At least the media reports were right all along about this one.
With his Hawaii vacation likely over, the Cleveland Browns announced that former San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner will serve as the team's offensive coordinator under Rob Chudzinski. The team announced six staff-related moves in total, all of which are summarized below:
- Norv Turner - Offensive Coordinator (New): Turner replaces Brad Childress, who only lasted one season as the Browns' offensive coordinator under former head coach Pat Shurmur. Turner's incentive for coming to Cleveland was his previous working relationship with Chudzinski; Chudzinski was the assistant head coach to Turner from 2009-2010.
What I get from Turner is this: he is known as a brilliant-minded offensive coach, but was terrible in game-management as a head coach. Assuming he calls the plays, I really like this move. I know assembling a staff is not a necessity to becoming a head coach, but I really like who Chudzinski was able to bring in versus some of the other guys. Case in point: would you rather have Turner or Doug Pederson as your offensive coordinator?
- Scott Turner - Wide Receivers Coach (New): Usually, I refer to people by their last name. Because Scott is Norv's son, I will refer to him as "Scott" to avoid confusion. Scott replaces Mike Wilson as the team's receivers coach, a position he had held since Shurmur took over. Scott joined the NFL ranks in 2011 as the Panthers' offensive quality control coach, so this is a step up and presumably a new experience for him. Working under his father should provide for a amicable relationship in coordinating things, though.
- Brad Roll - Strength and Conditioning Coach (New): Roll replaces Kent Johnston, who had been with the Browns since 2010 (before Shurmur). Roll previously worked with Chudzinski in the early 90's at the University of Miami as their strength and conditioning coach. He held that same position with the Buccaneers, Dolphins, Bills, Rams, and Raiders over the next decade or so. Last year, he was the assistant strength and conditioning coach at USC. Now, he's back in the NFL again.
- Mike Sullivan - Offensive Line Coach (New): According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Browns are opting to go with two offensive line coaches, although George Warhop will still "take the lead" between the two. If Sullivan's name sounds familiar, it should. He has had two stints with the Browns as an assistant offensive line coach, from 2001-2004, and from 2007-2008. From 2009 onward, he served as the Chargers' offensive line coaches. The connections to Chudzinski are pretty evident there.
- George Warhop - Offensive Line Coach (Retained): As previously reported, Warhop will stay with the Browns after coaching a unit that appears to be one of the most promising young lines in the NFL. Warhop has been with the Browns since 2009, but had no apparent connections to Chudzinski.
- Chris Tabor - Special Teams Coach (Retained): There was a time when people would have laughed hysterically if you had told them that Tabor would be one of two retained coaches from the Pat Shurmur era. Tabor's unit rebounded toward the end of 2012, and the Browns will be represented by special teamers at two of four special teams positions in the AFC (Phil Dawson & Joshua Cribbs).
In announcing the moves, Chudzinski made the following statement:
"I am very excited about the coaches we have been able to add to our staff thus far," said Chudzinski. "I have worked with Norv, Mike, Scott and Brad previously and know the quality of coaches and teachers that they are, and how much our players will benefit from their presence.
"Norv has been one of the most respected offensive coaches in the NFL over the last 25-30 years, and he has had a tremendous amount of success at each one of his stops – as a position coach, coordinator and head coach. I was able to learn a great deal in the time that I worked for him in San Diego, and I expect that having him as our offensive coordinator will make a big impact on that side of the ball.
"After sitting down and getting to know both Chris and George, I was extremely impressed with the type of coaches and men that they are. Not only was this special teams group vastly improved from the previous season, but special teams became one of the top units in the league last year. George played an integral role in helping to shape a young unit that I feel made great strides last year, and which has the potential to get even better. The continuity we have been able to create by retaining Chris and George will be big pluses in both of their respective areas."
Assuming the Browns don't retain any other staff members, they still have a lot of positions to fill, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. We'll probably have to wait for a defensive coordinator to be named until we have some of the other assistant coaches brought in.