New Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner will handle the play-calling duties, coach Rob Chudzinski announced today during a news conference.
Chudzinski has called plays on and off throughout his career, including the past two seasons for the Carolina Panthers. But Chudzinski, a first-time head coach, believes he’ll be able to pay more attention to other parts of the team with Turner calling plays for the offense.
“Norv will be calling the plays,” Chudzinski said. “I’ll be involved in that process and overseeing that as well. … Norv’s been one of the best play callers in the league for a long time.
“First of all, Norv is outstanding it, so it’ll give us a great opportunity to win. And secondly, I think it’ll allow me to be able to involved more with special teams, be involved more with defense and those guys in those areas. One of the things as a head coach that I want to be careful of is just being classified as an offensive guy. I’m the head coach of the football team.”
Chudzinski said he won’t hire a quarterbacks coach because Turner will fill that role as well.
Chudzinski said it’s premature to label Brandon Weeden, the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft, as the Browns’ starting quarterback for the 2013 season. Turner said he needs to study Weeden more, but he believes Weeden, 29, could fit well in his system.
“In terms of the style of offense we have, you look at the tape and identify things that I think Brandon does well that we’re going to ask him to do,” Turner said. “I look at things where I know he needs to improve, needs to get better to do the things we want him to do. But I think he has a lot of the skill set that we’re looking for. And again, this is early in terms of an evaluation. But he does have a big arm and he can throw the ball up the field.”
What does Turner see in quarterback Colt McCoy, who served as Weeden’s backup last season?
“I am familiar with Colt, watching him come out, watching him play,” Turner said. “When he played for Cleveland, he brings a different style than maybe Brandon. He’s been a productive player when he’s played.”
Turner spent the past six seasons as the head coach of the San Diego Chargers. He got a close-up look at the Browns last season, when they defeated the Chargers 7-6 on Oct. 28 in Cleveland.
Turner said he was impressed with running back Trent Richardson, the third overall pick in last year’s draft.
“I got to see Trent first hand,” Turner said. “He made an amazing, explosive run against us in that game in October. He’s an impressive young player. I’ve been fortunate through most of my stops to be with outstanding running backs, great running backs, guys who have characteristics like Trent. I think I’ve been fortunate to be able to coach five backs that have led the NFL in rushing.”
Turner also said his encounter with the Browns taught him that they have a good offensive line and some wide receivers who have a chance to be good players capable of making big plays
“I saw potential,” Turner said. “I saw guys that when they were doing things right, they did them very well. When you’re dealing with young players, getting them to do it over and over and over again can be the challenge.”
Hybrid D on horizon
Although new defensive coordinator Ray Horton used a 3-4 scheme the past two seasons while he commanded the Arizona Cardinals' defense, Chudzinski said Horton hasn’t made a final decision about whether the Browns will employ a 3-4 or 4-3 base defense.
Either way, the Browns will use elements of both schemes under Horton’s guidance, Chudzinski said.
“We feel like [with] the guys here, there’s some flexibility with the 4-3, 3-4,” Chudzinski said. “And again, just to reiterate what I’ve said before, so much nowadays whether you’re in sub or nickel personnel or whether you’re in base, people are playing both. As we work through this, we’ll work through whether it’s going to be 4-3, 3-4 in base. Ray can do anything. He can coach any of those different schemes and we’re going to utilize a little bit of everything. I think that word ‘hybrid’ is used. I don’t if that’s the accurate term. But there will be 4-3 principles and 3-4 principles in the defense.”
Browns kicker Phil Dawson was named the special-teams captain for USA Football’s 2012 All-Fundamentals Team, which honors 26 NFL players – 11 offense, 11 defense and four special teams – who exhibit exemplary football techniques for youth players to emulate. Dawson was also selected to the Pro Bowl and named second-team All Pro for his performance last year.