You hire a coach, you hire a system

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 31, 2013 – 12:28 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Ted – The team has four quality defensive linemen. Why switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4, and where are the linebackers for this defense?

The simple answer, Ted, is that the 3-4 is the base concept that new Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton knows best. When you hire a coach, you hire his system.

Now, that doesn’t mean that it is the only configuration the Browns will use. In fact, the plan, as Horton said Tuesday during his introductory news conference and on “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford,” is to use multiple fronts.

That makes perfect sense. One, it helps make the defense less predictable, which is a primary part of Horton’s coaching philosophy. Two, it helps with transitioning from the 4-3 that the Browns have played the past two seasons to the 3-4.

As Horton pointed out, the talent of the defensive linemen on the roster was a large part of what attracted him to Cleveland. He sees this group has having the ability to not only rush the passer and stuff the run, but also drop into coverage. Those are the qualities that he wants in a defense that will be highly aggressive and feature a lot of variations and disguising of looks in an effort to fool the quarterback and keep him off-balance.

I think the Browns could utilize some of the linebackers already on the roster, such as D’Qwell Jackson, who has played in the 3-4 and is a versatile enough athlete to make either scheme work. Craig Robertson is another linebacker whose superb athleticism should allow him to be effective in any front because he is a pure playmaker.

But the Browns will certainly look to find more linebackers via the draft and free-agency, and perhaps through a trade.

Matt – I’m looking forward to Billy Winn, Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor as the D-line starters. Beastly!

Matt, I think it’s reasonable to assume that Winn, Rubin and Taylor will have significant roles in the Browns’ defense in 2013 and beyond.

And I wouldn’t leave John Hughes out of that equation.

They are highly talented, physical, dynamic players who should be good fits regardless of the scheme. They do a good job of moving the line of scrimmage and making plays.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Horton focuses more on talent than scheme

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 30, 2013 – 12:01 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

NEW ORLEANS – The magic isn’t in the scheme, whatever it’s called.

The Browns won’t have a stronger defense in 2013 and beyond because they’re playing a 3-4 rather than a 4-3.

They’ll have a stronger defense because their defenders are in the best possible position to succeed, and because they perform at a higher level.

That, ultimately, is what Ray Horton is setting out to do as the Browns’ new defensive coordinator.

He already has a slogan that captures what he wants from his defense: “Big men that can run, little men that can hit.” And that is a constant, regardless of what sort of front the Browns employ.

In fact, Horton doesn’t necessarily describe the team’s base scheme as a 3-4, even though that is what he mostly utilized as defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals the past two seasons.

“It could be a 4-3, could be a 5-2,” he told me during his Tuesday appearance on “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford.” “Sometimes it’s going to be a 4-4, just depending on what we do.”

Horton, who brings tremendous energy to the job, is excited about the prospect of being able to utilize multiple fronts because of the versatility of the players the Browns already have on defense.

He is especially thrilled with the talent he sees on the defensive line.

“Our big men up front can all run, and they run very well,” Horton said. “They make plays behind the line of scrimmage and also downfield. And then some of our smaller, skilled players are tenacious and they’re not afraid to come up and hit. And when you have that combination of guys who are willing to run and do what it takes and guys that are fearless, you can put together a good defense.

“Schematically, the first (question I ask) is, ‘What do the players do best?’ Because I’m going to do what they do best, no matter what it is. With our big guys – when you have (Ahtyba) Rubin and Phil Taylor and Frostee (Rucker) – these type guys that can drop and cover and run, it allows you do a myriad of things. Where you can drop certain guys, blitz certain guys, have confusion hopefully on the offensive part of what we’re doing – who’s coming, who’s not.

“It just allows you to do so many more things (rather than being) just a predictable team, (with opponents saying), ‘This is what they do, they line up in one thing.’ We won’t do that.”

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Setting the Super Bowl table on ‘Browns Daily’

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 29, 2013 – 12:01 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

NEW ORLEANS – On a special, two-hour edition of “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford,” from Radio Row of Super Bowl XLVII we set the figurative table for the big game.

We get great insights from Gil Brandt, former director of player-personnel for the Dallas Cowboys and one of the legendary figures in the NFL. He offers some interesting nuggets about the Harbaughs, John and Jim, the respective coaches of the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.

