This is the first in a 20-part series examining some possibilities for the Browns in the 2013 NFL Draft, including extensive looks at the most likely prospects for the No. 6 overall selection, potential targets later in the draft, trade-down scenarios, what the other teams in the AFC North might do and the top players coming out of Ohio State and the Mid-American Conference.
Each morning will bring a new, daily posting leading up the NFL Scouting Combine on Feb 20.
Today, we start with a pass-rusher who's been flying up analysts' draft boards recently after excelling in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defense at Texas A&M.
Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, JuniorTo read more or comment...
Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton held his introductory news conference today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
(Opening statement)- “Good morning. Thanks for coming. I want to take this opportunity to introduce Ray Horton as our defensive coordinator. I’m extremely excited that Ray is here. He’s had success as a player, as a coach and obviously, the last two years as a defensive coordinator at Arizona. He’s an outstanding person and coach and comes highly recommended and highly regarded from people that I’ve talked to as I went through my research in finding out about Ray. People have great things to say about him. He’s a very competitive, fiery guy as a coach. He relates very well to the players and is an outstanding teacher and those are all three qualities that will bode well for us here and help us be the best we can be. As I’ve mentioned from the beginning, my vision of the Browns defense and what I want the Browns defensive to be is an attacking style defense where guys are flying around, we’re getting after it, playing fast and playing physical. I want an emphasis on fundamentals, tackling, covering, rushing the passer, playing run defense and that’s extremely important for me as well. I want us to be innovative in our ability to put our guys in position for them to be successful and be able to make plays and do what they do best. Ray’s demonstrated these things as a defensive coordinator and as a defensive coach throughout his career and those are the things that, really, I want to be the Browns defense and define the Browns defense. From an offensive perspective, I’ve always felt that the 3-4 multi-front, multi-look defenses are the toughest ones to play against because of the reasons that they show multiple looks that you have to prepare for, they create confusion in your blocking schemes and then also in the pass game as well. The flexibility that they give in terms of the blitz packages that they can play and then just not knowing, basically, what they’re doing. They really attack the offense and are in position to attack the offense and play that style. I’ve used the word hybrid to describe that as a descriptive term for that style of defense as that defense has become more common in moving away from the traditional 3-4 single front defense. That style of defense, the multi-front attacking defense is the defense that I’ve looked at as the toughest to play against from an offensive perspective and the defense that we want to be here as the Browns defense. As I’ve looked at Ray and studied Ray for what he’s done at Arizona, it fits perfectly and meshes perfectly with the vision that I have for this defense and that’s what this Browns defense will be. Again, I’m extremely excited for Ray to be here. I can’t wait to get started and I’ll introduce Ray now as the new defensive coordinator.”
Ray HortonTo read more or comment...
Ray Horton vowed to transform the Browns’ defense into a versatile, attacking unit this morning during his introductory news conference.
Horton, who was hired Jan. 18 as the team’s new defensive coordinator, said last week during an interview with Arizona radio station XTRA Sports 910-AM that he would run a 3-4 defense in Cleveland. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski described it as a 3-4 multi-front defense today, and Horton emphasized the versatility of his system while resisting labels.
“We’re going to look like an aggressive, forward attacking defense that has big men that can run and little men that can hit, and I’ve seen that on tape,” Horton said. “That’s the most important thing to me – what do we look like, not what we line up in. We may be a 3-4 on one snap. We may be a 4-3 on another snap. I guarantee you we’ll be a 5-2 sometimes, and we’ll be a 4-4 sometimes. We are a multi-front, attacking defense, and that’s the most important thing, not what player lines up where, how he stands, what stance he’s in.”
Horton said he has studied the Browns’ roster and doesn’t envision a massive overhaul to fit his system.To read more or comment...
The Browns announced today that Fred Nance will fill a new role for the organization as its senior adviser and special counsel.
Nance served as general counsel for the Browns since December 2009 while remaining a partner at the Squire Sanders law firm, where he has practiced for 35 years. The Browns hired Sashi Brown earlier this month to serve as their new general counsel.
Nance will now work with Browns CEO Joe Banner, President Alec Scheiner and Brown on strategic and development matters.
“We are fortunate to have someone with Fred’s knowledge and expertise continue to serve our organization,” Banner said in a statement. “Fred’s track record as a top sports attorney is reflected in his having been a finalist for the position of NFL Commissioner in 2006. As a Cleveland native, Fred’s keen awareness of the local landscape has been invaluable for the franchise over the last several years, and we are thrilled that his passion for Cleveland and the Browns will continue to benefit our club.”
Job huntTo read more or comment...
New Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton made a definitive statement Thursday during an interview with Arizona radio station XTRA Sports 910-AM.
Horton said he will run a 3-4 defense in Cleveland.
“It won’t be a hybrid, not unless we’re playing golf,” said Horton, who served as the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive coordinator the past two seasons. “It’ll be a 3-4. It’ll be the same defense we ran here [in Arizona].”
The Browns used a 4-3 scheme the past two seasons under defensive coordinator Dick Jauron. But Horton said the Browns’ new defensive system will mirror that of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who he spent seven seasons with as a defensive backs coach.To read more or comment...
