Terry Pluto called it underwhelming. That’s the only thing I read about the Browns hiring of Rob Chudzinski before I took to my keyboard to react. And my reaction is pretty much nothing. I can’t be excited because I wasn’t in the interviews. I can’t be totally disappointed for the same reason. The only reaction I have is actually more of a demand. Show me why this was a good hire.
Tomorrow when the Browns get in front of cameras and microphones to talk about this move, I will be paying close attention to some very specific things. First and foremost, Rob Chudzinski better give off an air of leadership that Joe Banner and Jimmy Haslam have sounded off about ever since the search began. Leadership isn’t one of those subtle and invisible traits because an ability to communicate clearly, effectively and usually passionately is part and parcel with being a great leader. I’ll be looking for that first and foremost.
Next, I’ll be looking for any kind of cues as to what kind of transition the Browns expect this to be and I already know what I need to hear. I need to hear that Rob Chudzinski feels confident that he can achieve results with the roster as it is right now. Of course we all know there will be some changes between the draft and (hopefully) free agency, but I’ll be looking for those cues that show some confidence in being able to achieve something on the field right away. This isn’t a roster of problem children that Eric Mangini inherited. This is a young, hungry, improving roster that should be primed to make the big jump that Mike Holmgren predicted incorrectly this season.
Certainly I’ll be looking for more information about what defensive scheme the Browns plan on running, who the coordinators will be and who will be calling the plays, but that’s really on the side.
I want to see the things that will make me believe that Rob Chudzinski could be the Browns head coach for the next decade. Presumably those would have been the same things that convinced Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner that he was the right guy to hire in their interviews. I expect it to be somewhat visible tomorrow as well.
Other than that, I’ll reserve judgment. This ownership group deserves a chance to hire their guy, and they’ve certainly been bold in hiring someone that leaves fans initially underwhelmed from a pure name value standpoint. That’s not unfair by the fans and it also doesn’t doom Rob Chudzinski as the head coach of the Browns, but hopefully Haslam and Banner understand just how big the burden of proof is looming.
Hopefully Rob Chudzinski understands the gravity of it too. This isn’t a call for some patronizing “ra ra” Browns talk that makes us feel good about ourselves. Yes, of course we like that, but it’s no more valuable than when a rock band shouts us out before a concert at the Q. It’s time to expect more of this team and everyone in Berea better appear like they not only understand that, but are prepared to try to achieve it right away.
Browns fans have proven it time and again. It’s the team’s chance to follow suit and make Haslam and Banner’s first big move a true signature.
(Photo from Panthers.com)