As I watched the Cleveland Browns press conference with the formal announcement naming Rob Chudzinski as the team’s new head coach, I couldn’t help but think this was a great hire for the team. The presser itself was non-descript, there were a lot of cliched remarks and generic answers tossed about. There was no discussion about personnel moves or possible hires for the coaching staff, but Chudzinski’s comments struck a chord with me.
Chudzinski said he wanted to play opportunistic defense, forcing turnovers and getting after the opposing quarterbacks. He stated that the offense would be a down field passing attack balanced with a power running game. What else was he going to say?
What got my attention however, were the comments from the Toledo native about growing up as a Browns fan. He made an immediate connection to the Browns fanbase. He said he grew up playing in the back yard wearing his Ozzie Newsome and Brian Sipe jersey while playing football in the back yard. He mentioned that he and his friends would turn the television around to show through the window so they could sit outside in the snow and pretend they were at the stadium while watching the games. He even said he’d eaten a dog biscuit or two.
Holy cow. Did the Browns just hire the NFL’s version of Drew Carey, Cleveland’s number one cheerleader?
Losing has been a way of life for the Browns. Since 2010, the Browns have won the least number of games in the NFL despite having one of the most loyal fanbases.
Chudzinski did a remarkable job with the Carolina Panthers offense. In 2011, his offense set team records, racking up over 6,300 yards on the ground. They had 90 plays of 20 or more yards. The Panthers scored 49 touchdowns. Granted, Brandon Weeden is not Cam Newton, but he should get this offense rolling.
According to multiple reports, Norv Turner will be hired as the team’s offensive coordinator. While not a particularly successful head coach, Turner is regarded as an excellent offensive coordinator.
Cleveland fans should be happy today. Sure, you didn’t land Chip Kelly, but I never thought he was a great fit for the Browns anyway. Instead, you are getting a head coach that lands his first job with the team he grew up rooting for. I think it’s a perfect fit. I’m expecting some vast improvement from the Browns next season.