In year’s past the idea that the head coach of the Cleveland Browns grew up in Toledo a die-hard fan of the team would have been celebrated.
But failed coaching regime after failed coaching regime has seemed to quell the outpouring of love and support for Rob Chudzinski. Instead, there’s a tinge of indifference.
“Grew up a Browns fan, eh, Rob? Hey, that’s great, but just go win football games.”
Chudzinski won his first game last Sunday under quite unique circumstances. Four days earlier, his team traded last year’s third-overall draft pick, running back Trent Richardson, to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick. It was a shock to anyone who followed the Browns and even those who played for the Browns.
Yet, a little after 4 p.m. last Sunday, the team presented Chudzinski with a game ball after he earned his first victory as an NFL head coach.
What say you, Browns fans?
“Hey, that’s great, but just go win some more football games.”
He just might do that.
For the Browns to pull off a victory last week, they needed those strong performances from guys like Jordan Cameron, Josh Gordon, Brian Hoyer and a host of players on defense. Talent matters, but it also took some impressive coaching chops from Chudzinski.
In his first three games, he’s shown he favors taking an aggressive approach. We’ve heard the “vertical passing game” phrase ever since he hired Norv Turner as the offensive coordinator. The Browns have the ball late in the first half? No knee will be taken. He’s going to try and score points. There will be fake punts and fake field goals.
It is quite the change from the more conservative offenses of Eric Mangini and Pat Shurmur or the head scratching moves by Romeo Crennel. Remember when Crennel opted to kick a field goal early in the fourth quarter when the Browns trailed the Dallas Cowboys by 21 points?
Yeah, that happened.
A lot of bad coaches have come through Cleveland since 1999. A lot of bad players have played for this team during that same time. The two go hand-in-hand. A coach is only as good as his talent.
The Browns seem to be compiling some of that on-field talent and last week it meshed with its head coach. It goes without saying that we are way to early into the Chudzinksi regime to determine if it belongs on the heap with Crennel, Mangini and Shumrur, among others, but last week was a positive sign.
This team could have truly folded it in and gave up on the season. They rallied around their head coach, a head coach who guided this team out of the mess that was the Richardson trade and into an early-season victory.
“That’s great, coach. Now just go win another game.”