Rob Chudzinski

Rob Chudzinski simplified offensive scheme

New Colts OC Rob Chudzinski simplified the offense ahead of the Week 9 win over the Broncos.

"I think that was probably the difference. We scaled back a lot," Andre Johnson said. "Guys were just flying around out there, playing as hard as possible, trying to make plays." Chud will likely add more wrinkles over the bye week, but the streamlined approach led to Andrew Luck's best game of the season against possibly the best defense he has faced. With Luck finally looking decisive in the pared-down attacked, the Colts should look to keep the offense as simple as possible moving forward.

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Rob Chudzinski: Ultimately, Andrew Luck has to make those plays

New Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski knows that the Colts’ offense will succeed less because of his play calling than because of Andrew Luck’s execution.

Chudzinski said that he and Luck talked after Pep Hamilton was fired and Chudzinski was promoted this week. Chudzinski came away impressed with Luck’s understanding of what he needs to do.

“Obviously we talked afterwards,” Chudzinski said. “I think Andrew wants to win. That’s what I get out of any conversation with him. He’s a special player and person, really unique. He has a plan for everything that he does, always working to improve and the goal of winning. He’s taken this thing, the bull by the horns and he’s working to get better every day himself.”

Chudzinski said the key for Luck is consistency.

“I see that there’s been times where he’s on fire, and there’s been times where not so much. Again, he knows and he’s worked on and talked about being consistent. Hopefully again, by design, there’s some things you can do to put him in that position where he is. Ultimately he has to go make those plays, and I’m confident he will,” Chudzinski said.

If Luck turns things around, the Colts can turn things around. If he doesn’t, there’s not much of anything Chudzinski can do to change the Colts’ fortunes.

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Rob Chudzinski has the task of getting Andrew Luck back on track

INDIANAPOLIS -- You can say Pep Hamilton would still be the Indianapolis Colts' offensive coordinator if the team didn't have a 3-5 record. You can also say the Colts wouldn’t be 3-5 and in the midst of a three-game losing streak if quarterback Andrew Luck wasn’t having the worst season of his NFL career.

And yes, you can say Luck’s struggles played a part in his longtime coordinator being fired.

“I don’t think the turnovers have anything to do with who the coordinator was," Luck said. “That falls on my shoulders and my shoulders only, the mistakes. Obviously I’ve got to clean that up if we’re going to have a chance to succeed as an offense.”

Receiver Andre Johnson said he hates to see anybody get fired, but the NFL is also a “cutthroat business.”

Out goes Hamilton. In comes Rob Chudzinski.

The task for Chudzinski -- previously an offensive coordinator with the Carolina Panthers and with the Cleveland Browns, for whom he also served one season as head coach -- is to make the Colts a better offensive team in the first half, when they’ve been shut out in three of their eight games this season. That was not supposed to happen with Luck and the skill-position players he has around him.

A significant step in improving the offense is for Chudzinski to get Luck to play like the Andrew Luck of previous seasons.

The fourth-year quarterback leads the NFL in turnovers with 13 -- 12 interceptions and a fumble lost -- this season. Luck referred to his mistakes as “catastrophic.”

“We got to play better at that position and I think we all know you can’t turn the ball over at that position -- we’ve got to get that corrected and our mission right now is to get Andrew going, playing at the level we all know,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “We all know what he can do, and we’ll get there, he’ll be back.”

Luck’s first-half statistics are drastically different from in his second-half numbers this season. He’s thrown just two touchdowns to five interceptions in the first two quarters of games. Meanwhile, Luck has thrown for 1,101 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions in the second half and overtime of games, when the Colts have often been forced to play catch-up.

“I have to play better,” Luck said. “I've got to take care of the football. I think we need to make sure we get points on the board early, sustain that and finish games strong.”

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Colts Name Rob Chudzinski Offensive Coordinator

The Indianapolis Colts fired offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, replacing him with Rob Chudzinski.

“Through the first eight weeks of the season, we have felt our offense hasn’t performed at the consistent level that we need,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “Because of this we’ve decided to go in a different direction and relieve Pep Hamilton of his duties as offensive coordinator. As head coach of this team, it’s my responsibility to make sure I’m doing everything we can to put us in the best position to succeed. We thank Pep for his service to the team and wish him all the best.”

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Rob Chudzinski Discusses His Role

INDIANAPOLIS --- Colts Associate Head Coach Rob Chudzinski is the mystery man on Chuck Pagano’s coaching staff. Pagano has praised the work done by “Coach Chud”, as he’s known around the building, but still the fascination has lingered as to what the role of this coach is, almost like an ace in the hole to go with Pagano’s coordinators and position coaches.

“It’s a little bit different role than I’m used to,” Chudzinski admitted to last week, after being the head Coach in Cleveland in 2013 and working as an offensive coordinator or assistant head coach for the Browns, Chargers, and Panthers before that. “I’m usually out front of everything, but again, whatever I can do to help in any way. Support, be a resource for, do work for, whatever it is around the building, I can do. That’s what I want to do to help us win.”

Associate Head Coach is his true title in Indianapolis, but perhaps “Master Consultant” would be another appropriate title for Rob Chudzinski’s contributions to Chuck Pagano’s staff.

“There’s a lot that goes into it, and a lot of different things I do around the building,” said Chudzinski with a smile, when that alternate title was suggested. “It’s the type of role that if everybody doesn’t know what you do, then you’re probably doing a good job.”

Internally though, the Colts definitely know what Chudzinski does and how good he is at it, evidenced by the fact that Indianapolis wanted and was able to retain him, after multiple teams were reportedly interested in making him their offensive coordinator. It’s easy to imagine that feeling of being wanted was probably not lost on a man who was only given one year with his previous team.

“It meant a lot. It says a lot. Just being here and having the opportunity to be here, I’m excited about it,” Chudzinski said. “I’m excited about this team. I’m excited about the people I get to come to work with every single day, and the coaches and players and interactions with that. I’m excited about the opportunity to succeed to win and win a Super Bowl. Ultimately, that’s our goal.”

Chudzinski said being a part of a Super Bowl winning team is what drives him every single day, that it’s absolutely one of his individual goals in his career, after he made the jump to the NFL in 2004 from the University of Miami. He was on the Hurricanes staff with Pagano from 1995 to 2000.

