One of the first things Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski wanted to have is a football team that practiced with a game-like intensity and aggressiveness.
After the first three days of the Browns’ organized team activities, Chudzinski likes the pace to the on-field practices.
“We had a really good week, productive week,” Chudzinski said. “I’m really pleased with the tempo the guys have practiced with. Their approach, again, has been outstanding. We got a lot done this week.
“The tempo’s been pretty good. We’ve been working at a pretty good clip, and they’ve responded to that. I’ve been pleased with that. That’s the first thing. If we can create the environment of the practice situation around them, then, we’ll get the results that we want.”
One thing the Browns have done to increase the tempo at practice is by utilizing a play clock and putting less and less time on the 40-second clock before calling a play.
“It’s progressively gone down as the week has gone on, and then, we’ll get it to where they’re breaking it at 13 or 12 (seconds), and that’s a stress situation where you have to move things along quickly,” Chudzinski said. “That’s what we’re putting on those guys at quarterback.”
Chudzinski said he’s learned the importance of practicing at a high tempo from the coaches he played under and coached with, starting with his days at the University of Miami, and continuing to his career on NFL sidelines.
“Along the way, I’ve been real fortunate to be around a lot of great coaches,” Chudzinski said. “Going back to Jimmy Johnson, he was the first coach I played for in college, and through Dennis Erickson, Marty Schottenheimer, and being around (Browns offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner), Romeo (Crennel) and Ron Rivera, I’ve tried to grab a little bit from each guy, and the thing that we do want is to emphasize tempo, emphasize trying to put pressure on our guys to make it as game-like -- from them having to react to situations quickly -- as we can.”
Under Chudzinski, the structure for OTAs has consisted of bringing players in for an early lifting session and meetings with coaches. Then, after going over the corrections from the previous practice and install for the next on-field session, players head out to the field for the day’s work.
“The past three days, we’ve done that,” Chudzinski said. “Situationally, we’ve primarily been working on our first and second-down packages offensively, defensively, and then, really getting into the third downs, some shorter third downs the first day of the week, then, some medium third downs, then, some longer third downs. We’re in the process of installing those situations.
“It’s been a good week for us. It’s been good to go out on the field against each other and see guys’ execution. That’s been the focus, and really what we’re trying to work on, see the execution level after being in our phase two, which has been basically working on air the past three weeks.”