One of the best is this: Before entering the NFL, they faced each other only once in a team sport, a youth baseball game. Until then, they had always been on the same team.

Jeff Duncan, from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, discusses what it means for this city to host its 10th Super Bowl and first since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

As Duncan points out, the NFL did an enormous favor by staging the event in a place that desperately needs the infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars to its economy that the Super Bowl brings.

Duncan also discusses the animosity the town feels toward NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in the aftermath of the punishment he administered after the Saints’ involvement in “Bounty Gate” scandal. Duncan points out that last week’s reinstatement of Saints coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for the entire 2012 season, was helpful with tempering at least some of those hard feelings.

We get additional insights on the Super Bowl from Gary Mihoces, veteran NFL writer for USA Today, and our own Matt Florjancic, staff writer for ClevelandBrowns.com.

Stick with us throughout the week, because you will be hearing from a wide variety of football greats as well as people from the world of entertainment.

We’ll also keep you updated the latest team news. On Tuesday, new defensive coordinator Ray Horton will be on the line with us from Berea, Ohio, after he is formally introduced to the media covering the Browns.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Teaching key trait of new Browns’ staff

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 25, 2013 – 10:42 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Ron – This is the kind of coaching and teaching we’ve needed. Our young core is gonna take off.

I agree that there’s reason for optimism regarding the coaching/teaching from the (mostly) new staff, Ron.

Head coach Rob Chudzinski, offensive coordinator Norv Turner, and defensive coordinator Ray Horton are superb teachers in their respective areas of expertise.

Chudzinski and Turner should do plenty to help with the development of every quarterback the Browns carry. They will provide the technical training that all quarterbacks need, but especially younger ones that fill the current (and likely will continue to fill the future) depth chart at the position.

Horton is a hands-on defensive coordinator who will stress the finer points of technique work with all of the defenders, but especially with the defensive backs; he spent 10 years in NFL secondaries before launching his 19-year coaching career in the league.

And the position coaches will be expected to meet that high standard on both sides of the ball.

Bill – Norv Turner is back at doing what he does best, coordinating a great, downfield, faster offense. And knowing the Browns are giving him the leadership of this offense is exciting!

Agreed, Bill.

His vision is something that should be a good fit for many of the young players the Browns already have on offense, because youth tends to equal speed. And the team will no doubt place a heavy emphasis on adding fast players through the draft and free agency, per the template of vice president-player personnel Michael Lombardi.

Turner wants everything in the passing game to happen much quicker than it did, including the quarterback’s release of the ball.

There will be more pressure on the offensive line to maintain blocks longer as receivers run those deep routes, but it’s fair to expect that that talented unit is mostly up to the challenge.

Turner’s leadership of the offense is important, because he can carry the playbook and game plans on which he and Chudzinski collaborate into games with a sense of consistency when it comes to calling plays. That should help make for a more efficient process.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Scouts see pure football in Senior Bowl workouts

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 25, 2013 – 1:33 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

MOBILE, Ala. – You see them sitting in the stands of Ladd Peebles Stadium, along with hundreds of other men who do what they do.

They’re mostly going about their business in low-tech fashion, with spiral-bound notebooks and pens rather than tablets or laptop computers. They watch each practice of the Senior Bowl, furiously taking notes on what they see from the players on the North and South squads in every drill. They’re the scouts and other player-personnel types for the NFL’s 32 teams, and this is a key part of the work that needs to be done in preparation for April’s draft. They will be doing this all over again during next month’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and at on-campus workouts through March.

But what sets apart the Senior Bowl portion of their pre-draft analysis of college prospects is that the players are in full football uniforms, with pads and helmets. At the Combine and on college campuses, players are wearing shorts and tee shirts and are not involved in any contact. The emphasis in that environment is mostly on athleticism, demonstrations of strength via weight-lifting, and less-than-competitive football activity.

The emphasis here is on pure football.

Most teams give scouts a specific position to watch during practice.

For Pat Roberts, the Browns’ senior national scout, this week’s assignment is defensive backs. He works from a list of specific qualities for each position. There are general categories, such as overall athletic ability, strength, explosion, play speed (how fast a player is in football gear on the field rather than running a 40-yard dash), competitive nature, and key-and-diagnose (reading a key and determining how to react to it), and instincts.

Then, there are the areas that are specific to the position.

