Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner joined the team because it was a chance to again work with his former assistant, new Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, as well as with his son, Scott Turner.
The elder Turner wanted to work with Chudzinski because of his approach to running an offense.
“We’re trying to create a mindset, from an offensive standpoint, that we’re going to go attack,” Turner said. “Coach Chudzinski stood up in front of our team and if he said it once, he said it 25 times in the last seven weeks, ‘We are going to be an attacking team. We’re going to attack on defense; we’re going to attack on offense; we’re going to attack in the kicking game.’ I want to attack and I want to go, but we’ve got to get good.
“(Chudzinski) was working with Scott, my son, in Carolina, so I was in touch with a lot of things they were doing. If you merge the things we’ve done at a high level in my past with the things that Rob’s done, I think we can put together an exciting football team. We are real young, so that’s a plus. When you take a bunch of young guys, you have a chance to improve and improve at a faster rate than when you take over a team with a lot of veteran guys.”
In 2012, the Browns were the third-youngest team in the NFL, and had 87 starts among all rookies, 31 more than the Indianapolis Colts, who finished second in the league in that category.
Among those 87 starts, 46 were made combined between quarterback
“From an offensive standpoint, we have a lot of very young, talented players, guys that played quite a bit of football last year,” Turner said. “When I look at the tape, I see guys that are capable of doing things that we want to do. We have a lot of work to do. We’re going to have to work on becoming better players, and we have to work on becoming a group that can play together. Some guys have the ability to focus and zero in. That’s what we’re going to find out through this process.
“All those guys having a year together, including Brandon having a year playing, will help them a great deal. Josh has had a year. Greg Little’s had a year. Trent’s had a year. Some of the other guys have had some exposure. Jordan has gotten a little more exposure, and is now in the midst of having a good offseason. All of those things have to be what help us get better.”
In Weeden, Turner gets a quarterback who completed 297 of 517 attempts for a Browns rookie record of 3,385 yards and 14 touchdowns against 17 interceptions. In the offseason, the Browns added veterans
“I’m excited about Brandon,” Turner said. “When I put on tape, I watch what a guy does real well and then, project it into what we’re going to do. I see a lot of things that project awfully well. It’s hard being a young quarterback in this league. It’s hard being with an inexperienced guy when everyone around you is inexperienced, but I think everything Brandon went through last year will make him better.
“Getting Jason Campbell in was a nice get. He’s been around. Those two guys are the guys we’re really focusing on right now, and we’ve had great work over the last seven weeks for what we’re going to do.”
Gordon and Richardson were two of Weeden’s top three targets in 2012.
Gordon caught 50 passes and led the team with 805 yards and five touchdowns. He had a long touchdown reception of 71 yards in the Browns’ 34-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 14.
“He’s an impressive guy,” Turner said of Gordon. “He’s young. He has a lot of work to do, but he’s got a lot of ability. If you put those two things together and you just grind, as a player and a coach, I think he can be a really fine player.”
Richardson rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns on 267 carries. In 15 games, Richardson broke or equaled seven rookie records for the Browns, including rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, carries, yards from scrimmage (1,317), total touchdowns (12), points scored (72) and most 100-yard rushing games (three).
“If you want to be good on offense, you better have good players, and Trent is outstanding,” Turner said. “He’s a young player that got a taste of it last year. He had to fight through the ups and downs of being a rookie, the injuries. Hopefully, we don’t have to deal with that, and he can make that big step that guys do from year one to year two.
“If you have a guy like Trent that you can build things around, you take a lot of pressure off your offensive line; you take a lot of pressure off your quarterback, take a lot of pressure off your passing game. When you can throw when it’s your decision to throw and you’re picking where and when you want to go, it’s a lot easier than when you’re in those games where you throw it 25 times in the last 20 minutes.”