But if winning the Super Bowl is the ultimate goal, then reaching it must include achieving countless smaller goals along the way, including right now in the offseason. That’s what Chudzinski’s role entails right now.

“We segment everything. So, this time of year, it’s about individuals getting better at individual techniques. It’s about us looking at areas that we maybe struggled at last year as a team and how we can practice and prepare and what we can adjust to really focus on those things.”

But when the season came around in 2014, Chudzinski’s role as Special Assistant to the Head Coach shifted, and this year as Associate Head Coach, it will shift again.

“As you get into the season, it’s more about the gameplan and more about the individual teams that you are playing,” Chudzinski explained. “But again, anything that I can do. I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been around some great coaches.”

For Chudzinski, that now includes Chuck Pagano, just the second head coach in NFL history to win at least 11 games in his first four seasons.

“Chuck’s done a great job of really drilling it down to those guys of what this time of year is for and what we need to do in order to improve as a team,” said Chudzinski. “It starts with the will filter up to the team as time goes on.”

So it may be a different role than what Chudzinski has been used to in the past, but for him, there’s definitely one big perk to the job in Indianapolis.

“You look around and there’s definitely a feeling in the locker room, in the building, of purpose,” said Chudzinski. “That’s what the purpose is, to win.”

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Colts promote Rob Chudzinski to associate head coach

The Indianapolis Colts are keeping two critical pieces of their coaching staff intact for next season.

The first is Rob Chudzinski, the former Cleveland Browns head coach who served as a special assistant to Chuck Pagano this past season in Indianapolis. After Chudzinski recently received interest from the San Francisco 49ers regarding their offensive coordinator vacancy, the Colts on Tuesday announced they have given him a promotion and kept him in town. Chudzinski has agreed to a new contract with the Colts and will now work as the team's associate head coach.

"We're excited to keep Chud in our family," Pagano said in a team release. "He's been a critical part of our operation and we're looking forward to sharing even more success in the future."

An experienced coach of tight ends, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis -- brother of Colts cornerback Vontae -- took to Instagram to campaign for Chudzinski on Monday: "All I want for Christmas … is to meet #robchudzinski #OC"

That won't be happening — Chudzinksi is staying in Indianapolis, at least for another season.

Asked about denying opposing teams the chance to speak with Chudzinski last week, allowed to him under league rules, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson refused to go into specifics.

"Ultimately it's my job good people stay in this building and don't just walk right out," Grigson said. "We'll address that and keep good people here."

He has with Chudzinski and with offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, who interviewed with the Oakland Raiders in the hours following the Colts' 26-10 Wild Card win over Cincinnati on Jan. 3. The Raiders eventually went with Jack Del Rio as their new head coach.

Hamilton, with two years left on his contract, will return as the Colts' play-caller for a third consecutive season.

However, not all Colts coaches will be back next year. On Monday, the team also announced it had parted ways with running backs coach David Walker after four seasons with the team.

"We're grateful for David's contributions to the Colts' success over the last four years and wish him nothing but the best in the future," Pagano said in a statement.

In 2013, Walker's running backs rushed for the Colts' highest total since 2006 (1,743 yards). This season, the Colts ranked 22nd in the NFL in total rushing yards (1,612) and 25th in yards per carry (3.9).

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49ers keeping an eye on Chudzinski?

One of the apparent top candidates for the 49ers’ position of offensive coordinator on Jim Tomsula’s first staff is a coach who is currently off-limits.

The Indianapolis Colts reportedly declined permission this week to the 49ers and St. Louis Rams to interview Rob Chudzinski for their vacant coordinator positions. Chudzinski’s contract reportedly expires next week, at which point he becomes a free agent. All indications are that the 49ers want an opportunity to speak with Chudzinski about running the team's offense.

“I’m not going to get into specifics, but it’s ultimately my job to make sure that good people stay in this building and don’t just walk right now,” Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said Friday in a press conference. “So we’ll address that, and do our best to keep good people here.”

Chudzinski, 46, is considered a good person – with a track record of NFL success, beginning with his first coordinator job in 2007 with the Cleveland Browns. Derek Anderson had his career year, throwing for 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns. Receiver Braylon Edwards caught 80 passes and 16 touchdowns, as the Browns went 10-6.

Coincidentally, when Eric Mangini was hired as Browns coach in 2009, Chudzinski was out. Chudzinski joined Norv Turner with the San Diego Chargers as assistant head coach/tight ends before going with Ron Rivera to the Carolina Panthers.

Cam Newton was the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft. In his first two seasons with Chudzinski, Newton threw for 7,920 yards with a 7.9-yard average per pass attempt. He also rushed for 1,447 yards. In the next two seasons without Chudzinski, Newton threw for 6,506 yards (7.0 average) with 1,124 yards rushing.

“Everyone knows, coming from Auburn, it was a hand signal and we were gone,” Newton said on an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio in 2013. “When I came here (Carolina), it was a culture shock. There were things thrown at me that I never would’ve even imagined. The whole college system was training wheels and without having coach Chud around, I would not have had the season I had.”

During another interview, Newton praised Chudzinski’s ability to draw on his past coaching experiences to find what works best for the players with whom he works.
"The thing that makes coach Chudzinski so different is that he's like a hybrid,'' Newton said. "He takes so many different forms of offense and combines it with his own. He's been under Norv Turner and learned so much from him. But coach Chud understood what I could and what I was comfortable with. He also has to have a dominant running game. So for us to have a downfield passing attack, we have to combine it with those factors, and just makes him even more of a flexible coach.''

Chudzinski was fired after posting a 4-12 season as Browns head coach in 2013, leading to his position on Chuck Pagano’s staff with the Colts.

From 1994-2003, Chudzinski coached at his alma mater, the University of Miami . He was offensive coordinator from 2001 to ’03 while Frank Gore was on the team. Gore is on a long list of NFL Pro Bowl players from Miami that Chudzinski coached, including Andre Johnson, Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow and Bryant McKinnie.

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Rob Chudzinski can interview starting Tuesday

We might have a little bit more clarity on the San Francisco 49ers search for an offensive coordinator. Not a lot, mind you, but at least a little bit. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Rob Chudzinski can start interviewing with other teams on Tuesday. This would seem to add confirmation to Alex Marvez's report last week that Chudzinski's contract expires today. It could be an end of day expiration.

