Offseason Playbook: Browns

A look at Cleveland's philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Originally Published: March 10, 2013
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider
Brandon WeedenDustin Bradford/Getty ImagesIs Brandon Weeden the answer at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns?

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What is each team's philosophy on offense and defense, biggest needs and one player who could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- Although new head coach Rob Chudzinski has a strong offensive background, he will likely let his new coordinator, Norv Turner, have a lot of freedom to run this offense. We will see some offensive similarities to the 2012 San Diego Chargers and Carolina Panthers, whom Turner and Chudzinski coached, respectively. They would like a physical running game with the offensive line to have the flexibility of zone or man blocking, and they will use the running game to set up play-action. Turner loves his quarterbacks to take vertical shots, especially off the seam route, and he likes to get all of his weapons involved in the passing game. That can lead to pass protection issues, however, because of the lack of max blocking schemes and slow-developing deep routes. In turn, the quarterback will work a lot out of the shotgun and will often check down to the backs and tight ends. We will see a lot of dig routes, and the tight end is always a big part of Chudzinski and Turner's offense. This will be a sophisticated offense that requires intelligence and discipline.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.