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.”To read more or comment...
The Browns have hired Jon Embree as their tight ends coach and Brian Baker as their outside linebackers coach, a league source confirmed this morning for the Beacon Journal.
The Browns announced the moves this afternoon.
Embree, 47, spent the past two seasons as the head coach at the University of Colorado, but he was fired in November after compiling a record of 4-21. The bulk of his experience is in the college ranks, though he served as a tight ends coach for the Washington Redskins in 2010 and the Kansas City Chiefs from 2006-08.
"Jon is an outstanding football coach, and he has proven himself at the collegiate and NFL levels," Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said in a statement. "He has coached some outstanding players in this league, and has also been instrumental in developing players in college who have gone on to productive pro careers. We believe he can have a great impact on our tight ends, and I look forward to working with him."
Baker, 50, spent the past two seasons as the defensive line coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He has 17 seasons of NFL coaching experience. He has coached primarily defensive line throughout his career, but he served as the Minnesota Vikings’ linebackers coach from 2002-03.To read more or comment...
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski introduced new offensive coordinator Norv Turner to the media this morning. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
(Opening statement)- “Good morning everyone, thanks for coming today. I get this opportunity to introduce Norv Turner as our offensive coordinator and obviously, I’m extremely excited about Norv being here. We have known each other for a long time and had a chance to work together in San Diego for two years. Norv has been one of the best coaches in this league for a long time and I’m extremely excited for him to be here as our offensive coordinator. Our offensive philosophies, in working together and knowing him, mesh very well so I’m excited about us putting together and pulling from things that I’ve done in the last few years and Norv’s done and putting together the Browns’ offense. Obviously, with my relationship with Norv, he’ll be extremely valuable in his experiences as a head coach and me having a sounding board with somebody with that kind of experience that’s 20 feet down the hall that I can go in and pop in his office and bounce things off of. We sat down a little bit and started shaping what we want as the Browns’ offense. We’ve talked through a number of things. Norv will be calling the plays. I’ll be involved in that process and overseeing that as well. Norv will also be coaching the quarterbacks, which based on his history and past, the great quarterbacks that he’s been around and developed throughout the years, I think that will be a real asset for us. But again, overall I’m excited in putting this thing together as we sit down during the course of the next few weeks and both evaluate personnel and also put together the offense as I was talking about before. I’m really excited about this and I’ll turn it over to Norv now.”
Norv TurnerTo read more or comment...
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.”To read more or comment...
New Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton has brought at least one of his assistants from the Arizona Cardinals to Cleveland.
The Browns hired Louie Cioffi as their new defensive backs coach, the team announced today. For the past two seasons, Cioffi had the same job with the Cardinals while Horton served as their defensive coordinator.
“Louie is very well respected in the NFL,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said in a statement. “He possesses extensive experience working alongside some of the top defensive coaches in this league. He has worked closely with Ray [Horton], which will be a big advantage for our team.”
The Browns also named Shane Steichen as an offensive quality control coach and announced the previously reported hiring of Joe Cullen as their defensive line coach.
Steichen will reunite with new Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who spent the past six seasons as coach of the San Diego Chargers. Steichen was a defensive assistant with the Chargers the past two years.To read more or comment...
Joe Cullen has been hired as the Browns’ new defensive line coach, Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley told reporters today during Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala.
The Florida-Times Union first reported the news.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski reportedly interviewed Cullen, 45, last week. He replaces Dwaine Board, who served as the Browns’ defensive line coach for the past two seasons.
Cullen joined the Jaguars in 2010. He previously coached the Detroit Lions’ defensive line from 2006-08. Cullen also has 17 seasons of college coaching experience.To read more or comment...
Browns CEO Joe Banner told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King that he and owner Jimmy Haslam believed hiring Chip Kelly as their new head coach would have been too big of a risk to take.
After flirting the Browns and Philadelphia Eagles a few week ago, Kelly decided to return to the University of Oregon. Then on Wednesday, he stunned virtually everyone by accepting the Eagles’ head-coaching job.
The Browns interviewed Kelly for seven hours Jan. 4 in Arizona and were close to reaching a deal to make him their 14th full-time head coach, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported. But Banner and Haslam dropped out of the Kelly sweepstakes on Jan. 6, a day after Kelly reportedly met with Eagles for nine hours.
“We removed ourselves from the process,” Banner, the former president of the Eagles, told King. “We really liked Chip. He's intriguing, a very different thinker, and very smart. But you could see he was uncertain what he wanted to do. He may be in Philadelphia 10 years or longer and have a terrific career. But the fact he committed to Tampa Bay last year, backed out, then seemed all year to be leaning toward going to the NFL, then being so uncertain with us, we just felt it was too big a gamble. If there was no ambivalence, we may have offered him the job.”To read more or comment...
Browns Pro Bowl offensive left tackle Joe Thomas is a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the league announced tonight.
The award recognizes off-the-field community service and playing excellence. It is named after the legendary Chicago Bears running back who died in 1999.