The 49ers and St. Louis Rams are the two teams that have been consistently connected to Chudzinski. The 49ers have at one time or another been connected to Lane Kiffin and Mike Shanahan. Other than that, the only other name that has been mentioned by anybody is offensive assistant Geep Chryst. We have not heard any "reports" about it, but rather just basic discussion.

Bay Area Sports Guy put together his own predictions on the OC job, and he sees Chryst eventually getting the job:

Chryst is an in-house candidate who almost certainly would've taken the 49ers' offensive coordinator job if the team had offered it by now, so he would appear to be the fallback option in case Chud is either unavailable or says "no" to the 49ers. The team clearly likes Chryst, otherwise he would've been fired ...

Based on how respective searches for a head coach and defensive coordinator went - with the 49ers ultimately choosing guys they knew who weren't getting similar offers from other teams, Chryst makes the most sense. So that's my prediction, unless they're waiting to poach a Seahawks or Patriots assistant, or they end up surprising us with a hire from the college ranks.

I agree that Chryst is essentially a fallback option at this point. They could have locked him up for the job at virtually any time, so I don't see how he is the first choice at this point. Of course, if the 49ers decided Chryst was the guy for them, I am sure Jim Tomsula and the team will sell him as being the guy they wanted all along. But our finely tuned BS detectors will be hot on the scent!

Assuming Schefter's report is accurate, I suspect we'll start to hear something or other leak out later tomorrow. This would seem to indicate the process should wrap up by the end of the week, but we'll see what the next few days bring. Chud reportedly interviewed with the 49ers back in 2009, but turned down the job. Will we see something similar this year, or will they actually reel him in?

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Colts won’t let Rob Chudzinski interview for OC jobs elsewhere

With the Senior Bowl practices/unofficial NFL coaching job fair in full swing, vacant positions are drying up quickly.

And so is the candidate pool, by at least one more.

Via Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Colts aren’t going to allow offensive assistant Rob Chudzinski to interview for any of the open offensive coordinator jobs.

The 49ers, Bears and Rams each had interest in the former Browns head coach, who has had varying degrees of success as a coordinator with the Browns and Panthers in the past. The former University of Miami tight end has had more success coaching up his old position, and the Colts have a solid stable to tight ends with which to work in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen.

In Indianapolis, he’s served in a variety of roles for head coach Chuck Pagano, but he also serves as insurance in case offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton ends up with a head coaching gig in the near future.

While the Colts have denied teams permission to interview for coordinator jobs, they can’t do so for much longer.

According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chudzinski’s contract with the Colts actually expires next week, at which point he can do what he pleases without their permission.

So by denying him the chance to interview now, the Colts might just be stalling in hopes other teams will otherwise fill the jobs they have open.

But in the wink-nod world of reality, anyone interested in the former Browns head coach can wait the Colts out, and there are avenues by which he might be aware of that interest.

Of course, this gives Chudzinski some leverage in any potential negotiations with the Colts, if they want to hang onto the former Browns head coach, and gives the Rams, 49ers and Bears reason to keep a job open if they’re really interested.

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Bears want to interview Rob Chudzinski

Rob Chudzinski spent two years as the offensive coordinator with the Panthers, but started his tenure in Carolina a year after John Fox departed for the Broncos.

The two men may get a chance to work together in Chicago, though. Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Bears have requested an interview with Chudzinski for their offensive coordinator vacancy. Chudzinski is currently a special assistant to Colts coach Chuck Pagano, so he’s free to interview should all parties agree to schedule a conversation.

The Bears aren’t the only team that wants to talk to Chudzinski. The Rams have shown interest and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the 49ers have also put in a request to speak to the former Browns head coach about running their offense. Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has been referred to as a front-runner for that job.

Both Chicago and San Francisco were major offensive disappointments this season, making the offensive coordinator hire a big deal in each place. We should find out if Chudzinski is the answer to anyone’s prayers in the next week or so.

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TEs have flourished with Chudzinski

Should the 49ers hire Rob Chudzinski as their offensive coordinator?

That voice you heard is tight end Vernon Davis screaming “Oh Lord, please, yes!”

Chudzinski, 46, is a former tight end who won two national titles at the University of Miami, and tight ends have typically flourished when he’s been in the vicinity during his 11-year NFL coaching career.

Consider: Antonio Gates’ two 1,000-yard seasons both came when Chudzinski was his position coach; Kellen Winslow had the lone 1,000-yard season of his career when Chudzinski was his offensive coordinator; Jordan Cameron had his breakout season when Chudzinski was his head coach … there’s more, but you get the idea (and if you don’t, see the list below).

The 49ers, of course, have reportedly requested permission to interview Chudzinski, a Colts special assistant, for their offensive coordinator vacancy. And his work with tight ends is no doubt an attractive part of his resume, particularly given Davis’ dumbfounding disappearing act in 2014 (26 catches, 245 yards, 2 TDs).

In addition, the 49ers spent a 2013 second-round pick on tight end Vance McDonald, who has repaid their investment with 10 catches in 23 career games. Yes, McDonald has turned into a better-than-expected blocker, but, again … 10 catches in 23 career games.

For his part, Davis, 30, had 10 catches in his final eight games in 2014. During that stretch, he suggested since-departed offensive coordinator Greg Roman was responsible for his puny production: “As far as not getting the ball,” he said, “(I) leave it up to the offensive coordinator. It’s his call.”

Chudzinski has called on tight ends plenty during his four seasons as an offensive coordinator, and the position has been heavily utilized, regardless of his role on a staff. Since Chudzinski entered the NFL in 2004, he’s coached four of the 14 tight ends who have had a 900-yard season: Gates, Winslow, Cameron and Greg Olsen.

Here’s a look at how tight ends have fared during each of Chudzinski’s 11 seasons:

2004 (Browns TEs coach)
Starter Kellen Winslow sustained a season-ending injury in Week 2. In his absence, Steve Heiden and Aaron Shea combined for 54 catches, 539 yards and accounted for nine of Cleveland’s 21 receiving touchdowns.

