Cleveland Browns Coaching Changes & Scheme Changes

NFL Coaching Changes and Anticipated Scheme Changes

There is only one constant in the NFL, and that’s change. For the third consecutive year, 25% of the league’s teams will enter the season with different head coaches — and that doesn’t include Sean Payton, who returns to the head coaching ranks after a one-year suspension. Seven of the eight new head coaching hires are from the offensive side of the ball, emphasizing the NFL’s continued transition to an offensive-friendly environment. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars opted to hire from the defensive side of the ball (Gus Bradley).

As if that weren’t enough change, consider that 27 of the league’s 64 offensive and defensive coordinators were replaced. Including the head coaching changes, 37% of the NFL’s most important coaching positions are different from a season ago. Thinking about this another way, there are only 13 teams that return the same head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators:

The NFL is both a cyclical league and one prone to copy cats. When something works for a team, you can be sure other teams will look to duplicate that success; and it doesn’t always work. Not every iteration of the West Coast offense enjoyed the success of the Bill Walsh 49ers. Not every version of Dick LeBeau’s zone-blitz stopped opposing quarterbacks. With that in mind, today’s trends including the zone-read, spread attacks and no huddle approaches will have a mix of successes and failures. That’s the very nature of the league as success only comes with the confluence of great coaching, great players and health.

We will detail each team’s major coaching changes and the schematic implications of those hires. We will update and post our views throughout the preseason as more information is made available in training camp and the preseason.

Today we take a look at the Cleveland Browns

• Head Coach: Rob Chudzinski (replaces Pat Shurmur)
• Offensive Coordinator: Norv Turner (replaces Brad Childress)
• Defensive Coordinator: Ray Horton (replaces Dick Jauron)

What to expect on offense:

All due respect to outgoing coaches Pat Shurmur and Brad Childress, but the Browns may have hit the offensive jackpot with the additions of Rob Chudzinksi and Norv Turner. The third time is apparently the charm for Chudzinski, who returns to Cleveland for his third coaching stint, spending a year (2004) as the tight ends coach and then two seasons (2007-2008) as offensive coordinator. Most recently Chudzinksi was credited with Cam Newton’s meteoric rise in his first two seasons in Carolina. The Browns were smart to add a seasoned offensive coordinator in Norv Turner, who should provide a perfect complement to Chudzinski as he faces the challenges of his first season as an NFL head coach. Turner is one of the most respected offensive minds in the league, and many believe he’s far more effective as a coordinator than head coach.

Chudzinski is giving all play-calling duties to Turner, although the young head coach plans on having significant input on game day. Both Turner and Chudzinski are from the Don Coryell school of offense, which exposes an aggressive, downfield passing attack (yards in bunches) coupled with a committed, power rushing game. Turner has coached some of the best running backs in modern history, and should be a boon for RB Trent Richardson. QB Brandon Weeden has a lot to prove, but Browns fans are hoping that this system can do for Weeden what it did for journeyman Derek Anderson in 2007. Under Chudzinski’s tutelage, Anderson passed for nearly 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns, leading the Browns to 10 wins.

What to expect on defense:

Ray Horton is perceived as a future NFL head coach, and could go a long way in cementing that perception if he can turn around a Browns defense that ranked 19th in points and 23rd in yards allowed. Horton served as the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator in 2011-2012, and will transfer the same scheme and approach to the Browns. Horton, a former Steelers assistant, is an unabashed disciple of Dick LeBeau’s attacking 3-4 defensive front, using zone blitzes to confuse and harass opposing quarterbacks. There may be growing pains early in the season as the Browns defensive players are being asked to play the polar opposite approach than they were under former DC Dick Jauron; but long-term, Horton’s intensity and style should serve the organization well.

Next Up: The Dallas Cowboys

About the author: Dennis is an award-winning handicapper, and is regarded as one of the nations most respected race and sports handicappers since 1981. Dennis owns Gridiron Gold, Gridiron Gold Sheet ,Horse Race Tip Sheets. and his daily Free Horse Race Tips. You can buy Dennis’ Del Mar and Saratoga Tip Sheets in this website and his Gridiron Gold Sheet Football Newsletter. This year, Dennis’ is giving away the first two weeks of the Gridiron Gold Sheet NFL Preseason newsletter absolutely free. Check it out, and if you like what you see, order at early bird prices.

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