“I am honored and truly humbled to be recognized as a finalist for this award,” Thomas said in statement. “Walter Payton wasn’t just a Hall-of-Fame player, he was also one of the best people that ever played in the NFL and made a difference in so many lives. Giving back is something that is extremely important and the Cleveland community is very special to me.”
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten are the other finalists. The winner will be announced the night before Super Bowl XLVIII at the second annual NFL Honors, which will air on CBS from 9-11 p.m. Feb. 2.To read more or comment...
Former Browns coach Pat Shurmur is expected to return to the Philadelphia Eagles and would likely serve as Chip Kelly’s offensive coordinator, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported this morning.
Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner fired Shurmur on Dec. 31 after the Browns finished 2012 with a record of 5-11, their 12th losing seasons since 1999. On Jan. 10, Haslam and Banner hired Rob Chudzinski to replace Shurmur, who went 9-23 in two seasons with the Browns.
But before the Browns chose Chudzinski, they competed with the Eagles by heavily pursuing Kelly. After Kelly interviewed with both teams, he decided to return to the University of Oregon, where he had been the head coach since 2009. Kelly, however, shocked the world by becoming the Eagles’ coach on Wednesday, nearly two weeks after he began meeting with NFL teams.
Shurmur, 47, would enter his second tour with the Eagles. He served as their tight ends and offensive line coach from 1999-2001 and their quarterbacks coach from 2002-08. He then spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams before former Browns President Mike Holmgren hired him on Jan. 13, 2011.To read more or comment...
The Browns have named Ray Horton their defensive coordinator, the team announced this evening.
Horton spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals and employed a 3-4 system. Horton, 52, replaces Dick Jauron, who guided the Browns’ 4-3 defense the past two seasons.
“We are truly excited that we were able to get someone of Ray’s caliber as our defensive coordinator,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said in a statement. “He possesses a great deal of experience as a player, position coach and coordinator in the NFL and has been part of some of the top defenses in the league throughout his career. He is an extremely talented coach, and I know that he will work very well with the young nucleus of players we have on defense.”
Horton interviewed with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner for the Browns’ head-coaching position on Jan. 1 in Arizona. Chudzinski was chosen for the job on Jan. 10. Horton also interviewed with the Cardinals, but they hired Bruce Arians instead.To read more or comment...
The Browns named Michael Lombardi their vice president of player personnel this morning. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
(Opening statement)- “Good Morning. Before we introduce Mike officially, we were here together a week ago and introduced Rob (Chudzinski) at that time. I think we talked about how there were a lot of reasons we were excited about Rob. Certainly, one of them was his ability to put together not just a good, but a great staff. I think yesterday’s announcement about Norv Turner and some of the assistants that are either going to be staying or joining us are certainly proving those out. I think Rob is well on the way to completing his staff. I think he’ll name an outstanding defensive coordinator here in the next few days and we certainly look forward to sharing that news. As excited as we were about Rob a week ago, we remain that excited, in fact more excited a week later after we’ve had a chance to watch him work and see the staff that he’s put together. Now, we said at the outset, I think it was on December 31, Joe (Banner) and I said that we were going to hire a coach first and then hire a general manager/player personnel person second. Joe and I once again had the opportunity to talk to several talented people that could have filled that role. Matter of fact, we were very, very impressed with the type of individuals that were interested in filling that position with the Cleveland Browns. There was one individual, however, that I think stood out in a very strong field as being one, extremely smart, two, having really phenomenal passion, three, a great work drive and I think equally or more importantly to those three characteristics and they’re all obviously very important, tremendous knowledge of football. When Joe and I started talking about what we wanted for a (Vice President – Player Personnel) we talked about two things. One, an outstanding player evaluator and I think that’s probably a given in the (Vice President – Player Personnel) role. The second thing we wanted and I think something that a lot of people candidly overlook, is we wanted somebody that understood how to put together a team. We’ve talked consistently around here since the first day on August 3, that we wanted to put together a consistent winner, not a team that won one year and fell back, that consistently contended for division, conference and Super Bowl championships. I think Mike Lombardi will help us do this. Over the past really particular week, but really two weeks as we started to focus on this, I had the opportunity to talk to several people in the business, you all are going to want to know who they are, but I’m not going to name them, who I respect. These are people at the very top of the NFL business, the most respected people in the business and without exception every one of them said this, ‘If you can get Mike Lombardi to be your general manager you should hire him immediately.’ Joe has known Mike a lot longer than I have and I’m going to let Joe say a few words in a second, but in the time that Mike and I have spent together, I have been very, very impressed. I will repeat what I said earlier, smarts, passion, drive, he wants to win, he wants to win badly, but also with the knowledge he has of the league, the NFL, players, college players, etcetera. I know we got the very best possible person to be (Vice President – Player Personnel). I think we’ve now completed the team at the top, if you will. Rob’s got to fill in some assistants and we’re just very, very pleased to have Mike as our (Vice President – Player Personnel). Before Joe says a few words though, I do want to introduce Mike’s by far better half who I met for the first time today, Millie. It’s Millie’s birthday today. I did not ask her what birthday it was, but its Millie’s birthday today. On Millie’s right is one of Mike’s two sons, Matt who is a senior at Delaware and I think wants to get into the football business when he finishes school so it’s great to have both of you. Matt was actually born in Cleveland and Millie, of course, was here with Mike when Mike was here before. I’m going to let Joe make a few remarks and then we’ll introduce Mike.”