2005 (Chargers TEs)
Antonio Gates had 89 catches, the most in his 12-year career, on a career-high 140 targets. Gates also had 1,101 receiving yards (second-most of career) and 10 touchdowns (tied for third-most).

2006 (Chargers TEs)
Gates had 71 catches, 924 yards and nine touchdowns. His 120 targets rank as the second-most of his career.

2007 (Browns offensive coordinator)
Winslow had 82 catches (second-most of 10-year career) with career-highs in receiving yards (1,106) and targets (140). His five touchdowns match the most of his career.

2008 (Browns OC)
In 10 games, Winslow had 43 catches, 428 yards and three touchdowns.

2009 (Chargers TEs/assistant head coach)
Gates had a career-high 1,157 receiving yards on 79 catches (third-most of career) and scored eight touchdowns.

2010 (Chargers TEs/assistant head coach)
Limited to 10 games because of a foot injury, Gates had 50 catches, 782 yards and 10 touchdowns. Over a 16-game season, those numbers would translate to 80 catches, 1,251 yards and 16 touchdowns.

2011 (Panthers OC)
Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey — then 31 and in his last NFL season — combined for 82 catches, 995 yards and nine touchdowns.

2012 (Panthers OC)
Olsen, who entered the NFL in 2007, had 69 catches, 843 yards and five touchdowns. At the time, his reception and yardage total were career-highs.

2013 (Browns head coach)
After collecting 26 catches and 259 yards in his first two NFL seasons, Jordan Cameron broke out with 80 catches, 917 yards and seven touchdowns.

2014 (Colts special assistant)
Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen combined for 80 catches, 1,169 yards and 16 touchdowns.

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Rams ask Colts permission to interview Rob Chudzinski

Now that the Colts Offense went flat at the wrong time, their assistants have the opportunity to look around.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Rams have requested permission to interview special assistant Rob Chudzinski for their offensive coordinator vacancy.

Chudzinski has worked as a consultant with the Colts since being fired after one year as the Browns head coach, but had previously served as a coordinator in Cleveland and Carolina.

He’s been “all over the building” for the Colts this year, even with Pep Hamilton calling the plays. It will be curious to see if the Colts allow permission, or if they try to hang onto him as they try to get tougher as a team this offseason.

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49ers seek permission to interview Chudzinski

SANTA CLARA -- Rob Chudzinski, an Indianapolis Colts special assistant, is being sought by the 49ers to interview for their offensive coordinator post, the NFL Network reported.

The St. Louis Rams also put in a request Monday to interview Chudzinski, a day after the Colts lost in the AFC Championship game. Chudzinski, 46, coached 49ers all-time leading rusher Frank Gore at the University of Miami before beginning his NFL coaching career. Chudzinski was head coach of the 2013 Cleveland Browns, who finished 4-12.

Former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin is another candidate to replace Greg Roman, who was the 49ers offensive coordinator since 2011 and left last week to assume that role with the Buffalo Bills. Kiffin spent this past season as the University of Alabama's offensive coordinator,

The 49ers have not officially announced any staff changes since promoting Jim Tomsula from defensive line coach to head coach Wednesday.

Tomsula's four-year contract includes a $3.5 million annual salary that ranks lower than all but three other head coaches, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area reported.

Those believed to be making less than Tomsula are Mike McCoy (San Diego Chargers, $3 million annually), Ron Rivera (Carolina Panthers, $3 million) and Gus Bradley (Jacksonville Jaguars, $2.9 million).

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Rob Chudzinski Being Considered as 49ers Offensive Coordinator

According to Adam Caplan, an ESPN NFL Insider, the Indianapolis Colts Rob Chudzinski is being considered as the next San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator along with former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.

The San Francisco 49ers recently promoted their former defensive line coach, Jim Tomsula, as their new head coach. Of course, Tomsula will occupy the position previously held by Jim Harbaugh. Tomsula apparently likes both Chudzinski and Weis, and they are the frontrunners for the offensive coordinator vacancy according to league circles.

It’s the first news that we’ve heard of interest in Chudzinski, who is currently the special assistant to head coach Chuck Pagano. While we’ve heard of interest in the Colts current offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton, there has been little to no action on Chudzinksi according to reports.

With over 20 years of professional and collegiate experience, Chudzinski has a wide array of football knowledge. Before joining the Colts this season, he served as the Cleveland Browns head coach in 2013. If Hamilton were to leave for a head coaching job, he was thought to be the heavy favorite to replace him as Colts’ offensive coordinator. However, it looks as though Chudzinski may be a new offensive coordinator elsewhere all together.

Among his strengths, Chudzinksi is known for being somewhat of a tight end guru. Having played collegiately as a tight end while at the University of Miami and later serving as a tight ends coach, he’s well versed in the nuances of the position. Several NFL tight ends have enjoyed some of their best years under Chudzinksi’s tutelage, including Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow Jr., Greg Olsen, and Jordan Cameron.

The Indianapolis Colts tight ends have undergone breakout seasons as well with Chudzinski’s guidance this season. Dwayne Allen has 29 receptions for 395 receiving yards and a tied-team high 8 touchdowns, while Coby Fleener has 51 receptions for 774 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns (tied with Allen). Chudzinski’s loss to the Colts’ coaching staff would appear to be significant, especially to the team’s tight end production.

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Another proCane Super Bowl Ring Guaranteed This Year In Super Bowl XLIX

#proCane #Colts WR Reggie Wayne, TE Erik Swoope, Special Assistant Rob Chudzinski and Head Coach Chuck Pagano have advanced to the #AFCChampionship to take on DL Vince Wilfork and the #Patriots, while in the #NFCChampionship game #Packers DB Sam Shields, Senior Personnel Executive Alonzo Highsmith and Scout Glenn Cook will take on the #Seahawks and Practice Squad T Justin Renfrow and Scout Dan Morgan.

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Vilma, Taylor headline latest University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame class

Ten former Hurricanes will be inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame's Class of 2015, the school announced Monday.

Six -- Rusty Medearis (1990-92, '94), Winston Moss (1983-86), Kevin Patrick (1990-93), Sean Taylor (2001-03), Jonathan Vilma (2000-03) and Rob Chudzinsk (1986-90) -- played for the football program. Chudzinski also coached from 1996-03.

