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.”
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