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Pep Hamilton embracing role with Browns, chance to mold another QB

Pep Hamilton has a history of getting the most out of quarterbacks.

From his time with the Indianapolis Colts to Stanford to the Chicago Bears, signal callers across the country have had some of their best seasons under his tutelage.

Because of that, Hamilton — who joined the Browns last month as associate head coach, offense to work alongside head coach Hue Jackson — will be tasked once more with zeroing in on the position.

"You have an opportunity to evaluate guys and then share your opinion, but ultimately it's not my decision to make," Hamilton said Thursday, adding he'll play an active role in scouting quarterbacks during the offseason. "It's my job to help whoever we decide to make our quarterback transition into a winning quarterback."

Indeed, Hamilton's role is a part of a larger picture that includes shoring up weaknesses (such as missed opportunities in the red zone) and building upon strengths (like Pro Bowl tight end Gary Barnidge, who led the team with 79 catches for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns). Jackson, previously the offensive coordinator for the Bengals, will call plays while Hamilton described himself as a facilitator.

"We have a veteran offensive staff," Hamilton said, pointing to Jackson, senior offensive assistant/wide receivers coach Al Saunders, tight ends coach Greg Seamon, running backs coach/run game coordinator Kirby Wilson, and offensive line coach Hal Hunter. "We have guys that have a ton of expertise in a lot of different areas. I think we'll ultimately collaborate our thoughts and effort to support coach (Jackson) and whatever strategies he comes with on a week-to-week basis."

Hamilton — who was the Indianapolis offensive coordinator from 2013-14 and the first eight games of 2015 — is known for his work with quarterbacks. He helped turn Andrew Luck into one of the league's best in 2014, in which Luck led the NFL with 40 passing touchdowns and completed 62 percent of his passes for 4,761 yards.

As the Chicago quarterbacks coach from 2007-09, Hamilton helped Jay Cutler to one his best seasons, where the Bears quarterback set single-season franchise records for completions (336) and passing attempts (555) in 2009. Prior to that, Hamilton worked with former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith in 2006, when Smith became the first quarterback in franchise history to take every offensive snap through an entire season.

Perhaps the most compelling testament to Hamilton's success, though, is his work with Luck, whom he also coached at Stanford in 2010 and 2011.

"You kind of have an idea of what to expect from a young quarterback early in his career in the National Football League. To answer your question, I do feel like every quarterback is different," Hamilton said. "The plan for that kid — for whoever it is we have at quarterback, be it a veteran quarterback or a young quarterback if we draft a quarterback — you have to have a plan that's specific for that quarterback."

Asked what he likes to see in a quarterback, Hamilton listed the following the qualities: "Accuracy, is he a winner and, of course, leadership qualities are really important to Coach Jackson and myself."

Of course, the quarterback is just part of a larger blueprint for the Browns.

"We're ultimately going to do whatever it takes to feature our playmakers," Hamilton said. "We consider offensive linemen to be playmakers as well. It'll be exciting to watch our guys go out and compete every Sunday, but we have a long way to go."

Hamilton added: "I guess the good news right now is we're undefeated and tied for first place. We're looking forward to having a great season."

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