Medearis was a Freshman All-American in 1990 and a defensive lineman for the 1991 national title team. He recorded 22 sacks in his first two seasons before sustaining an injury in 1992 that kept him out until 1994.

Moss, currently the associate head coach of the Green Bay Packers, was on the 1983 national championship squad. Prior to a 10-year NFL career, he finished fourth in total tackles and second in solo tackles and tackles for a loss in 1986 despite missing two games.

A First-Team All-American in 1993, Patrick was also named Big East Defensive Player of the Year as a lineman. In his career, he recorded 23 sacks -- fifth in program history. Patrick serves as the defensive line coach at the University of North Texas.

Taylor was a consensus First-Team All-American and the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2003 as well as a finalist for the Thorpe Award given to the nation's top safety. Taylor, who will be honored posthumously, ranks second in career picks returned for a score (three), second in return yards (306) and fifth in total interceptions (14). He was on the 2001 national championship team.

Vilma, an All-American in 2003, manned the middle linebacker position for two straight national title games. He led the Hurricanes in total tackles from 2001-03. His 377 tackles rank seventh in program history. Vilma, a three-time Pro Bowler, was a two-time Academic All-American and three-time All-Big East Academic Team in college.

Chudzinski began as the tight ends coach in 1996 and worked his way up to offensive coordinator by 2001. He developed All-American tight ends Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow Jr. His schemes set UM records for most points (527), total yards (6,074) and rushing touchdowns (33) during the 2001 campaign. As a player, he won a pair of titles in 1987 and 1989.

Other athletes in the Class of 2015 include Lauryn Williams, who has medaled in both the winter and summer Olympics. Pitcher Alex Fernandez, a member of the Florida Marlins' 1997 World Series team, was an All-American as a freshman. Women's basketball player Kym Hope still ranks in the top 10 for career scoring, free-throw percentage, field-goal percentage, rebounds and blocks. Diver Chris Mantilla, an 11-time All-American, captured the 3-meter title at the 1996 NCAA Championships.

This year's class will be introduced at halftime of Saturday's Cincinnati-Miami football game. Inductees will be honored at the 47th Annual Induction Banquet in April 2015.

"This is an impressive class that reflects the highest level of athletic talent representative of The U," K.C. Jones, president of the UMSHoF and member of the 2008 class, said in a statement. "We look forward to introducing the class at the upcoming Cincinnati game and hosting our induction ceremony at the banquet in the spring."

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Rob Chudzinski all over the building for the Colts

Rob Chudzinski could have been on his way to the beach right now, cashing big checks from the Browns while doing so.

Instead, he’s working with a Costanza-esque title for the Colts, the special assistant to the head coach.

“I wasn’t going to sit and do nothing,” Chudzinski told Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. “My wife would have thrown me out of the house by now.”

“There’s nothing too big or too small I won’t do. That’s why I’m here.”

While there was some concern that the former Panthers offensive coordinator might step on the toes of Colts play-caller Pep Hamilton, it turns out Chudzinski is spending as much of his time working with the Colts defense.

“I can sit down with Chud for a good 30, 40 [minutes] to an hour and just melt through stuff that he did in Carolina and what he did in Cleveland as well,” defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. “It’s a great addition for me to have a guy like that from an offensive perspective. Even though [Pagano] is here, it’s still a defensive perspective. … I understand, ‘OK, I want to beat this protection.’ But how do you actually beat it?. … [Chudzinski explains] ‘Here’s what the guard’s thinking. This is what the center’s thinking.’ That helps me to come up with something that’ll beat that protection.

“When we’re breaking down tape of other teams we’re going to be playing, it’s great to sit with him and [learn] why are they doing those things? You never really know as a defensive coordinator because you’re never in those [offensive] meetings. When I sit with him for those hours, I’m listening to what he’s thinking. It’s those little things.”

Chudzinski can also bring some valuable insight to the AFC North, which the Colts will play this year.

And the best part is, he’s doing it for a cut rate, since the Browns are already paying him to do it.

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Colts OC Believes Chudzinski Will Help

INDIANAPOLIS – There were some eyebrows raised when the Indianapolis Colts added former Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski to their staff in February.

Chudzinski has an extensive offensive background, but the Colts already have Pep Hamilton as their offensive coordinator.

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano cleared the air on it during the NFL combine in late February.

"Pep's our offensive coordinator, period," Grigson said at the time. "You know those questions are going to come. We talked to Pep. Chuck talked to Pep. It comes from a comfort standpoint where Chuck has known Chud and what he's made of forever. Here's a guy that has head coaching on his résumé."

Hamilton said Chudzinski, who spent two seasons as offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers, will only help them.

"We haven’t had much time to talk ball," Hamilton said. "He’s busy getting comfortable in his new role with Chuck. It’s one of those deals where we have a veteran offensive staff and we were able to accomplish a lot as a unit last year and we’re going to build on what we started before. I think when the time comes about we can pick his brain on some things that will help us."

Chudzinski was fired after one season in Cleveland after the Browns went 4-12 last season. You can expect the Colts coaching staff to spend a lot of time talking to Chudzinski about the AFC North since that's the division they face this season.

"He’s got that experience," Hamilton said. "He coached against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens and those teams last year."

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Is Rob Chudzinski the Next Bruce Arians?

INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Pagano had a similar feeling two years ago.

He had just been named head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and when trying to form a coaching staff, his first call went to a man without a job.

Bruce Arians was a tremendous football mind and a friend of Pagano’s. The cohesion between the two men was seamless during their one season together in Indianapolis.

So when another coach who fit the description of Arians was unemployed earlier this offseason, Pagano was ready to pounce.

The Colts hired former Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski on Feb. 8 as a special assistant to Pagano.

“Chud’s going to be a great resource,” Pagano said at the Combine.

“He’ll be heavily involved with a lot of things that I do on a daily basis and be a great resource for me. He’s a brilliant guy, a really bright guy, a really smart guy, a really good football coach and he’s well versed in a lot of different areas.”

Pagnao and Chud’s history dates back to 1986 when the current Colts head coach was a graduate assistant at the University of Miami.

Chud was a tight end for the Hurricanes that year along with current Colts tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts.

