Browns turn to Turner to run offense
BEREA – Browns fans who don’t like the play calling next season won’t need to send nasty text messages to coach Rob Chudzinski.
All complaints should be sent to offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who will be the point man in running the offense in 2013. Chudzinski, who was named coach Jan. 11, wasted no time in clearing up that issue during a press conference Wednesday to formally introduce Turner.
It was assumed that Chudzinski would hand the play-calling duties to Turner, who has 38 years of coaching experience and 14 seasons as a head coach in the NFL, but first-time head coaches are often tempted by the power trip. Ex-coach Pat Shurmur didn’t hire an offensive coordinator in his first season in 2011, taking on an additional task that was overwhelming.
Turner will also serve as quarterbacks coach.
“Norv has been one of the best play callers in the league for a long time,” Chudzinski said. “It was just a matter of us sitting down and working through the process. It will be an on-going process of defining what the offense is going to be.”
Chudzinski, who was an offensive coordinator with the Browns, Chargers and most recently the Panthers, is placing plenty of faith in Turner. Owner James Haslam recently referred to Chudzinski as having one of the best offensive minds in the NFL. Chudzinski could have easily decided to rely on his play-calling skills instead of turning the job over to Turner.
“One of the things you want to do as a head coach is recognize the people around you and the talents that they have,” Chudzinski said. “With Norv here, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be a great play caller.
“The way we’ve done this is on a game-planning standpoint. On game day, when I was with Norv in San Diego, everyone is really involved. I’ll oversee it and be involved in suggesting whatever it may be we’re calling it.”
Turner developed a reputation for fielding proficient offenses during six seasons as coach of the San Diego Chargers. He helped develop Philip Rivers into one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, directing an offense that also featured the running skills of LaDainian Tomlinson and the pass-catching skills of tight end Antonio Gates.
Turner’s challenge won’t be as easy in Cleveland, but he likes the potential he’s seen.
“When we were getting ready to play Cleveland (last season), I saw potential,” Turner said. “When they were doing things right, they did them very well. When you’re dealing with young players, getting them to do it right over and over can be a challenge.”
Turner and Chudzinski have to decide if Brandon Weeden will be the starting quarterback. Chudzinski said that he’s not ready to make that commitment yet.
Turner didn’t go into details when discussing Weeden and quarterback Colt McCoy.
“Whoever you’re coaching, whether it be a receiver, running back or quarterback, you’re looking for ways for him to improve,” Turner said. “Certainly there are things I look at and say, ‘Brandon, you can get better at these things,’ so you can get excited to go out and work on the details about playing the position.
“Part of playing quarterback is getting everyone around him playing at a high level. One of the things we’re going to do is talk about getting everybody on the same page and at a high level because they feed off each other.”
In addition to working with the offensive players, Turner will also be available to lend advice to Chudzinski in his rookie season as coach. The two have known each other for about 20 years. Chudzinski coached on Turner’s staff in San Diego.
“There are a lot of things you have to handle that you don’t realize that first year,” Turner said. “There are a lot of things you have to handle that are other than just dealing with one side of the ball. You can get spread pretty thin real fast.”