“Just adding on to what Jimmy said, we were really lucky and frankly, pleasantly surprised with the quality of people that we were able to meet over the last week or ten days. It was a very difficult decision. A lot of what differentiated Mike, as Jimmy mentioned, the idea of building teams versus picking players. There are a lot of teams in the league that pick players and don’t really have a clear understanding of the difference between doing that and assembling a team where people complement each other. You’re creating the right culture, attitude, work ethic, picking players that fit your particular program as opposed to just picking good players that end up making personnel people look good necessarily and not necessarily making the team any better. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mike. I’ve stayed in touch with and had a relationship with Mike since we worked together. I know the effectiveness when we were together as well as the years of talking before and after drafts, what players we liked and didn’t like. I feel like I have firsthand knowledge on his ability to evaluate players, which is the most important thing he’s going to do, as I could possibly have on anybody we were going to hire. I also witnessed Mike hire scouts and young scouts and see them develop. I think you’re all familiar with the scouting staff that was here when he was here in Cleveland and what many of those people have gone on to so I think he has a good eye for scouts as well as having a good eye for talent. That’s what drove the decision. He has a tremendous passion to come back here to Cleveland, to be a part of this organization and help us turn it around. As you’ve heard those are the kind of qualities we’re looking for. So I introduce with pleasure and confidence our new Vice President of Player Personnel, Mike Lombardi.”To read more or comment...
Michael Lombardi hasn’t worked for an NFL team since the Oakland Raiders fired him in May 2007, but he insisted this afternoon during his introductory news conference that he’s a changed man who’s prepared to make the most of his second chance with the Browns.
“I’m really ready,” said Lombardi, who worked in the Browns’ front office from 1987-95 and served as an analyst for NFL Network for the past five years. “I’ve got a long way to go. I’ve got a learning curve, but I’m ready to work. I’ve been resting for five years. I’ve had enough makeup on. I’m ready to go. I love NFL Network, but I see myself as a football guy.”
Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner view Lombardi the same way. They named him their vice president of player personnel this morning. Although he will not hold the title of general manager, Lombardi will head the Browns’ personnel department.
The Browns fired General Manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur on Dec. 31. They hired coach Rob Chudzinski on Jan. 10 to succeed Shurmur, and now Lombardi replaces Heckert as the organization’s top personnel chief.To read more or comment...
NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi had been linked to the Browns for months, and this morning the team named him its vice president of player personnel.
Although he will not hold the title of general manager, Lombardi will head the Browns’ personnel department.
Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner fired General Manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur on Dec. 31. They hired coach Rob Chudzinski on Jan. 10 to succeed Shurmur, and now Lombardi replaces Heckert as the organization’s top personnel chief.
But Banner, the former president of the Philadelphia Eagles, will wield significant power in personnel decisions and could have final say on the drafting, signing and trading of players. The Browns will have a chance to explain their division of authority during a news conference at 11:30 a.m. today at their headquarters in Berea.
Lombardi has 22 years of experience as an NFL front-office executive, but he hasn’t worked for a team since 2007, when the Oakland Raiders fired him. He’ll reunite with Banner. Lombardi helped Banner and the Eagles draft and make other personnel decisions from 1997-98.To read more or comment...
As expected, the Browns named former San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner their offensive coordinator, the team announced today.
The Browns also hired Scott Turner, Norv’s son, as a wide receivers coach, Mike Sullivan as an offensive line coach and Brad Roll as a strength and conditioning coach.
They also retained special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor and offensive line coach George Warhop, both of whom were assistants for coach Pat Shurmur, who was fired Dec. 31. The Browns hired Rob Chudzinski on Jan. 10 to replace Shurmur as coach.
Norv Turner’s resume is highlighted by 14 seasons as an NFL head coach, including the past six with the Chargers. He was fired Dec. 31.To read more or comment...
Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp.’s stadium naming rights deal with the Browns is worth $6 million a year, sources told the Beacon Journal this afternoon.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because FirstEnergy and the Browns agreed the terms of the deal would remain private.
Chuck Jones, president of FirstEnergy Utilities, acknowledged in an interview Wednesday with the Beacon Journal that the contract is for 17 years and lasts for the remainder of the lease the Browns have with the city of Cleveland, which owns the stadium.
So the contract that changed the name of Cleveland Browns Stadium to FirstEnergy Stadium: Home of the Cleveland Browns is a 17-year, $102 million deal.
FirstEnergy Corp.’s headquarters are in Akron. It’s the parent company of FirstEnergy Utilities, which operates the regulated electricity distribution units of Ohio Edison, Cleveland Illuminating Co. and Toledo Edison, and of FirstEnergy Solutions, which offers electricity contracts.
ESPN.com published analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s first mock draft of the year this morning, and he predicted the Browns will select Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner sixth overall.
