One day before the Cleveland Browns report to training camp, offensive coordinator Norv Turner and defensive coordinator Ray Horton spoke with the local media. Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal was kind enough to not only post videos of the mini Q&A sessions, but to transcribe a large percentage of the audio as well. Let's start with Horton:
Ray Horton Summary
AHHH! What happened to the dreads? That was the first thing that stood out when everyone saw Horton, who was quick to poke fun at several media members, saying, "unlike four guys here, my hair will grow back." Horton said he had the dreads for seven years, and just felt like it was time for a change of pace.
Yesterday, I was a little surprised that Rob Chudzinski did not mention inside linebacker as one of the position battles in camp. After Horton called Craig Robertson his "ace in the hole," also saying that "he's an instinctive, hungry player, and sometimes players like that fall through the cracks."
The praise was there for outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard as well. Horton described his transition from defensive end to outside linebacker as "fantastic," and that he was "one of the surprises of OTAs and minicamp." As for the fuss being made about
Barkevious Mingo's weight, you have to love Horton's take when he says, "I’m not going to say a thing to him about his weight. I want a football player. Now whether he plays 235, 241, 239, I guarantee he’s going to lose weight out here tomorrow with all this heat."
While Horton was quick to praise the linebackers, he was significantly more reserved about the competition at cornerback and free safety. Regarding Johnson Bademosi, Horton seemed to indicate that he is more of a versatile role-player type of candidate on defense:
"He’ll be a nickel candidate. He’s one of those players that I’m talking about position flexibility. Can he do multiple things? He’s making good progress, not great progress, good progress of assimilating calls, responsibilities."
When asked about Kerry Rhodes, Horton also said that it would be naive for him to act like he isn't aware of who the free agent safety is, but that they are committed to their roster heading into camp tomorrow and have backup plans in the event something arises. It doesn't sound like he's in the plans.
Lastly, Horton said that he loves position flexibility at any position on the roster, and that he wouldn't put a number on how many players need to be carried at a certain position heading into the regular season. Read more from Ulrich's write-up here.
Norv Turner Summary
Some fans have questioned whether the load should be lighter on Trent Richardson this year in training camp, but Turner cautioned that he will go through the same type of workout and drills that everybody else on the team does.
"When I started this thing off, you have to put a lot of time in. It takes a lot of work to be ready to play in this league. He needs to go through the same process everyone else does."
The fullback position always gets more discussion than necessary in Cleveland, and of course, Turner's answer about the position was one of the hot topics on Twitter (among Browns fans) after he was done. Turner said the team would carry a traditional fullback:
We will end up, I believe, we will end up with a traditional fullback in our offense and how much we'll use him will depend on the style of offense we end up running.
There is still some room for ambiguity there, though, based on the definition of a "traditional fullback." Turner can twist that into meaning a player taking on multiple roles, like Alex Smith did for the Browns at the end of 2012. When asked if Chris Ogbonnaya could fulfill that type of role, Turner didn't rule it out.
Steve Doerschuk pointed out that Turner said he will be in the booth this year,, because they prefer having one high (Turner) and one low (Rob Chudzinski) on gameday. Both are offensive-minded coaches. Cleveland had a similar setup last year with Brad Childress and Pat Shurmur, except that both guys pale in comparison to the offensive minds of our current staff.
Turner was far less interesting than Horton, but that says more about Horton than it does Turner. To read more quotes from Turner via Ulrich, go here.