Once Chud’s playing career came to an end in Miami, he joined the Hurricanes coaching staff with Pagano.

In 2004, the two were reunited in Cleveland as position coaches for the Browns.

“Chud has a longstanding relationship with our head coach that goes a long ways back to college,” Ryan Grigson said at the Combine.

“This business is about relationships. It’s about trust. He’s part of our family now. His role will continue to evolve. He’s a great football mind to bounce things off of.”

With the addition of Chud to the Colts staff, that brings the total to three coaches in Indianapolis that have been offensive coordinators in the NFL.

While Chud has spent his entire coaching career on the offensive side of the ball, Pagano reiterated that will not be the only phase in which he will help the Colts.

“I’m not going to pigeon hole Chud and say he’s an offensive coach, defensive coach, special teams," the Colts head coach said. "He’s going to be a great resource not only for our offensive staff but for our defensive staff, Ryan, myself, game day management. There’s really nothing I won’t throw at Chud in any area of our program that’s going to make us better.

“We had an opportunity to add another piece to the puzzle which makes our team better, gets us one step closer to our ultimate goal, and that’s hoisting a Lombardi and hopefully participating in Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix.”

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League friends, strangers miffed over Browns’ firing of coach Rob Chudzinski

INDIANAPOLIS: Former Browns coach Rob Chudzinski was chatting in the lobby bar at the J.W. Marriott hotel Saturday night, when a man he had never met approached.

The man shook Chudzinski’s hand, told him how unfairly he thought he had been treated, wished him well and offered his business card.

“That was another one,” Chudzinski said, flashing the card before he tucked it in his pocket.

Since Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, the supporter’s reaction has been a common theme. Many who know Chudzinski, worked with him, played for him or played for the Browns believe he got a raw deal when he was fired Dec. 29 after less than 12 months on the job.

Former Browns secondary coach Chuck Pagano, the Indianapolis Colts coach who recently hired Chudzinski as his special assistant, couldn’t get the words out fast enough when encountered crossing the street after having dinner with Chudzinski on Thursday. Pagano, who has known Chudzinski since 1986 at the University of Miami, had just coerced a local cab driver to give Chudzinski a free ride to his car on the other side of Lucas Oil Stadium.

Former Browns tight end Steve Heiden, who played for Chudzinski in Cleveland in 2004 and in 2007-08, was another who immediately brought it up. Heiden is beginning his second season as the Arizona Cardinals assistant special teams/assistant tight ends coach.

Chudzinski was sitting at a table with former Browns offensive coordinator and receivers coach Terry Robiskie, who worked with Chudzinski in Cleveland in 2004 and has been a friend and mentor since.

Members of the national media, many still marveling over Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s quick trigger finger, wondered whether Chudzinski would have been given a second season if Haslam had first fired CEO Joe Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi, ousted Feb. 11.

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Some Insight into Rob Chudzinski's Role with the Colts

Thanks to the NFL Combine this week, we are hearing from a lot of people throughout the NFL in every organization, and that's no different with the Colts.  On Friday afternoon, general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano both met with the media in Indianapolis, and while neither of them said much of any importance (nobody did), they did offer some insight as to what Rob Chudzinski's role with the Colts will be.

Chudzinski, the former Browns head coach, was recently hired by the Colts as a special assistant to head coach Chuck Pagano.  At the time I really liked the move, but Brad Wells brought up some very legitimate concerns.  Former Colts head coach Rick Venturi and longtime Indianapolis Star beat writer Mike Chappell both had some questions as well.  And if I'm being honest, those concerns are very valid: what does this move mean for Pep Hamilton?  Because Chudzinski is still being paid by the Browns he can't have an official coaching staff position with another team yet, but this title that he has with the Colts means he will still get paid by the Browns, too.  Some have wondered whether Chudzinski would be a co-offensive coordinator with Pep Hamilton, and if that is the case you can clearly see how that might bring about problems.

Because we haven't really gotten much information on what Chudzinski's role with the Colts will be, it has allowed speculation to run rampant.  Yesterday at the Combine, we got some insight from Grigson and Pagano.  This is what Ryan Grigson had to say about Chudzinski's role:

"He is the special assistant to the head coach and that's his title. I'll say this, first and foremost Chud has a longstanding relationship with our head coach that goes a long ways back to college when Chuck (Pagano) was a graduate assistant, Chud was a player, I think a freshman. This business is about relationships, it's about trust. He's part of our family now. He's a resource. First and foremost, Chud is a resource. His role will continue to evolve. He's a great football mind to bounce things off of. He's going to do evaluations. He's going to help in all three phases. Special teams, defense, offense, player evaluation, game day, all those types of things to help our head coach and help our team and help us get better. I think it's a great pick up."

Chuck Pagano also talked about the addition of Chudzinski - a longtime friend - to his staff:

"Rob and I had a longstanding professional and personal relationship. Goes all the way back to 1986. I was a graduate assistant. It was my third year in coaching at the University of Miami as a grad assistant for Jimmy Johnson on that staff. Rob was a freshman tight end. It just so happened Alfredo Roberts, our tight ends coach, was a tight end on that same team. He's a much different guy today than he was then. I've known Chud for a long, long time. It's a great opportunity. It's a great hire for us. Chud's going to be a great resource. His title is special assistant to the head coach. He'll be heavily involved with a lot of things that I do on a daily basis and be a great resource for me. He's going to be a great resource for our entire coaching staff, not only our offensive staff, our defensive staff, special teams, game day management. He's a brilliant guy, a really bright guy, a really smart guy, a really good football coach and he's well versed in a lot of different areas. Kind of end all of the speculation of what he's going to be doing? Why is he here? We had an opportunity to add another piece to the puzzle which makes our team better, gets us one step closer to our ultimate goal, and that's hoisting a Lombardi and hopefully participating in Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix."

Both Grigson and Pagano said that Chudzinski a "resource."  Basically, according to what the two said at the Combine, Rob Chudzinski's first priority will be helping Chuck Pagano in his duties and will also be helping in all three phases of the games and helping to evaluate talent.  Neither one of them mentioned Chudzinski working specifically with the offense or with Pep Hamilton but rather that Chud will be working in all three areas of the game - offense, defense, and special teams.

