Norv Turner, the new offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, expressed his level of enthusiasm about joining the team during his introductory press conference at the team’s Berea training facility on Wednesday morning.
“I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Cleveland Browns with new ownership, new leadership in all areas,” Turner said. “Certainly, my relationship with Rob (Chudzinski) is a big part of the reason I wanted to be here. In talking to Rob, I think the excitement of what’s happening here in Cleveland, it got to me.”
Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski wanted to bring Turner into the fold in Cleveland after the two worked together in San Diego. Chudzinski first served as Turner’s tight ends coach from 2005-06. Later, he mentored the tight ends and was assistant head coach from 2009-10.
“Norv has been one of the best coaches in this league for a long time, and I’m extremely excited for him to be here as our offensive coordinator,” Chudzinski said. “Our offensive philosophies, in working together and knowing him, mesh very well. I’m excited about us putting together and pulling from things I’ve done in the last few years and things Norv has done.
“Norv will be calling the plays. I’ll be involved in that process and be overseeing that as well, and involved in the offense. Norv will also be coaching the quarterbacks, which based on his history and past, the great quarterbacks that he’s been around and developed throughout the years, I think that will be a real asset for us.”
Turner has a clear direction for what he wants the Browns’ offense to look like.
“Offensively, you want to be a team that is exciting,” Turner said. “You want to be a team that fans love to watch. If you’re going to be that type of team, obviously, you have to be able to score points; you have to be able to make explosive plays, big plays. You have to be a team that plays fast, plays hard, plays physical. It will show that our guys like to play football. That is something that has always been conveyed in the way we play the game. I’m excited to be here and certainly excited to work with Rob.”
The Browns finished the 2012 season with 27 of the 53 members of the active roster having two or fewer years of NFL experience. Being around a roster of young players is nothing new to Turner. When he served as the offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, he coached a young group of offensive players that would later become known as “The Triplets,” quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith and wide receiver Michael Irvin.
Led by Aikman, Turner’s offense propelled the Cowboys to back-to-back Super Bowl championships in the early 1990s. Smith finished his career as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, and he, Aikman and Irvin have all earned the game’s ultimate individual honor: induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Having that young roster was something that “was exciting” to Turner.
“When I started talking to Rob and looked at personnel, Rob and I have been fortunate to be with young players and been able to develop young players,” Turner said. “We’ll look at what the guys do best and find a way to give them opportunities to do that. Hopefully, they can continue to grow as players. That’s what you’re trying to do with young players, allow them to get better and grow.”
Richardson, who played at the same high school Smith attended in Pensacola, Fla., equaled or broke six Browns rookie records in 2012. He rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns on 267 carries. He caught 51 passes for 367 yards and one touchdown. His 12 total touchdowns, 1,317 total yards and 72 points scored were also Browns records for rookies.
“I always compare production more than types of players, and I got to see Trent first-hand,” Turner said. “He made an amazing, explosive run against us in that game here in October. He’s an impressive young player, and I’ve been fortunate, through most of my stops, to have outstanding running backs, great running backs, guys who have character. I’ve been able to coach five backs that have led the NFL in rushing. That experience will help me in terms of understanding what we need to do.”