager of Content and Media Access. He also writes for Examiner.com as the New England Patriots Examiner. His work can be found on aExaminer.com.

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