Aggressive, offensive-minded coach right pick

Posted by Vic Carucci on January 11, 2013 – 4:30 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

In the end, going with an aggressive, offensive-minded head coach made the most sense for the Cleveland Browns.

And that is Rob Chudzinski’s football calling card.

Does he have the big, splashy name? No.

But this is what Chudzinski, whom the Browns hired on Thursday night, does have:

>>The belief that a passing attack should be exactly that – an attack.

>>The belief that an offense needs to constantly seek big plays through the air.

>>The belief that stretching the field is the best way to thwart a defense and provide the surest path to victory in the pass-happy NFL.

When Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and chief executive officer Joe Banner talked on Dec. 31 about finding the “right guy” to replace Pat Shurmur as head coach, those were the core traits they had in mind.

They were looking for someone who – besides being a strong leader, tough-minded, and detail-oriented – could get the most out of the foundation of young, explosive players already in place and those who will no doubt be added via the draft and free agency.

They were looking for someone precisely like Chudzinski, who had been the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers and who previously held that job with the Browns.

The part of his resume that says it all about the sort of impact he can have is this: Chudzinski oversaw the best offense the Browns have had since returning to Cleveland in 1999. That came during the 2007 season, when the Browns generated 5,621 total yards, 3,726 passing yards, 402 points, and 10 victories.

There is every reason to believe Chudzinski can make the same thing happen again.

In ’07, he had Derek Anderson as his quarterback, squeezing more out of his skills than anyone could imagine.

If the Browns stick with Brandon Weeden for a second season, Chudzinski is more than capable of helping their first-round pick last year take major forward steps. And if they don’t, he has the capacity to have success with yet another quarterback.

Chudzinski’s style is to adapt to the talent of his players, and put them in the best position to produce.

In Carolina, he helped Cam Newton, the top overall pick of the 2011 draft, become the first rookie in league history to throw for 4,000 yards. Along the way, Newton set an NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 14 and was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year.

What could Chudzinski do with Trent Richardson? Consider that, also in 2011, the Panthers became the first team in league history with three 700-yard rushers in DeAngelo Williams (836), Jonathan Stewart (761), and Newton (706).

Those are, indeed, the credentials of the “right guy” to lead the Browns.

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