“For corners, I always look at how they support the run, how they play in press coverage, how they play in man coverage, how they transition out of their backpedal, how their feet and hips are, how they close, how they play the football in the air,” Roberts told me on “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford.” “Some guys just can’t find it with their backs to the quarterback when they’re running down the sidelines.”

But even when his focus is on one position, Roberts invariably will pay attention to another.

“Let’s say, if I’m watching the corners, and out of the corner of my eye, I see a rep from an offensive or defensive lineman that I want to take a note of, so that when I go back and actually do the practice tape, I know, ‘Hey, this is a rep I wanted to see. I wanted to see what he did with his hands or why he got beat or why he got to the quarterback,’” Roberts said.

He will then review videotape of each practice and, after incorporating the notes he took while watching the live sessions, he will assemble a report on each defensive back and grade him accordingly.

After practice, Roberts and the rest of the scouts gather at the Senior Bowl’s headquarter hotels to conduct background interviews with players at their respective position groups.

“If they’ve been in any trouble, you want to find out exactly what happened, because there’s a lot of gray area when you go through the fall, so you give a kid a chance to tell his story,” Roberts said. “A lot of times there are two sides to every story, for good or for bad. And you’re just finding out just a little bit about the kid – what he does in his free time, what his family’s like … just try to get a feel for whether he’s going to fit into Cleveland or not.”

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Play-calling tailored to what players do best

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 23, 2013 – 10:01 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

MOBILE, Ala. – Identifying Norv Turner’s greatest coaching strength is simple. The man is a superb caller of offensive plays.

Ask defensive coaches around the NFL who have faced him, and they’ll say it. Other offensive coaches will, too.

Turner’s play-calling skills are the primary reason he climbed from an assistant coach to a head coach, spending 14 seasons in that capacity with three teams – the Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers.

And they are what the Cleveland Browns plan to utilize to the fullest during Turner’s first season as their offensive coordinator.

There are a wide variety of reasons that he has found success in this area, but none bigger than making certain the plays he calls fit the abilities of the players who execute them.

“The most important thing is … you have to understand what you’re capable of doing, what your players are capable of doing,” Turner told me during Wednesday’s Senior Bowl broadcast of “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford.” “You have to work hard to get good at as many things as you can. And then you have to be realistic in terms of what they’re capable of doing. That gives them the best chance to be successful, and then, obviously, that gives you, with your calls, the best chance of having success.”

Turner has remained true to that thinking since his first stint as an NFL offensive coordinator, with the Dallas Cowboys, from 1991-1993. During that time, Turner oversaw a scheme that featured three future members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin.

Turner has a rule that plays that aren’t successful in practice won’t be called during games. But he does make exceptions.

“There was one time we had a play in that Michael Irvin thought was going to be a touchdown, and it was incomplete in practice,” Turner recalled. “And on Friday he says, ‘Hey, call it and I’ll make sure we make it work. It’s going to be a touchdown.’ I said, ‘We can’t make it work in practice, Mike.’ He said, ‘Call it. Trust me. Call it, and we’ll do it.’ So I made an exception that time, and it did score a touchdown.

“But the biggest part of play-calling for me is your guys being able to execute what you’re asking them to do. And when they can do that, they make you look real smart … and (players) are a little more committed to making it work when they’ve stuck their neck out a little bit.”

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, who served as Turner’s tights end coach/assistant head coach in San Diego in 2009-10, will have a major role in collaborating with Turner on the game plan and play-calling.

“We want to attack on offense to keep the defense on their heels,” Chudzinski said. “We’re going to use multiple personnel groups, plays. It’s not necessarily what plays we’re running. It’s more about the people and putting them in the right places. That’s something that he’s done for years.”

The other morning, Chudzinski and Turner were watching videotape of the Carolina Panthers from the 2012 season, Chudzinski’s second as their offensive coordinator. The two coaches were bouncing different ideas off of each other. They recognized that, in the two years they have been apart, they’ve both done “some different things” with their respective offenses.

“Bringing it all back together is going to be real interesting,” Chudzinski said. “And I think, at the end of the day, we’re going to have a heck of a package.”

Although it rarely was a problem during Charger home games, Turner does take weather into account when choosing plays. He ran into a fierce combination of rain, wind, and cold when the Chargers suffered a 7-6 loss to the Browns on Oct. 28 at Cleveland.

