After going through the Cleveland Browns’ three-day minicamp, six-time Pro Bowl left tackle
The reason for the accelerated learning curve?
When the Browns made Thomas the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, he worked with Chudzinski, who was the team’s offensive coordinator at the time.
“It’s the same offense,” Thomas said following the third and final practice Thursday. “Norv’s the offensive coordinator, but when Chud was here as the offensive coordinator, he learned from Norv and brought Norv’s stuff here. It’s pretty similar. There’s obviously a few things that have changed, just like football in general. It changes every year, even if it is the same offense. It kind of evolves. There’s a few nuances that are going to be different.”
When Chudzinski was the offensive coordinator in 2007, Thomas anchored an offensive line that gave running back Jamal Lewis the space to run for 1,304 yards and nine scores, and quarterback Derek Anderson enough time to complete 298 passes for 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns, and earn an invitation to the Pro Bowl.
“When Chud was here the first time, there was an emphasis on getting back and getting the ball out,” Thomas said. “You’ve got to have a quarterback and a system that gets rid of the ball because no matter who you have blocking, you can’t block for six or seven seconds every time. From what we had last time, there was a good emphasis on getting the ball out, so hopefully that will be consistent.”
Thomas said the utilization of the shotgun formation is “good for me” as an offensive lineman because it increases the tempo with which the offense operates.
“Anything that’s going to help the quarterback make his reads quicker and get the ball out faster is good for me,” Thomas said. “When a quarterback’s under center, he’s got to go further to get back into his drop. He’s got to take the ball from under center, and a lot of times, they take their eyes off the defense, which leads to a little bit slower reading of a defense, and that leads to getting the ball out slower. Anything that we can do to help our quarterbacks make their reads and get the ball out quicker is a good thing for the offensive line.”