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Highlights from interviews with Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, owner Jimmy Haslam at awards show

By Nate Ulrich Published: January 25, 2013

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski and owner Jimmy Haslam spoke to reporters Thursday night during the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. Here are some of the highlights from their interviews:

Chudzinski on hiring tight ends coach Jon Embree and outside linebackers coach Brian Baker: “We hired Jon Embree as tight ends coach. He’s been at the University of Colorado. I’ve known Jon for a while now. He’s got a great reputation. He’s done a great job with tight ends. He’s coached tight ends before at Kansas City and Washington. Obviously he worked with Tony Gonzalez and did a great job with him and developed some young guys in Washington. I’m really pleased to have Jon on the staff. I feel like he’ll do a great job and continue. The tight end position is so critical for us. You want a guy in that position that can manage those guys and really take them to another level. That’s what I feel like Jon will be able to do for us. Brian’s been a real versatile coach. [He has] coached for a long time in the NFL [and has] a lot of experience, has done a great job developing pass rushers. We’ll use Brian as primarily an outside backer coach to help with developing our outside rushers.”

Chudzinski on whether hiring Baker as an outside linebackers coach means the Browns will primarily use a 3-4 defensive scheme: “We’re gonna do both [3-4 and 4-3 alignments]. We’re gonna have packages where we do both of those. Brian gives us, whether we’re a 3-4 or a 4-3, a lot of experience and a developer of pass rushers, particularly on the outside.”

Haslam on the Browns hiring defensive coordinator Ray Horton: “Of course, we knew him from [his time as an assistant coach for] the [Pittsburgh] Steelers, and when we interviewed him for this job, [he was] fired up, intense. I think he’ll relate extremely well to players. I think the players will like him. Probably we’ll switch to the 3-4 defense. I think it’ll be an attacking defense. I think he told me in Phoenix with the Arizona Cardinals that he blitzed more than anybody in the league except for the Houston Texans. So I think it’ll be exciting and fun to watch. He’s really excited about the players we have here. We need to add one or two to really round out the team. But I think you’ll like him as a person and like him as a coach.”

Chudzinski on whether the Browns have talked about the futures of kicker Phil Dawson and special-teams ace Josh Cribbs, both of whom are scheduled to become free agents on March 12: “We have not. We haven’t even gotten to that point. Again, the coaching staff is what I’m focusing on. We’re getting all our guys in. We’re going to go through and evaluate our players. That’ll be the first thing we do in the next couple of weeks and kind of put together what we want our players to be so we can get into free agency and get into the draft.”

Chudzinski on if he’d like to have Dawson and Cribbs on his team: “They’ve obviously had success. We’ll just have to wait and see and see how everything fits together on that.”

Haslam on whether the Browns will make a strong run at bringing Dawson back: “The coaches and [vice president of player personnel] Michael [Lombardi] will make that call. You have to remember we have a completely new set of individuals. Chud’s been here, what 10 days now? And really they’ve been focused on hiring a staff, which is what we want them to focus on. They’ve just now started looking at our team. So those decisions will be made over the next few weeks.”

Haslam on his appreciation for Dawson: “Phil’s a great player and a great person. He’s much like Doug Dieken, who we’re going to give [a lifetime achievement] award to tonight. That’s the kind of people we want here in Cleveland, people who are great on and off the field, and Phil’s that kind of guy. No doubt about it.”

Haslam on Cribbs’ future: “I don’t know if there’s a tougher player in the NFL than Cribbsy. Just like everybody else, we’ll have to take a look at where Josh is and where he fits into our plans. But we certainly appreciate the unbelievable effort and job that he’s done. And we’re really happy that he got to go to the Pro Bowl. He really deserves that. He’s a quality guy. He works his tail off. I don’t anybody that’s ever played the game that’s been as good at returning and covering kicks as Cribbsy is. He’s a great player, a great athlete and as tough as they come.”

Chudzinski on hiring one of his mentors, Norv Turner, as his offensive coordinator: “There was a lot of pitch to Norv. After I got the job, I had to put on the recruiting hat and do one of my best recruiting jobs to get Norv here. I didn't tell him there was any snow or any cold weather. But he decided to come, and certainly for a lot of reasons that's a huge piece to be here both personally and professionally for me.”

Chudzinski on Horton telling Arizona Sports 620 he could have hired Turner if he was hired as the Cardinals’ head coach: “I'm just glad they're both here. It couldn't have worked out better for us.”

Chudzinski on why he’s not attending the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., this week: “The scouts and our personnel people went down to the Senior Bowl. I just had too much work to do and our staff just getting all in town and getting together. We have plenty of work to do here. And we can catch up on the Senior Bowl tape. Everything’s filmed down there. That won’t be an issue, as far as evaluations go.”


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