It didn’t take long to connect the dots from new Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski to Norv Turner, who was hired as Cleveland’s offensive coordinator on Thursday. It also shouldn’t take much time to recognize the positive impact this should have on RB Trent Richardson.
Turner’s offenses in San Diego, especially in recent seasons, had been better known for their passing, with Philip Rivers under center. Prior to 2012, though, Turner made it clear he wanted Ryan Mathews to become a bellcow, three-down back, similar to LaDainian Tomlinson and Emmitt Smith from earlier in his coaching career. Unfortunately, Mathews’ durability remained an issue. He played in 12 games and had only 223 touches, well short of the 300 that observers expected.
With the Browns, Turner inherits the 21-year-old Richardson, who just came off a rookie season in which he fought through injuries to carry the ball 267 times and catch 51 passes. The Browns’ O-line, anchored by OLT Joe Thomas, is a better unit than what the Chargers had last year, giving Turner more to work with.
There is still a question about what Turner can do with QB Brandon Weeden, who certainly has the arm strength for his offensive style. As for Richardson, Turner may have the back he needs to accomplish what we heard he wanted to do with Mathews in 2012, which should be a boost to a Browns offense that finished 25th last season and Richardson himself, who had some stellar runs, but also averaged only 3.6 yards a carry.