“The one that’s the hardest is the real rainy days when you put the rain and wind together and you do have to adjust and the short passing game and be able to run the ball and understand that those games aren’t going to end up 38-34,” Turner said. “You’ve got to manage the game a little bit different. The advantage you have (in Cleveland) is you get to practice in it.”

Turner will also serve as the Browns’ quarterbacks coach.

In that capacity, he should be able to do plenty to help in the development of the Browns’ fairly young collection of quarterbacks.

“It’s about their technique and it’s about their drop and it’s about getting themselves in position to be able to deliver the ball quickly, deliver the ball on time,” Turner said. “Usually, we spend some time getting guys sped up, a little more compact. I think all the quarterbacks (on the Browns) are extremely young, so I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal. I don’t think they have a lot of bad habits ingrained.

“I think they’ll adjust very quickly.”

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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No ‘top-end certainty’ for quarterback crop

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 23, 2013 – 2:13 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

MOBILE, Ala. – It would be an understatement to say the 2012 draft set the bar for the quarterback position incredibly high.

How about high enough to reach another galaxy?

You had the top overall pick, Andrew Luck, leading the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs. You had the second overall choice, Robert Griffin III, showing dynamic ability as a runner and a passer for the Washington Redskins before suffering a serious knee injury in the postseason. And you had Russell Wilson, a third-round choice, helping the Seattle Seahawks reach the NFC Championship Game.

Analysts around the league aren’t discussing this year’s quarterback crop in the same way.

No one at the spot is being identified as the top overall pick of the draft. For that matter, it is uncertain whether any of this year’s quarterback prospects should even be considered a first-round choice.

Last year, four quarterbacks were selected in the first round – Luck, Griffin, Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins), and the Browns’ Brandon Weeden – and all started from the beginning of the season, along with Wilson.

“You don’t have the top-end certainty like you had the year before,” said Mike Mayock of NFL Network. “With Luck, with RGIII, you checked off every box: toughness, physicality, talent, off-the-field, on-the-field, work ethic. It was easy.

“Now, this year, it’s a lot different. What you see now is sporadic talent. You see first-round talent, but it’s nowhere near as consistent.”

It would be fair to say that the murkier quarterback picture for this year’s draft creates a chance for several players at the position to grab the position’s top ranking, regardless of the round in which that falls.

That means players participating in the Senior Bowl – such as North squad members Ryan Nassib of Syracuse and Zac Dysert of Miami, Ohio, and South squad member Landry Jones of Oklahoma – share an equal opportunity to receive that distinction.

“Oh, definitely,” Dysert said.

He spoke extensively about that very topic with former NFL quarterback Chris Wienke, with whom he is working at the IMG Football Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Wienke runs the academy that helps college prospects prepare for the NFL Combine and other workouts before April’s draft.

“(Wienke) said there’s not one guy out there that’s impressing everybody, that’s the automatic first pick,” Dysert said. “So it’s a great motivator, for me, at least. It’s still wide open. Anybody can take that (No. 1) position. I’m working very hard to try to be that guy, and I believe that I have some strengths that I can actually be that guy.”

“It’s a very competitive class,” Nassib said. “It’s going to be an interesting situation.”

To say the least.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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At Senior Bowl, it’s all about the practices

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 22, 2013 – 12:05 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

MOBILE, Ala. – For NFL player-personnel evaluators, the Senior Bowl is all about the practices.

Sure, Saturday’s game between the North and South college all-star squads is important to them. Scouts and coaches in the league want to see how players perform under game conditions and run plays installed by the NFL coaching staffs (this year, it’s the Detroit Lions’ and Oakland Raiders’ coaches guiding the North and South squads).

But they mostly want to see what the players do in practice.

Unlike next month’s NFL Scouting Combine at Indianapolis, the Senior Bowl allows scouts and coaches to view contact practices from field level. That allows them not only to get a good look at how players move through their respective drills, but also hear their interaction with the coaches of the teams working the Senior Bowl.

“Being down on the field is invaluable,” Browns director of player personnel Jon Sandusky told me on “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford.” “(You get) to see their mannerisms and see how they react to hard coaching, to see if they go into a shell when they get yelled at or if they come back and want to dominate on the next rep, to be able to look into their eyes and see how they react to certain things, both with their teammates and with their coaches.

