Reporting Daryl Ruiter
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – So far so good.
That’s how Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski views his quarterback situation with incumbent starter Brandon Weeden looking to hold onto the job this summer and fall.
“I’ve been pleased with his progress,” Chudzinski said in an interview with Bull & Fox on 92.3 The Fan Thursday afternoon. “His approach has been outstanding. We’ve been working primarily on the mental standpoint, his knowledge, his understanding of the offense and of the game. As a young player, there’s a lot of things he still has to learn as a player in this league. We’ve been working on his mechanics and speeding up his delivery and then just getting to know him and getting to know the type of person and competitor he is and how he responds.
“Ultimately it comes down to production and that’s what we will be looking for improvement in.”
RELATED: Audio – Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski with Bull and Fox on 92.3 The Fan.
Even though he likes what he’s seen from Weeden, who continues to take the first team reps this offseason, he’s not ready to commit to him this fall.
“I feel good about where we’re at right now,” Chudzinski said. “He’s been working with the first group and we’ll just see as we go forward. We’re [working] on air right now so it’s very early but I do like what I’ve see so far and we’ll see how it goes.
“Right now it’s too early to say anything one way or another.”
Veteran Jason Campbell signed a 2-year contract this offseason to back up, push and or compete with Weeden and Chudzinski left the door open for him to possibly win the starting job.
“I expect both of these guys to compete,” Chudzinski said. “I don’t know any other way. Anybody that’s on a team is competing from my standpoint. We want to put these guys in a situation, give them every chance to succeed and we’ll see how that all plays out.
“I’m hoping that the best man wins the job and that he gives us a chance to win.”
With the NFL Draft and the marquee portion of free agency in the rear view mirror, Chudzinski can look forward and begin to put the team together on paper and on the field.
The offseason program is 4 weeks old and in a little over a week they’ll begin their OTA’s or Organized Team Activities.
“I feel good about what we’ve been able to do in the offseason,” Chudzinski said. “I feel really good about the things we’ve done from a defensive standpoint and we have a lot of young players on offense.
“I’m happy that all those things are done and we can actually get started with some football.”
The focus this offseason has been defense – mainly beefing up the front 7 and pass rush with the additions of Paul Kruger and Desmond Bryant in free agency and then the selection of Barkevious Mingo with the No. 6 overall pick in the draft last weekend.
“That was the priority regardless of the scheme was to really work to generate pass rush,” Chudzinski said. “Nowadays in the NFL you have to be able to really get after the quarterback and that can help all different areas of your team.”
Dominating the line of scrimmage, and finding the players that can get it done, has become the primary focus of the organization – on both sides of the ball.
“We want to be aggressive, we want to be relentless, we want to be tough,” Chudzinski said. “We want guys that are passionate about playing football and being Browns. And playing that way.”
Regardless of who is on the field – one thing is clear – Chudzinski is focused more on fitting his system to the players he has rather than forcing it upon them.
“One of the best things that I’ve learned along the way as a coach is to be flexible with the system that you run,” Chudzinski said. “It’s not as much, you don’t worry about the plays as you do with finding the guys and things they do well; find the roles for guys that have unique abilities and talents and then fitting those systems to those guys.”
He’s done it throughout his coaching career – especially the last 2 season in Carolina with Cam Newton who forced him to write a few new chapters for the Panthers’ playbook.
Aside from fitting his systems to the existing roster, with the team coming off yet another 5-11 season, Chudzinski has wiped the slate clean for everyone.
“What I told the guys when they first came in was, ‘It doesn’t really matter what I’ve seen or heard about you,’” Chudzinski said. “‘It’s about having a fresh start and what I know of you is going to be from this day forward,’”