Rob Chudzinski smart not to clean house

CLEVELAND, OHIO -- At this point, the only real news about Norv Turner would have been if he had changed his mind about becoming the Browns offensive coordinator.

It seems from the moment the Browns hired Rob Chudzinski as their new head coach, word was Turner would be joining the staff to run the offense.

That was good news back then, and there's even better news now as the Browns not only officially announced Turner, they also named five other coaches.
Actually, two of them are already on the staff -- Chris Tabor and George Warhop.

This is where Chudzinski impresses, as new coaches so often want to rip up the old staff and bring in their own guys.

Warhop is a respected offensive line coach. He was hired by Eric Mangini in 2009, retained by Pat Shurmur and now has the same position with Chudzinski. The Browns added a second offensive line coach in Mike Sullivan.

The point is the Browns had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. The only member inherited by Warhop is All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas. The others came to the Browns and developed under Warhop's watch.

So when a team finally has a solid line, the last thing you do is change offensive line coaches.

And Chudzinski didn't fall into that trap.

The same with Chris Tabor, who rebounded from a rocky rookie year in 2011 to assemble one of the best special teams in 2012. Football Outsiders rated them No. 2 in the NFL, behind Baltimore.

In a casual conversation, Phil Dawson raved to me about the growth of the special teams under Tabor this season. He mentioned how it was a very young group, and Tabor had to continually make adjustments to the coverage groups.

In some ways, keeping Tabor and Warhop is nearly as important as adding Turner -- because the Browns can't keep changing everything every two years when a new head coach arrives.

But obviously, Turner is a major addition.

He has been a head coach for 15 years with three different teams. Chudzinski had worked for Turner twice, and he is wise to add this 60-year-old veteran as his mentor.

Turner was fired after a 7-9 record with San Diego, his offense ranking 31st -- yes, even below the Browns.

But the previous four years, the Chargers offense was ranked 6-1-10-11. He is respected as an offensive coordinator who had success with Dallas and some other teams.

Like Chudzinski, Turner is not married to one system.

Chudzinski had success with the stationary Derek Anderson (Browns 2007) and the athletic Cam Newton (Carolina 2011-12). Turner developed Philip Rivers into a top 10 quarterback, and has success stories going back to Troy Aikman with Dallas in the early 1990s.

It's easy to imagine Turner and Chudzinski looking at video of Brandon Weeden and asking: "OK, what does he do well? How can we make him better?"

Maybe Weeden will fail as an NFL quarterback. Or maybe he will improve next season simply because he's no longer a rookie, and experience is critical.

And maybe that West Coast Offense was not the right fit for Weeden in 2012 because it was very different from his scheme at Oklahoma State.

But this much is certain: If Weeden doesn't produce with these two coaches, he has no long-term future as a starting quarterback.

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