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.

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