Going through three starting quarterbacks because of injuries and production.
Trading the starting running back to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Having to play three division leaders, including two on the road in the first nine weeks of the season.
The Cleveland Browns have been through a lot of challenges during the first nine weeks of the 2013 regular season, but coach Rob Chudzinski has been a steady leader for the team in the face of adversity.
Despite the obstacles, Chudzinski has led the team to a 4-5 record, and because of that, the Browns not only find themselves in second place in the AFC North Division, but also, only two games behind the front-running Cincinnati Bengals, whom they play after their bye at Paul Brown Stadium on Nov. 17.
“I think he’s done a great job, from the beginning, of laying the ground work, a foundation; then, letting guys know what he expects,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said of Chudzinski. “If you’re up front and tell them what you expect right from the beginning, then, as you go through the year, they respond to you. This team has responded to Chud in a great way.”
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton described Chudzinski’s ability to lead the team as “outstanding.”
“I think it’s one of those unwritten and unmeasureable things of doing too much or not doing enough and when did you say something or when do you take the pedal off,” Horton said. “For us to be where we’re sitting at with everything that has gone on, I think he’s done a remarkable job.
“He’s been a blessing. Because of how the situations have gone on this year with everything from starting and changing of culture and handling trades and personnel and halftime, it’s nice to watch and I think he’s done a fantastic job. You try to be a better coach. This week is good for us because we can sit back and evaluate what we’ve done, how do we get better. We ask our players to do it and I’ve also looked at my calls and how I talked to the players and what we do and trying to help them and help myself be a better coach.”
In addition to earning the respect and admiration of his coordinators, Chudzinski’s leadership abilities have garnered the attention of his former University of Miami teammate, Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, who was at the team’s Berea training facility on Wednesday.
“I told Coach Chudzinski a few years ago, when we were with him in Carolina, ‘Hey man, your time is coming. With what you’re doing, you’re going to get an opportunity. You’re going to get an opportunity, and I know you’re going to do well,’” Irvin recalled. “He loves the game. He knows the game and he understands the most important thing: ‘In order to get everything out of the men that I am leading, I have to make sure the men know that I don’t just care about them professionally, but that I care about them personally.’
“When you show a man you care about his person, he’ll give you everything. He’ll start making that commitment to you, and that’s the important thing. That’s why I know he’s going to be a huge success in this league. What he’s doing right now with this team, I think is an incredible job. To go through three quarterbacks in this league, trade Trent Richardson and still win games? Come on, man. Say what you want, but that speaks for itself.”