If what Grigson and Pagano said about Chudzinski's role is true, then there's not much reason to worry for Colts fans as to how this move will work out.  When they first made the move I thought it was primarily made to help Pagano, and that sounds like what it is.  Granted, we always have to take into consideration that there are probably things that they don't want to tell us, but for the most part I don't think what they said is inaccurate.  Shortly after the season I advocated that Pagano should bring in someone as an assistant to help him, and it seems that he has done that.  We won't know for sure until we actually see it in action, but based on what Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano were saying in Indianapolis Friday, I think the hire of Rob Chudzinski can work very well for the Colts.

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Did former Browns coach Rob Chudzinski deserve better

Good for Rob Chudzinski.

The one-and-done Cleveland Browns coach wound up with a good team, a great young quarterback, a good coach and a good organization when the Colts hired him as a special assistant Saturday.

He deserved it after what he went through this past season, where he was hired in his dream job, then given all the support of the bottom row of a deck of cards. Chudzinski won’t be the last guy blindsided in the NFL, but it’s not pleasant to see.

Among the less palatable elements of the way the move went down were the leaks to national reporters during the Browns' final game. Among them -- which nobody has stood up and taken responsibility for -- was the claim that lack of effort from players did in Chudzinski as Browns coach. That claim was a farce. The Browns played for their coach; they had one stinker of a game against the Jets, something that happens to every team in the league. But to say there was a lack of effort from the Browns was simply not true.

Could Chudzinski’s decisions be questioned?

Of course.

Every coach has head-scratching moments. To think a first-year coach would not have them would have been ludicrous. Chudzinski made some decisions that didn't help him (like the timeout before the two-point conversion in New England).

Is it fair to wonder why the Browns didn't play better as the season went on?

Absolutely. And the coach bears some responsibility for that, but so too does the front office who built the team he was leading. Consider that every key free agent signed before 2013 was a backup with their former team. Consider the roster littered with guys who were signed for 2014, not 2013. Consider the complete absence of a running game and the mess at quarterback. (None of these are going to magically solve themselves for 2014, either.)

Then, too, consider the draft choices traded and choices acquired. The Browns gave up on the 2013 draft for picks in ’14. They made what looks like a smart move with Trent Richardson, but they did it for ’14.

Mike Pettine and his staff will benefit from all those moves, at Chudzinski’s expense. Pettine deserves a fresh slate and clean start, but to scapegoat one guy for all that happened in 2013 was simply wrong. And unfair.

CEO Joe Banner said the move to make Chudzinski one-and-done was not that unusual when he spoke the day Pettine was hired. It has been done before. Jim Mora was let go in Seattle, Mike Mularkey in Jacksonville, Hue Jackson in Oakland, Cam Cameron in Miami and Art Shell in Oakland, among a few others.

It happens. Not often, but it happens.

One of the guys it happened to was Pete Carroll way back in 1994. That stung Carroll badly. But he went on to win at USC and win the Super Bowl in Seattle.

Who knows where Chudzinski’s path takes him.

But he winds up in a good place, which he deserves.

He just deserved better in Cleveland.

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Rob Chudzinski hired by Colts

The Indianapolis Colts hired Rob Chudzinski on Saturday as a special assistant to the head coach. This means he'll work closely with Chuck Pagano, with whom Chudzinski has had a long professional relationship in the past. They worked together at the University of Miami for five years, and were together again in 2004. Chudzinski was fired earlier in the offseason after just one season as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

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Rob Chudzinski in mix for Ravens OC job

The Baltimore Sun mentions ex-Browns coach Rob Chudzinski as a candidate for the Ravens offensive coordinator vacancy.
Chudzinski's fit with the Ravens would be an awfully intriguing one. He likes his offenses to get vertical, which would seem to mesh perfectly with Joe Flacco's big arm and Torrey Smith's deep speed. As we know, Chudzinski also loves his tight ends. If the Ravens can re-sign Dennis Pitta -- he'll likely be franchise-tagged if not -- he becomes an even hotter name as a fantasy tight end. Other candidates mentioned for the Baltimore opening are ex-Redskins OC Kyle Shanahan, ex-Texans coach Gary Kubiak, in-house WRs coach Jim Hostler, Saints QBs coach Joe Lombardi, and Chiefs "spread game analyst" Brad Childress.

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Rob Chudzinski Fired by Cleveland Browns After Only One Season As Head Coach

Rob Chudzinski is done after one season as the Cleveland Browns’ head coach.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday night that Chudzinski was fired following the Browns’ 4-12 season that concluded with a 20-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Earlier in the day, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported the Browns would make Chudzinski’s firing official later in the week, but the team wasted no time in making the decision and announcing it.

The Browns’ front office reportedly wasn’t satisfied with the way Chudzinski managed his team, and the franchise likely will turn to New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien to fill their coaching vacancy, according to NFL Network’s Albert Breer.

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Chudzinskis welcome fourth child, third boy

Sheila and Rob Chudzinski celebrated the birth of their fourth child Monday morning, a boy.

The team did not release the new child's name, but he is the Chudzinski's third boy.

Congratulations to all, who are doing well, according to the team.

To prove there is one thing that can change a coach's schedule, Chudzinski canceled his normal noon news conference Monday for a 4 p.m. conference call.

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Steve Smith: Chudzinski was problem

Carolina Panthers veteran wide receiver Steve Smith said some of the team's problems on offense last season were caused by former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, now the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

"The prior offensive coordinator [Chudzinski] really was positioning himself to just apply for that head coaching job," Smith said Wednesday on a conference call with Seattle Seahawks reporters. "I think our offense suffered a little bit because of that.''

Smith, 34, a five-time Pro Bowler, felt Chudzinski had the Panthers get away from some of their strengths last season.

"At times, we got cute," Smith said. "We did things that weren't necessarily us, like the underutilizing of [running back] Mike Tolbert. But we're out of that. The past is the past."

Mike Shula, the former Alabama coach who was Carolina's quarterbacks coach last season, is the club's new offensive coordinator.

"I think Coach Shula is going to change things up, and he has so far," Smith said. "He just does little different things. Some of it looks small, but we're focusing more on the details, and that's the difference."

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Rob Chudzinski conducts 'learning camp'

After his first minicamp practice, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski talked about the importance of learning during this camp.

