After two weeks of searching, the Cleveland Browns made a shocking decision late Thursday night: they hired Rob Chudzinski to be their new head coach.
This comes just hours after it was reported that former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt had interviewed with the team for a second time. Regardless, it is Chudzinski – entering his third tenure in the Browns organization – who will be coming to Cleveland.
It is also being reported at this time that Chudzinski will likely bring in former Chargers head coach Norv Turner to be his offensive coordinator. The two know each other from Chudzinski’s two stints in San Diego as the tight ends coach/assistant head coach.
Chudzinski isn’t necessarily a bad hire. No one is ever a bad hire before ever stepping onto the field for a regular season game (I’ll pause for any Pat Shurmur jokes you may have). The fact that he is very familiar with the organization is even a bit of a plus. So is his work with the Carolina Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton over the past two seasons.
Even his first season with the Browns could get you excited. Remember 2007? The Browns had the eighth-ranked offense and sent four offensive players to the Pro Bowl in quarterback Derek Anderson, wide receiver Braylon Edwards, tight end Kellen Winslow and, of course, left tackle Joe Thomas. As you know, the wheels fell off the wagon in 2008, but Chudzinski gave Browns fans one of their few looks at a real winner since the team’s return in 1999.
Maybe that was enough for the Browns to bring him back. Maybe he can work some magic again with a quarterback similar to Anderson (Brandon Weeden). Maybe this fails miserably and the Browns are starting over in three years.
This is a tough one to peg, but the potential is intriguing.