Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – There is little time for new head coach Rob Chudzinski to get his feet wet.
Since being named the 14th full time head coach in franchise history – and 6th since 1999 – Chudzinski has jumped head first into the roster evaluation pool because he knows time is not on their side.
With free agency set to begin on March 12 and the draft April 25-27, Chudzinski and the Browns have a tremendous amount of decisions to make in advance of those dates when it comes to personnel.
“That’s what the evaluation process is,” Chudzinski said. “It’s going through and looking at guys and projecting them. ‘Hey this guy can be this, at the end of the day this guy can be that type of player,’ and then does that fit in scheme-wise and what we can do to adjust scheme-wise to anybody we’re talking about in that.”
Wednesday, following the introduction of Norv Turner as offensive coordinator, Chudzinski tried to answer questions about projecting needs without actually knowing the answers himself.
As has been the case for the last 14 seasons, who will be the starting quarterback is atop the list.
“This whole process, it will be No. 1,” Chudzinski said. “Certainly that position is a critical position in the offense and we’ll be going through that early on in that evaluation process.”
Since 1999, the Browns have had 18 different starters – 11 different starters on opening day, including each of the last 5 years but Brandon Weeden isn’t the only question offensively that needs answered.
“It’s with the whole offense and looking at all the people,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll do that collectively, individually. The position coaches are going to go through their [positions] when I can get them in place, they’ll be going through their individual positions. Norv obviously will be looking at everybody.
“We’ll sit down collectively and discuss that and go through that process of doing that at every position.”
There are just as many questions on the other side of the ball.
It’s widely assumed that new defensive coordinator Ray Horton will switch from the 4-3 to a 3-4.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Chudzinski said. “We’re going to work with the personnel we have and really analyze the roster and make sure that we’re utilizing those guys like we said and putting them in the best position. So as we’re doing that during the course of the next few weeks as we’re doing that those decisions will be made.”
At first glance, Chudzinski likes the majority of the defensive personnel that are here and doesn’t envision having to completely gut that side of the roster.
“There’s some flexibility with the 4-3, 3-4 and again just to reiterate what I’ve said before, so much nowadays whether you’re in sub or nickel personnel or whether you’re in base, people are playing both,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll work through whether it’s going to be 4-3, 3-4 in base. Ray can do anything. He can coach any of those different schemes and we’re going to utilize a little bit of everything.
“I think the word hybrid is used. I don’t know if that’s the accurate term but there will be 3-4 principles and 4-3 principles in the defense.”