The German-born Werner, who’s listed at 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds by Florida State, finished the 2012 season with 40 tackles, including 13 sacks and a team-high 18 tackles for loss, and seven pass break-ups. Werner, a junior, was named the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. He started for the Seminoles in each of the past two seasons.
But Kiper conceded Werner wouldn’t be a logical fit for the Browns if they decide to switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 scheme, a transition they seem likely to make with new coach Rob Chudzinski in charge. The Browns have yet to hire a new defensive coordinator, but Chudzinski has indicated he likes hybrid defenses that can alternate between 3-4 and 4-3 alignments.
“Werner’s a 4-3 defensive end,” Kiper said today during a conference call. “That’s what he is. There are some guys who could play in both schemes obviously that you can look at. But they could also figure at that point, ‘OK, if we’re going to be a 3-4 team, then obviously it becomes a linebacker-driven defense.’To read more or comment...
After flirting with the Browns and Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago, Chip Kelly chose to return to the University of Oregon and then shocked the world today by accepting the Eagles’ head-coaching job.
The Eagles announced their stunning hire this afternoon. Kelly will be their 21st head coach.
The Browns hired Rob Chudzinski as their new head coach on Jan. 10, but Kelly was their top target out of the gate.
The Browns fired coach Pat Shurmur on Dec. 31 and in the following days camped out in Arizona so they could interview Kelly after Oregon defeated Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 3 at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner interviewed Kelly for seven hours Jan. 4 and came close to reaching an agreement with him to fill their head-coaching vacancy, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.To read more or comment...
Cleveland Browns Stadium will now be known as FirstEnergy Stadium: Home of the Cleveland Browns, FirstEnergy President and CEO Tony Alexander announced this afternoon during a news conference at the stadium.
Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. purchased the naming rights for the stadium. The terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.To read more or comment...
Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager George Paton is out of the running to head the Browns’ personnel department, Pro Football Talk reported today.
The Browns requested permission from the Vikings to interview Paton, but a meeting never happened, according to the report.
One source told Pro Football Talk that Paton passed on a chance to meet with the Browns. And another source told the website the Vikings denied the Browns’ request for an interview.
Either way, Paton is no longer a candidate to join the Browns’ front office.
Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner fired General Manager Tom Heckert on Dec. 31 and are now looking for a personnel executive to pair with new head coach Rob Chudzinski, whom they hired Thursday night.To read more or comment...
Browns offensive line coach George Warhop has reportedly survived yet another regime change, a testament to the job he has done in Cleveland since 2009.
New Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid targeted Warhop, and the two sides were in serious negotiations before Warhop decided to stay with the Browns as a member of new coach Rob Chudzinski’s staff, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported today.
Warhop was the San Francisco 49ers’ offensive line coach in 2006, when ex-San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner was the 49ers’ offensive coordinator. Chudzinski is expected to name Turner his offensive coordinator, meaning Warhop and Turner are set to reunite in Cleveland.
Former New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was going to meet with the Browns about coaching their offensive line until Warhop decided to stay put, Mortensen reported. Now Sparano is scheduled to interview with Reid and the Chiefs on Monday.
Warhop, 51, joined the Browns four years ago as part of Eric Mangini’s staff. Mangini was fired following the 2010 season, though Warhop became one of four assistant coaches retained by Pat Shurmur.To read more or comment...
New Browns coach Rob Chudzinksi is targeting John Pagano as his defensive coordinator, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported today.
Pagano spent the 2012 season as the defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers. He coached linebackers during Chudzinski’s two stints with the Chargers. Chudzinski was a tight ends coach (2005-06) and an assistant head coach/tight ends coach (2009-10) in San Diego.
Pagano was a defensive coordinator for the first time during the 2012 season. The Chargers ranked ninth with 326.4 yards allowed per game and 16th with 21.9 points allowed per game.
On Friday, Chudzinski, an offensive coach, and CEO Joe Banner indicated they like hybrid defenses that use 3-4 and 4-3 alignments, but the defensive coordinator will ultimately decide the type of scheme the Browns use. The Browns have used a 4-3 system for the past two seasons under defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, who’s not expected to return.To read more or comment...
Two Browns players -- left tackle Joe Thomas and kicker Phil Dawson -- were named second-team All Pro today. In December, Thomas was selected to his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl and Dawson made his first one.
Below is the Associated Press 2012 NFL All-Pro team selected by a national panel of 50 media members:
Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Denver.To read more or comment...
The man who moved the Browns is one step closer to enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The late Art Modell, former owner of the Browns who then moved the team to Baltimore in 1996 and won a Super Bowl in 2001, made another cut and is now one of 15 finalists up for induction into the Hall of Fame. This is the second time Modell has reached the finals, and the first time since 2002.
A committee of 46 media representatives will choose the inductees Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl. Candidates need an approval rate of 80 percent to be enshrined. This means Modell will need 37 of 46 possible votes. Each Hall of Fame class can consist of no more than seven members.
