The Cleveland Browns officially announced the hiring of five assistant coaches on Thursday and confirmed that their coaching staff for the 2013 season is now complete. The final major hiring we were waiting on was a linebackers coach. As it turns out, the Browns did not hire a general linebackers coach. Instead, they hired an inside linebackers coach, a role that will be filled by Ken Flajole, a guy with 36 years of coaching experience. Here is a summary of the five moves announced:
- Ken Flajole - Inside Linebackers Coach: In terms of his recent roles, the last time Flajole was a linebackers coach was from 2003-2008, when he was with the Carolina Panthers. From 2009-2011, Flajole was the defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams (he was the defensive counterpart to Pat Shurmur when he was the Rams' offensive coordinator). Last year, Flajole served as the secondary coach for the New Orleans Saints. He does not appear to have a distinct previous connection to new Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
- John Settle - Running Backs Coach: We reported on the hiring of Settle earlier in the day on Thursday. He was the Panthers' running backs coach for the past couple of years, hence the connection to Rob Chudzinski.
- Chris DiSanto - Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach: We caught wind of Chris DiSanto-to-the-Browns last week, but the team didn't acknowledge the hiring until today. DiSanto previously worked under strength and conditioning coach Brad Roll with the Oakland Raiders.
- Derik Keyes - Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach: I didn't expect the Browns to have two assistant strength and conditioning coaches, but that's what the team ended up doing. Keyes held the same position with the Houston Texans last year, where he, "assisted in the supervision of weight training and focused on the speed and agility development of players on injured reserve."
Steve Gera - Special Assistant to the Head Coach: Gera is familiar with both Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner, considering he spent the last six years as an offensive assistant coach with the San Diego Chargers. He reportedly "assisted the coaching staff with scouting and film breakdown."
Chudzinski released a statement commenting on the hirings:
"The additions of Ken and John, as well as Chris, Derik and Steve, round out what I believe is an extremely strong group of coaches with diverse backgrounds, covering many years of experience at both the NFL and collegiate levels," said Browns Head Coach Rob Chudzinski. "They are all outstanding teachers and leaders who will bring out the best in our players.
"Ken is a highly regarded coach with an extensive résumé in the NFL. He has achieved success as a position coach and coordinator in the league. Like other members of our defensive staff, he has experience working in several different schemes, an attribute which will be valuable as we develop the Browns’ defense. I have been with John the last two years in Carolina, and know first-hand the type of coach that he is. His players have always been productive and respond well to his teaching methods."
With all of the hirings now complete, here is the final look at the 2013 coaching staff for the Cleveland Browns:
Head Coach: Rob Chudzinski
Special Assistant to the Head Coach: Steve Gera
Offensive Coordinator: Norv Turner
Quarterbacks: Norv Turner
Running Backs: John Settle
Wide Receivers: Scott Turner
Tight Ends: Jon Embree
Offensive Line: George Warhop
Offensive Line: Mike Sullivan
Offensive Quality Control: Shane Steichen
Defensive Coordinator: Ray Horton
Defensive Line: Joe Cullen
Inside Linebackers: Ken Flajole
Outside Linebackers: Brian Baker
Defensive Backs: Louie Cioffi
Assistant Defensive Backs: Bobby Babich
Defensive Quality Control: Daron Roberts
Strength and Conditioning