Since Joe Cullen became the defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns, he has come to the franchise’s facility every day excited to work with the players on the roster, and as the team conducted its first minicamp of the offseason last week, he gained an appreciation for the talent he will coach for the next eight months.
“It’s exciting to be a part of Coach (Rob) Chudzinski and Ray Horton’s new scheme here in Cleveland, but I think the face of the franchise, wherever I’ve been, college or professional ranks, has to be those guys up front,” Cullen said. “I think the likes of
“I want them to be relentless, every down, whether it’s the run, whether it’s the pass, whether it’s chasing the ball. They’ve been that, and that’s what I’m excited about.”
In studying the Browns’ games from last season, Cullen said the thing that most jumped out to him was their hustle.
“They played with great effort,” said Cullen. “Being in the league and playing against Cleveland, knowing Ahtyba and knowing Phil a little bit, knowing Billy, John and Jabaal from working with the those guys as college players getting ready for the draft, I had good appreciation for them then, but watching all 16 games, they played with really good effort, and I’m excited to be part of that.”
Cullen, a former college coach, is excited about working with the Browns’ defensive linemen because enjoys the teaching aspect of the job. In his career, 17 of the 23 years Cullen has spent on the sidelines have been as a collegiate coach. His coaching journey actually started under the direction of Jim Reid before he graduated from the University of Massachusetts.
“The spring of senior year, I wanted to help out the defensive line,” Cullen said. “I had started for four years, played defensive line. A lot of my housemates were still playing, so I was going to coach those guys. Then, our running back coach left, and Jim named me the running backs coach. I was shocked. It was right before spring practice.
“It was a great experience for me, and I still consider it one of the greatest honors, my head coach hiring me as a position coach right out of college. We were 10-0-1. The only tie was to Holy Cross, and they had won like 30 straight games. We went to the playoffs, and then, he moved me back to defensive line, where I felt comfortable, and we started 0-3. He said, ‘Maybe, I’ll keep you at running back.’ It was a great experience. That got me really into coaching.”