The Cleveland Browns didn’t exactly get their first choice when hiring a new head coach this offseason, eventually picking Rob Chudzinski. But when it came to hiring a new offensive coordinator, they hit it out of the park, landing Norv Turner, most recently of the San Diego Chargers.
Turner doesn’t have the best track record as a head coach, only making the playoffs in four of his 15 seasons while owning a record that’s eight games below .500 as an NFL head coach. However, being an offensive coordinator is right in Turner’s wheelhouse. He has not been able to sustain success as a head coach, but he’s always been a valuable coordinator whenever he’s held that position, which is why teams continue to show interest in him as a head coach whenever he’s available, as they are hoping to acquire Turner’s abilities as an offensive play caller.
A long time ago, in the early 90’s to be exact, Turner was the offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys when they won back-to-back Super Bowls, which propelled Turner to his first head-coaching job. Since then, Turner’s jobs as an offensive coordinator have been sparse and short-lived, but they’ve all come with rebuilding teams, just like the Browns team he is joining. Each time he’s been the offensive coordinator of a team in rebuilding mode, Turner’s performance has quickly warranted a promotion back to being a head coach, showing a good track record for working with mediocre teams and making them better.
If Turner is finished pursuing head-coaching jobs after things ended so ugly for him in San Diego, he may not be so quick to leave Cleveland, giving him a chance to run the Browns offense for a long time to come. Given the Browns offensive performance last season, it’s going to take a multi-year effort to improve them, and at this point in his career, Turner would be wise to stay in the same place for a while and take on the challenge of fixing the Cleveland offense, and if that’s the case, this hire could turn out to be even better than expected for the Browns.
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It’s also beneficial for the Browns that Turner has familiarity with Chudzinski from when Chudzinski was an assistant to Turner in San Diego for two seasons, including the 2009 season when the Chargers went 14-2. It won’t be the first time Turner will be working under a former subordinate, as he was the offensive coordinator in San Francisco in 2006 under head coach Mike Nolan, who was an assistant under Turner for three years in Washington. Turner is a veteran of the league, as well as a professional, so he won’t be bothered answering to someone younger than him, and someone that use to answer to him. In fact, being that Chudzinski was a trusted assistant of his will make Turner eager to guide Chudzinski along in his first gig as a head coach; and taking on the task of turning the Browns into a winner, Chudzinski is going to need all the help he can get.
Turner’s track record as an offensive coach and a play caller speak for themselves, and with him going to Cleveland to work with Chudzinski, the Browns have hit the jackpot in regards to hiring its new offensive coordinator. Turner was the best possible choice to run the Cleveland offense, and he will immediately give the Browns credibility, as well as a fighting chance to put together an offense that can win games next season.