The other finalists include wide receiver Cris Carter, running back Jerome Bettis, tackle Jonathan Ogden, defensive end Michael Strahan, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, wide receiver Tim Brown, guard Larry Allen, wide receiver Andre Reed, guard Will Shields, defensive end Charles Haley, linebacker Kevin Green, cornerback Aeneas Williams, coach Bill Parcells and former San Francisco 49ers owner Ed DeBartolo Jr.To read more or comment...
Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner introduced Rob Chudzinski as the Browns' new coach this morning during a news conference. Here is a transcript:
(Opening statement)- “Good morning. It’s a very, very exciting day for the Cleveland Browns, the Cleveland Browns family and everybody excited about Cleveland Browns football. We were in here 11 days ago and Joe (Banner) and I talked about going through a process. Everybody wanted to know how long it would take and we said, ‘It might take a week, it might take a month.’ It took 11 days. I can tell you and I’m not going to get into any specifics, but we talked to nine or ten of, I believe, the best coaches in the country. We talked to current pro coaches, we talked to former pro head coaches, we talked to current college coaches, we talked to several pro coordinators and I believe we came back with the best person to lead the Cleveland Browns to the kind of winning format that we want to have here in Cleveland and that we all expect to have. I want to talk a little bit about Rob Chudzinski for a little bit. A lot of you know Rob because he’s been here on two different occasions, but let me just go back and tell you a few basic facts about him. Rob’s from [Toledo], Ohio, and was a standout high school football player here. He went to the University of Miami, was on two national championship teams and was a coach on a national championship team. He has played and won at the highest level and had success there. His expertise is obviously on the offensive side of the ball. He played tight end, coached tight ends and over the last few years has been an offensive coordinator and an assistant head coach. If you talk to people in the business, he is regarded as one of the brightest if not the brightest young minds in the business. He is tremendously innovative and, as you all know, Joe and I are very bottom line people, you look at the results. Before I introduce Rob I’ll just say this, over the last two years Rob was the offensive coordinator at Carolina. They scored 88 touchdowns and I’m always a big believer in what does that mean? What does that compare to? Well, we scored 48. Carolina scored 88, we scored 48. If you watched how they play and how they scheme, I think Rob no matter where he’s been, whether it’s been here with Derek Anderson, whether it’s been in San Diego, whether it’s been in Carolina, he has developed a scheme around the team. It was really interesting to have the opportunity to talk to the number of coaches that Joe and I did and the one common theme that kept coming back was, ‘You guys have a great offensive line. It’s a tremendous way to build a football team. You have young players on offense.’ In going through this process, although we talked to a couple of outstanding defensive coordinators, outstanding defensive people, we migrated back to the pro game is becoming more and more offensive. We think we have great young talent on offense and we thought it was exceptionally important to bring in an individual who can take advantage of and develop - everywhere Rob has been the quarterback has gotten dramatically better - develop that young talent so that we can put the kind of points on the board that one, will win games and, candidly, two, will be fun to watch. So it’s my privilege to announce the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Rob Chudzinski.”
Rob ChudzinskiTo read more or comment...
Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner introduced Rob Chudzinski as this morning as the Browns’ new head coach during a news conference at the team’s headquarters in Berea. Here are some of the highlights:
Bleeding orange and brown
Chudzinski, a Toledo native who had two previous stints as an assistant coach with the Browns, said it’s a dream come true to lead the team he grew up rooting for. Chudzinski’s parents now live in Fremont, Ohio.
“I have to admit I’ve eaten a dog biscuit or two in my day,” Chudzinski said.To read more or comment...
Rob Chudzinski was raised as a Browns fan, and now he’ll get a chance to lead the franchise he idolized growing up.
The Browns hired Chudzinski as their 14th full-time head coach and sixth since 1999, the team announced late Thursday night. Chudzinski’s introductory news conference will be held at 11 a.m. today at the team’s headquarters in Berea.
Chudzinski spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers. He replaces Pat Shurmur, who went 9-23 in two seasons as the Browns’ coach before being fired Dec. 31 along with General Manager Tom Heckert. The Browns have yet to hire Heckert’s successor.
Chudzinski, 44, has never been a head coach before at any level. But he convinced owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner that he’s ready for the next step in his career. Chudzinski, a former Browns offensive coordinator, interviewed with the team’s bigwigs on Wednesday.
Haslam, who struck a deal Aug. 2 to buy the Browns from Randy Lerner for about $1 billion, and Banner said they wanted a strong, dynamic leader to guide the team. Chudzinski must fit the profile in their eyes because he beat out a long list of candidates.To read more or comment...
The Browns are interviewing former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt for their head-coaching vacancy today in the Cleveland area, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the Browns are not commenting on interviews or candidates until the search is complete.
The Browns also interviewed Whisenhunt last Wednesday in Arizona. Whisenhunt’s second interview with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner indicates he is a strong possibility to become the Browns’ 14th full-time head coach and their sixth since 1999.
Whisenhunt was fired Dec. 31, the same day Haslam and Banner ousted coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert after the Browns finished 2012 with a record of 5-11. The Cardinals went 5-11 in 2012 despite starting 4-0.To read more or comment...
