Turner hire shows Banner's influence
The Browns made official Thursday what had been reported for a week – longtime NFL coach Norv Turner will be the team’s offensive coordinator.
Turner is a strong hire, with 15 years experience as a head coach and seven as a coordinator.
Word of Turner’s hiring broke at almost the exact same moment as the hiring of Rob Chudzinski as coach – but was not made official by the Browns until he completed a vacation in Hawaii.
The hiring also caused chatter in NFL circles because Turner has a relationship with Mike Lombardi, whose name will not go away when rumored potential front office types are mentioned for the Browns.
Turner won 56 games with the Chargers the past six years, but went a disappointing (given expectations) 8-8 and 7-9 his final two seasons. Before coaching the Chargers, he spent two years coaching the Raiders in Oakland, where Lombardi was in the front office.
Browns CEO Joe Banner has stated that Lombardi has not been involved in the team’s coach search, and Banner declined to comment on whether Lombardi was a candidate for the team’s front office position.
Turner’s offensive staff includes his son Scott (receivers coach) and Mike Sullivan, a former Browns assistant who worked with the Chargers and Turner the past four seasons. Sullivan will assist holdover George Warhop in coaching the offensive line.
Chudzinski also was an assistant under Turner in San Diego, in 2005-06 and 2009-10. The two have worked together, and respect each other. Turner also is said to be willing to be a coordinator after 15 years as a head coach, the last six in San Diego.
The construction of the team seems to indicate how the front office will work, and that Banner will be involved with football. Banner came to Cleveland touted as an expert in team business affairs, but has hired three people on the business end. He has said his coach will be heavily involved in personnel to the point of making final roster decisions, but hired a coach who never had personnel experience. The GM was described by owner Jimmy Haslam as “player personnel type.”
These dots seem to connect to Banner having real input in football decisions.
The Browns have not revealed who they have interviewed as GM/Personnel except to say six or seven have given their pitch. One name that became public is Kansas City Director of Pro Personnel Ray Farmer.
The Browns also are interviewing defensive coordinator candidates, and have not revealed names.
Raheem Morris’ name has been linked to the job, which is interesting in that Chudzinski said at his introductory news conference that he wanted an attacking defense. Morris has worked under Tony Dungy and is an advocate of the Cover-Two, which relies mainly on the front four for pressure.
Those interviews will continue as the staff in place prepares to attend the Senior Bowl next week.