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Turner finds fun in prep work

Posted Sep 26, 2013

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner enjoys the preparation that goes into a game week.

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner finds great joy in preparing a group of men for a NFL game, and he especially enjoyed the fruits of their labor after last week’s 31-27, come-from-behind victory against the Minnesota Vikings.

In preparing the Browns’ offense last week, Turner worked with a new starting quarterback, as Cleveland native Brian Hoyer stepped in for Brandon Weeden, who suffered a sprained right thumb in the team’s 14-6 loss at the Baltimore Ravens two weeks ago, and threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score with less than a minute to play.

“He was exciting,” Turner said of Hoyer. “It was fun getting ready. It was a lot of work during the week. He put a lot of work in to get ready. It’s hard to get ready for a week against Minnesota. They have a very good pass rush and they’ve been very disruptive, but they had given up big plays, so that was the thought, that we could get some big plays, and I thought Brian took advantage of it. He tends to make real quick decisions, and it got him in trouble a couple times, but I think that will go away in time.

“We’re getting him ready to go play, do the best he can do, and give ourselves the best chance to win. The great thing, and the thing that has everyone excited is when you go win a game in the last two minutes of the game. You score with 50 seconds left, that’s exciting, and those are traits you want in a quarterback.”

Part of the challenge, and part of Turner’s fun involves getting on the same page with his signal-caller, and installing a plan of attack for the offense as a whole.

“You communicate and get to find things he’s comfortable with, things that we want him to do,” Turner said. “It changes schematically because we’re getting ready to play a really good team. It’s in our division, and it’s a lot different than Minnesota. You’re spending more time on preparing for Cincinnati, and trying to work on the finer points of playing the position.”

Hoyer was a quick study when it came to utilizing the Browns’ tight ends. Hoyer found third-year tight end Jordan Cameron five times for 47 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning, seven-yard score against the Vikings.

Cameron leads the team with 20 catches for 269 yards and four touchdowns.

“I just like the consistency,” Turner said of Cameron. “I think that was a concern in the spring, and people talked about me getting to know him. Is he a consistent guy? Is he a guy that can show up and do it? Right now, he’s done that for three games. He creates problems for defensive players. He was being covered by a very good defensive player for Minnesota on three or four of his plays, so it’s not like it was easy.”

In addition to breaking in a new starting quarterback in Hoyer and the emergence of Cameron, Turner and the Browns got a boost with the return of wide receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon returned to the lineup after serving a league-mandated two-game suspension and caught 10 passes for 146 yards and one touchdown against the Vikings.

“It was nice to have Josh there,” Turner said. “It was good to get the work and practice with him last week. You go into a game like that, and Minnesota wasn’t so sure how we were going to use him, what we were going to do, and there were a lot of opportunities there. I thought Brian did a good job of getting the ball to him. It was one of those games with the way things came up, and it was good for Josh.”

After seeing the Browns’ offense perform at a high level against the Vikings, Turner has focused his efforts in practice on developing consistency.

“I always tell them, ‘When you have opportunities, make the most of them because you don’t know how every game’s going to come up,’” Turner said. “We put each player’s number on the board and figure out how we’re going to get them involved in the game plan.

“You need every guy playing at that level, operating at that level in the huddle, breaking the huddle and knowing what’s going on. You talk about the addition of Josh Gordon. The guys have made improvements in week one, week two and week three, and the guys up front played they’ve played. There were a bunch of guys that played the best they’ve played, and the addition of Josh and the way Brian played, it adds up.”