The Browns are interviewing Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski for their head-coaching vacancy today at their headquarters in Berea, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal. They will also interview Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer today, Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported this morning.
Chudzinski, a Toledo native, entered the NFL as a tight ends coach for the Browns in 2004 and was promoted to offensive coordinator for the final five games that season after coach Butch Davis resigned. He left the team following the 2004 season and returned to Cleveland in 2007 as a full-time offensive coordinator, a job he held for two seasons.
In 2007, the Browns went 10-6, ranked eighth in offense (351.3 yards per game) and had six players, including left tackle Joe Thomas, quarterback Derek Anderson, wide receiver Braylon Edwards and tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., make the Pro Bowl. In 2008, the Browns went 4-12, ranked 31st on offense (249.1 yards per game) and coach Romeo Crennel was fired at the end of the season.
Chudzinski, 44, then returned to the Chargers and served as their assistant head coach/tight ends coach for two seasons. In 2011, he became the Panthers’ offensive coordinator, and the team ranked seventh in offense (389.8 yards per game) and tied for fifth in scoring (25.4 points per game). In 2012, the Panthers ranked 12th in offense (360.7 yards per game) and tied for 18th in scoring (22.3 points per game).To read more or comment...
The Browns are interviewing Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman today at their headquarters in Berea, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the Browns are not commenting on candidates or interviews until the search for their 14th full-time head coach and sixth since 1999 is complete. Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner fired coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert on Dec. 31 after the Browns finished 2012 with a record of 5-11, their 12th losing season of the expansion era.
Trestman has been coaching in the Canadian Football League since 2008, and he guided the Alouettes to back-to-back Grey Cup championships in 2009 and 2010. He interviewed with the Chicago Bears on Monday, the source said.
Trestman, 56, also has served as an assistant coach for several NFL teams, including the Browns. He came to Cleveland in 1988 as a quarterbacks coach and became their offensive coordinator in 1989, when they advanced to the AFC Championship game.To read more or comment...
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is scheduled to speak at the Canton Regional Chamber’s 99th annual dinner Feb. 7 at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.
Haslam, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., whose family owns truck-stop empire Pilot Flying J, struck a deal Aug. 2 to buy the Browns from Randy Lerner for about $1 billion. NFL owners unanimously approved the purchase Oct. 16.
Haslam will tell his story of success in the business world during the event in Canton. It will begin with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are $88 for chamber members and $98 for non-members. Reservations are required.
Click here to register or call (330) 458-2070. All registration payments must be received in advance, and reservations must be received by Feb. 4. Space is limited.To read more or comment...
As the Browns regroup and reboot their head-coaching search, two former Cleveland offensive coordinators are reportedly on their radar.
On Sunday, Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports reported the Browns' coaching search would include Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman and Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Contrary to reports that surfaced this morning, the Browns are not interviewing Trestman today in Chicago, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.
Trestman, who is reportedly set to meet with the Chicago Bears today, has been coaching in the Canadian Football League since 2008. But Trestman has many NFL stops on his resume, including one stint in Cleveland.
Trestman joined the Browns in 1988 as a quarterbacks coach and served as their offensive coordinator in 1989. In Cleveland, Trestman reunited with quarterback Bernie Kosar. Trestman was the University of Miami’s quarterbacks coach in 1983, when Kosar and the Hurricanes won the national championship.To read more or comment...
The Browns have dropped out of the Chip Kelly sweepstakes despite being labeled the favorites less than 24 hours ago, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.
On Sunday NFL Countdown, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and his contingent are flying back to Cleveland to restart and reboot their head-coaching search with Kelly out of the mix.
“Chip Kelly will not be the next Cleveland Browns coach,” Mortensen said on the air.
A person familiar with the search told the Associated Press that Kelly was indecisive about making the jump to the NFL, and the Browns decided to move on to other candidates.To read more or comment...
The Browns are still the favorites to win the Chip Kelly sweepstakes, though no deal has been reached yet, NFL Network and ESPN reported today.
Kelly, the University of Oregon’s coach for the past four seasons, interviewed with the owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner for about seven hours Friday in Arizona, and he’s scheduled to meet with them again tonight after he interviews with the Philadelphia Eagles, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported. Kelly also interviewed with the Buffalo Bills on Friday night, the team confirmed.
Lawyers are scheduled to attend the Browns’ meeting with Kelly tonight, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported. Rapoport and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported today the Browns are favored to secure Kelly. Schefter also reported it seems certain that Kelly will leave Oregon for the NFL.
If Kelly chooses the Browns, he would become their sixth full-time head coach since 1999 and their 14th in franchise history. The Browns fired coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert on Monday after finishing 2012 with a record of 5-11 and their fifth consecutive losing season.To read more or comment...
The Browns’ new regime of owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner traveled to Arizona this week on a search for a strong, dynamic leader, and it appears they’re on track to get their man.
University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly is close to striking a deal to become the 14th full-time head coach of the Browns, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Friday.
The Browns and Kelly wrapped up seven hours of meetings Friday that were characterized as “very positive,” ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported. But Kelly still interviewed with the Buffalo Bills later Friday night and is scheduled to do the same with the Philadelphia Eagles today, according to Mortensen.
