Friday, the Cleveland Browns introduced Rob Chudzinski as their new head coach. The former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator returns to his home state with a burgeoning reputation as a successful offensive chameleon, having found success with quarterbacks as diverse as Derek Anderson and Cam Newton. That’s good news for Brandon Weeden, who showed occasional flashes of…very goodness during the season — especially with a head coach that says he wants to have a “downfield, vertical offense”. Weeden has a big enough arm to fit in that system.
First, the Browns will need to improve their wide receiver corps. Josh Gordon was a revelation in his rookie season, becoming the team’s home run threat. But like many home run threats, there’s always the fear of the strikeout and Gordon had far more disappointing games than explosive ones in 2012. Beyond that, Cleveland’s group of receivers have been a motley crew of underachievers, most notably Greg Little, whose drops and general under-performance have been a source of great frustration along the shores of Lake Erie.
Second, it’s still unknown whether Chudzinski will be the man calling the plays for the offense. Speculation has centered around Norv Turner being named Cleveland’s new offensive coordinator, which would bode well for Trent Richardson. Turner has had a stable of featured backs during his career as both an offensive coordinator and head coach — including Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson. Stephen Davis and LaMont Jordan also had career seasons playing for Turner.
Of course, as with all hires this time of year, hope springs eternal that new blood brings positive change along with it. The Browns don’t have all of the pieces yet to be an offensive juggernaut, but with Chudzinski’s history of molding his system around his players (instead of the other way around), there’s reason to believe next year’s Browns could be touch more potent on offense.
– Marcas Grant
Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG