Rob Chudzinski spoke to reporters at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis Friday morning and did a good job of not tipping his hand as to what the Browns are planning to do at the quarterback position.
Moving forward, no one really knows what it going through the minds of Chudzinski, Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi as the Browns prepare for free agency and the draft.
Chudzinski was asked about Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy after spending the past month looking at tape on them. After he was hired, he said he reserved judgment until he had a chance to see all of their games this past season.
Chudzinski did say he was ‘excited’ to work with the quarterbacks, but said he needed to see them on the field.
“I’ve been looking at that quite a bit in conjunction with some of the other things we’ve been working on,” he said. “I’m excited about those guys. They have interesting skill sets, they’ve made improvements, they’ve been able to win games and I’m excited.
“Ultimately, watching guys on tape, it’s hard to really make a total assessment on them,” he said. “You want to get them out on the practice field, get them in meetings, see how the things you’re asking them to do translate to their responses and what they do in situations that you put them in. Ultimately the evaluation process is only a partial part of looking at the tape.”
He also declined to name Weeden the starter at this time moving forward. In other words, it appears he’s saying the Browns are weighing their options as they look at what’s available in free agency, through trades or via the draft.
Or he’s just making Weeden sweat a little bit, unlike Pat Shurmur last year, who really never made Weeden compete for the starting job.
“I’ve looked at Brandon,” Chudzinski said to the local media before the national media platform. “I’m excited about getting Brandon on the field and in the meetings and around the building. It’s tough when you’re just looking at tape. That’s one piece of it. Certainly, he has some good tools to work with, he had some success. You saw progress last year.”
Chudzinski said Weeden “can make all the throws” and he likes the poise he displayed in the pocket.
Because Chudzinski is a first year head coach, he will have a veteran minicamp prior to the NFL Draft in April and have a chance to see the quarterbacks on the field before the draft takes place. However, trades or free agent acquisitions could change the picture, as well.
Chudzinski said he is very excited in working with offensive coordinator Norv Turner and the way he sees the Browns offense shaping up.
“The things that I’ve done in the past, that Norv has done in the past and by the way, I’m really excited about Norv being part of this staff,” he said. “I think that’s a huge addition and not only for me from a professional standpoint, Norv’s had a real impact on me personally as well and is somebody that just I trust to the nth degree, but we’ll put all that together. It’s been an interesting and fun process sitting down together on a lot of those things and talking through where we see different things and putting the offense together. A lot of that, like I mentioned before, ultimately will come once we see who we have and work those guys in to put them in positions to be successful.”
Chudzinski was asked about what he envisions for the Browns offense.
“I think you see a pretty wide range of things if you’re looking at what Norv’s done in his past going back and even from what I’ve done whether it was Carolina or whether it was Cleveland back prior or even at the University of Miami,” he said. “It’s been fun sitting down and going through with Norv talking about, ‘Hey, this is some of the things we can do.’ Discussing some things back and forth from a philosophy standpoint and putting it together.
“Ultimately, we want to have an attacking style of offense,” he said. “We want to put the pressure on the defense and you can do that a lot of different ways. You can do it by what you’re doing scheme-wise, you can do it by the tempo you do that in. There’s a lot of different ways to attack, but that’s what we want. We want guys to have that type of mentality to go out to play to win and getting after people in that way. Obviously, you have to have to have balance in this league between running the ball and throwing the ball and we want to have a tough group, a group that won’t give up.”
Chudzinski was asked if he’s studied the quarterbacks coming out of the draft as of yet and was vague.
“I really haven’t,” he said. “I’ve been playing catch up on a lot of the college study and the college tape. This will give me an opportunity to do that this week and this weekend as well as getting in the interviews and being around some of those guys. Getting the first look at them and seeing them in the drills, but that will obviously be something with all positions that we’ll be looking at and getting a chance to evaluate and I’ll be able to get a chance to catch up on a little more.”
Matt Barkley from USC said he felt he was the top quarterback coming out of the draft in interviews Thursday. Geno Smith of West Virginia has also been linked as being the top available quarterback. However, most draft experts don’t think there is a clear-cut franchise quarterback in this year’s class as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were last year.