The Browns and Kelly agreed to meet again tonight, and Cleveland is favored to secure Kelly, Mortensen reported. Kelly informed Haslam and Banner he wanted to go through the process by meeting with the Bills and Eagles, and they didn’t object to his wishes.To read more or comment...
Somebody had to pay the price for the nasty exchanges Sunday between the Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers in the season finale at Heinz Field.
Turns out, it's Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor.
The NFL fined Taylor $7,875 for blindsiding Steelers right tackle Kelvin Beachum with a forearm smash away from a running play early in the third quarter of the Browns' 24-10 loss.
Beachum suffered a concussion as a result of the hit and did not return. After the game, Taylor insisted he wouldn’t be fazed if he received discipline from the league.To read more or comment...
The Browns are interviewing University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly for their head-coaching vacancy this afternoon in Arizona, Marc Sessler of NFL.com reported.
Kelly is also scheduled to interview with the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills, according to USA Today.
The Browns will not comment on candidates or interviews during their search to replace Pat Shurmur, whom they fired Monday. Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are conducting the interviews.
After Kelly’s team defeated Kansas State 35-17 Thursday night in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., he said he’s eager to get through the interview process and make a decision.To read more or comment...
The Browns signed defensive end Kendrick Adams, tight end Dan Gronkowski and defensive back Kent Richardson to reserve/future contracts for the 2013 season.
Adams spent the final three weeks of the 2012 season on the Browns’ practice squad. He was previously on the practice squads of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions.
Gronkowski, a seventh-round draft pick in 2009, has started five of the 21 games in which he has appeared, compiling nine receptions for 69 yards. He appeared in five games with the Browns in 2011 and spent training camp with the team in 2012 before being waived during final roster cuts.
Richardson spent the past two seasons with the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena League. Last season, he tallied 80 tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and a league-leading 14 interceptions. He was named the AFL Defensive Back of the Year.To read more or comment...
Syracuse University coach Doug Marrone is interviewing with the Browns today, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported this evening on NFL 32.
The Browns won't comment on candidates or interviews during their search for their next head coach. They're expected to interview University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who's believed to be their top target, on Friday, Mortensen said.
Marrone, 48, also had an interview set up with the Buffalo Bills, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. He’s on the radar of the Philadelphia Eagles, too, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
A former NFL offensive lineman, Marrone served as the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints from 2006-08. The Saints ranked first in total offense (410.7 yards per game) in 2008, fourth (361.2) in 2007 and first (391.5) in 2006.To read more or comment...
The Browns interviewed former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt on Wednesday for their head-coaching vacancy, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported early this morning.
Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner conducted the interview in Arizona.
They’re also expected to interview University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly on Friday in Arizona, according to Mortensen. Kelly’s team will play Kansas State tonight in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
Kelly is the Browns’ top target, according to a report by Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com. In addition to the Browns, the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills also have interviews set up with Kelly, USA Today reported.To read more or comment...
University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly is believed to be the Browns’ top choice in their quest to secure a new head coach.
Kelly’s team will play Kansas State on Thursday night in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. The Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills are expected to try to meet with him following the game, Jason La Canfora of CBS reported.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported today that the Browns are planning to interview Kelly on Friday or this weekend. Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are in Arizona, where they interviewed Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton on Tuesday evening, the Arizona Republic reported.
Rapoport also reported that Kelly would not require total control of football operations to take an NFL job. Banner said he wants the coach to have final say on the 53-man roster, meaning the coach would determine who makes the team and who dresses on game days, but that doesn't necessarily mean the coach would be the ultimate authority when it comes to drafting, signing and trading players. Football operations will report to Banner, so he'll wield significant power in those areas no matter how the responsibilities are divided once a coach and a personnel chief are in place.To read more or comment...
Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has removed himself as a candidate to become the Browns’ next head coach by signing a contract extension that will keep him off the market, Falcons coach Mike Smith confirmed while speaking to Atlanta reporters today.
Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez first reported the news this morning.
Koetter, 53, was scheduled to interview with the Browns and Philadelphia Eagles, and he made the decision to stay put after interviewing Tuesday with the Kansas City Chiefs, Marvez reported.
Koetter joined the Falcons in 2012 after serving as the offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2007-11. In his first season with the Falcons, they had the NFL’s eighth-ranked offense (369.1 yards per game), were seventh in scoring (26.2 points per game), went 13-3 and earned the NFC’s top playoff seed.To read more or comment...
The coaching bug never left former Browns President Mike Holmgren, and he never ruled out a return to the sidelines on his way out of Cleveland at the end of November.
ESPN’s Ed Werder recently asked Holmgren about a return to coaching.
“If anyone is interested, I’ll listen,” Holmgren said.
Holmgren spent his last day with the Browns on Nov. 30 after essentially being replaced by CEO Joe Banner, owner Jimmy Haslam’s right-hand man who oversees all aspects of the organization, including football operations. The same day the Browns visited the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 18, Werder reported Holmgren only had interest in coaching the Cowboys, but the job never became available.To read more or comment...