“It’s also important to see how they interact with their teammates and how they motivate each other. Some guys do it quietly, by example. Some guys do it verbally. It’s good to see all of that. That’s one of the reasons we all come down here. We like to get down close to the field to see them up close and personal.”

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Browns have strong coaching core

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 20, 2013 – 12:51 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

The argument could easily be made that the Cleveland Browns have assembled as strong a core on their coaching staff as any team in the NFL.

The Browns added considerable experience and talent in new offensive coordinator Norv Turner and new defensive coordinator Ray Horton, and also retained one of the rising stars among special-teams coordinators in the league in Chris Tabor.

For first-year head coach Rob Chudzinski, the situation can’t get much better.

He has Turner’s considerable expertise in building explosive offenses, not to mention his 14 seasons of head-coaching experience. Turner was instrumental in the legendary success of a pair of Pro Football Hall-of-Famers, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, and has coached the likes of LaDanian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers.

Chudzinski is an accomplished offensive mind himself, and, given that he and Turner worked together in San Diego when Turner was head coach and Chudzinski was tight ends coach/assistant head coach, they should collaborate well.

But Chudzinski does need to have equally strong coaching on the defensive side, and Horton should be able to provide that. He appears to be the ideal replacement for Dick Jauron, who did an excellent job as the Browns’ defensive coordinator the past two seasons.

Horton has 19 years of NFL coaching experience, and spent 10 seasons as a defensive back in the league. He spent the past two seasons as defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, and he put himself on the map as a head-coaching candidate this year by helping them improve from the NFL’s 29th in 2010 to 18th in 2011 to 12th last season.

Since Tabor’s arrival from the Chicago Bears in 2011, the Browns’ special teams have seen considerable improvement, especially in the area of kick coverage. He played a key role in helping the team to overcome a pair of major hardships two seasons ago, with the season-ending Achilles injury to punter Reggie Hodges at the start of training camp and the shockingly poor performance of long-snapper Ryan Pontbriand, before he was replaced.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/browns_daily, Twitter.com/viccarucci, e-mail: Daily@ClevelandBrowns.com, or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Busy days in Berea

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 18, 2013 – 11:18 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

Excuse me as I try and catch my breath.

It seemed like only yesterday that the Browns were making a major announcement: the hiring of Norv Turner, who has 14 years of NFL head-coaching experience, as their offensive coordinator.

Wait. That was only yesterday.

And as we fully began to digest that development, we awoke today to the hiring of Michael Lombardi as the Browns’ vice president-player personnel.

And before we had a chance to get a handle on the rest of the day, we learned the Browns had named Ray Horton their defensive coordinator.

So much news in such a short period of time.

Roll the cameras in the television studio. Turn on the microphones in the “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford” studio. Scrambling, scrambling, and more scrambling by those of us who provide you the media content for this team.

But that’s what happens during an offseason of change within an NFL team. Virtually every day brings something new.

And time is of the essence.

The Browns could not afford to be casual about finding replacements for the top three spots on their coaching staff, beginning with the selection of Rob Chudzinski as their head coach only 11 days after the dismissal of Pat Shurmur.

The two most important hires on his staff – offensive and defensive coordinator – had to be made quickly, especially with several other teams filling coaching openings.

It was vital that the Browns were able to swoop in and grab Turner, who has overseen highly productive offenses and quarterbacks through 38 seasons of coaching, shortly after he had been fired as head coach of the Chargers because other clubs had him on their radar.

The same was true for Horton, who had spent the previous two seasons as defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals and who has 19 years of NFL coaching experience on top of 10 seasons spent as a defensive back in the league. In 2012, Horton’s defense led the NFL in passer rating allowed (71.2) and interception percentage (4.4), ranked second in the league with 22 interceptions and third-down efficiency (32.9 percent), and fourth with 33 takeaways.

He ran a 3-4 base defensive scheme in Arizona. Former Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron has used a 4-3 alignment the past two seasons. Some transition will likely be needed for incumbent linemen and linebackers, although most teams tend to incorporate elements of both looks and most players have had exposure to both at the professional and/or collegiate level.

“With the additions of Ray and Norv, and also by retaining (special-teams coordinator) Chris (Tabor), we believe we have outstanding leaders and teachers in each of our three phases,” Chudzinski said. “I feel as though we are off to a great start in our plan of putting together an outstanding coaching staff.”

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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