In the eyes of Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner, consistency is the key to effective performance on the football field.
Although the coaches know it is difficult to have a starting lineup remain healthy throughout a physically demanding 16-game season, Turner could not have predicted the Browns would have to start three different quarterbacks and lose their starting running back in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts leading up to the Week Three game at Minnesota.
But despite all of the changes, the Browns went into Gillette Stadium and led the New England Patriots for most of last Sunday’s game.
“The biggest thing is you’ve got guys that have had constant change,” Turner said Thursday. “You’re trying to keep guys on the same page. When you go against a team and things match up the way they did against New England and the way they did against Jacksonville, then, I think you have a chance to make a lot of plays.
“There’s some teams you may not match up as well against where their scheme may be harder on you, and it stresses everybody a little bit more. This is truly a week-to-week game.”
In addition to having a consistent lineup at the skill positions, Turner believes protecting the football is an important part of leading a team to victory.
“Each guy’s different, so you’re trying to get things done, and then, we’re still getting everyone on the same page and being able to execute what we’re doing,” Turner said. “Each of the quarterbacks do have their differences.
“The biggest thing we did Sunday was we eliminated negative plays. We moved the ball in almost every game, made big plays in almost every game. In the games where we haven’t turned the ball over, we’ve been in the game and had a chance to win the game. When we’ve turned the ball over, we’ve given ourselves no chance.”
Despite being limited in last Wednesday’s practice while still recovering from a concussion suffered in a 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 24, quarterback
“We’ve seen him go out and play on a high level,” Turner said. “There’s no question he’s capable of doing that, and it’s nice to see him have the opportunity to go do it. To me, it still starts with the supporting cast around him. We had one sack and one other hit, but not a lot of pressure other than that. And he had two nice runs when he couldn’t find an open guy. When you get everyone playing on the same page and playing together, it helps the quarterback. The way he played, it helped everyone else.
“He was really sharp, and as he said, he felt really good physically. That’s what you hope you have with a veteran player, a 30-year old player, a 31-year old player that’s played as many games as he has. That’s what you want in veteran players, that they can come in and play with limited practice time because that’s part of being a player in this league. There’s no question he was very, very sharp.”