The Cleveland Browns held the first practice of their three-day voluntary minicamp on Tuesday, and rather than looking for perfection, coach Rob Chudzinski wanted to see retention of the information his staff has given to the players over the first two weeks of the offseason program.

Tuesday’s work was the first for the coaches with the players on the field. Under the current collective bargaining agreement, coaches can only be in the classroom with players for the first two weeks of the offseason.

“With these three days, it’s important to understand this is a learning camp as much as it is, or more so than it is an evaluation camp or an assessment camp,” Chudzinski said. “This is our first chance to get out on the field with these guys and really teach them on the field what we want, for them to understand how we want to practice and bring those things together.

“It’s great to be out there, finally get a chance to get out with these guys and get out on the field. Just seeing these guys out here for the first day, I was impressed with the team. I thought the energy, I thought the effort, I thought the focus were all outstanding, and this is a hungry group. That’s something to work with, for sure.”

Chudzinski said the coaches have “thrown a lot” at the players in the two weeks’ worth of meetings, and that’s a challenge the players have embraced.

“We get the playbook with just a little bit of time before we head here, and it’s pretty much getting in the book and visualizing it,” quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “When you come out here, it’s a little bit different. It’s a little bit faster, and I thought we responded really well offensively. The guys took the information the coaches have thrown at us, and they’re throwing a lot at us, and it’s been outstanding. The guys have really done a good job up to this point.”

In addition to the scheme changes being implemented on both sides of the football, the new Browns players have been acclimating themselves to the team.

“I was surprised about how much everybody was on the same page,” said outside linebacker Paul Kruger, whom the Browns signed in the first 24 hours of free agency in March. “It went a lot more fluid than I thought for the first day. It’s pretty good stuff. We’re all getting familiar with each other. Just getting to know each other and getting familiar, it went really well.”

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Chudzinski 'excited' for first Browns minicamp

After two weeks of workouts with strength and conditioning coach Brad Roll, the Cleveland Browns’ players will take the field and work with their position coaches and coordinators for the first time when the team opens up its voluntary minicamp at the Berea training facility Tuesday.

And first-year Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski could not be happier to get his charges onto the field for the first time.

“The exciting part, as a coach, is you get the chance to get out on the field and help guys get better,” Chudzinski said Monday during an appearance on “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford.” “The guys that are here, we’ll work with them and give them every chance to be the best that they can be and ultimately, help the team.”

While the players will not be in full pads or have contact per the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, Chudzinski said the minicamp is a “good opportunity” to see how the past two weeks of work translates to the practice field.

“We’re excited about getting out there,” Chudzinski said. “It’s just good to get out there and actually start coaching. This is the first opportunity. We have some team periods, and some periods of seven-on-seven to get a chance to really coach them up. It’s hard at this point because it’s so early to get evaluations, but we’ll get a little bit of that, an early assessment for that.

“We really want to make sure the guys understand us and get to know us. We need to get to know them, (making sure) that they understand how practice operates, the tempo that we want, the style and how practices are laid out and set up. We also want to start introducing our concepts from an Xs and Os standpoint and go out and get a chance to execute those things, and get a chance to work on some of the base techniques and lay the foundation for our team.”

Under Chudzinski’s direction, defensive coordinator Ray Horton will begin implementing his version of the 3-4 defense, a switch from the 4-3 the Browns had utilized under Dick Jauron in the last two seasons.

“We had a chance the last two weeks to install and go through some things on the playbook, and we’re actually using a computer program to do that, and we’ll get some game film to look at it,” Chudzinski said. “The guys had a chance to see it in the playbook, see it on tape and see how it works. Now, they’ll get a chance to get out on the field, and it’s a progression.”

In addition to the defense, the team’s three quarterbacks -- Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, and Thaddeus Lewis -- will be learning a new scheme, something Chudzinski referred to as “a process all three need to go through during the offseason.”

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Rob Chudzinski Used To Eat Dog Biscuits

If you are a fan of the Cleveland Browns, you couldn’t ask for a more passionate coach than Rob Chudzinski. While he wasn’t the flashiest option available – not by a wide margin – Chudzinski had something no other head coaching candidate had this offseason: a true love for the Browns.

Oh, and the willingness to eat dog biscuits.

Last week, Chudzinski told PFT Live that he was such a rabid fan of the Browns as a kid that he did, in fact, eat dog treats, along with watching the game outside to simulate being at the stadium.

“There was occasional dog biscuits consumed,” Chudzinski said on Thursday’s edition of PFT Live. “I wouldn’t tell you they tasted very good, but we did that on occasion.”

How Chudzinski performs as a head coach remains to be seen, but no one was going to enter this job with the kind of passion he brings. This story of a fan-turned-coach has been undersold, though it should gain plenty of traction as the season draws near. Especially if there are more dog biscuit-eating tales to be told.

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Rob Chudzinski says it’s “premature” to call Brandon Weeden 2013 starter

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski answered one burning question about the team’s offense during a session with the media at the Senior Bowl on Wednesday.

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner will be calling the plays while Chudzinski focuses on the bigger picture responsibilities of the head coach. It’s not a particularly surprising decision given Turner’s long history as a successful coordinator, but it’s been confirmed all the same. What’s still up in the air is the quarterback who will be executing Turner’s plays.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Chudzinski said it was “premature” to say that Brandon Weeden would be the team’s starter in 2013. New vice president of player personnel Mike Lombardi panned the Weeden pick in his previous role as an NFL Network analyst, but said last week that he needs time to form an opinion of the quarterback. Turner, who is also in Mobile, said that Weeden has “a lot of the skillset” and a big arm while cautioning that he’s just started watching tape.

Turner also said Colt McCoy has been “productive when he played” so it’s probably better just to focus on the parts where the Browns say that they are taking their time to evaluate what’s on hand. It’s the approach any new coaching staff and front office should take about the entire team, especially when you’ll be changing the offense from the system Pat Shurmur ran for the last two seasons.

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Rob Chudzinski smart not to clean house

CLEVELAND, OHIO -- At this point, the only real news about Norv Turner would have been if he had changed his mind about becoming the Browns offensive coordinator.

It seems from the moment the Browns hired Rob Chudzinski as their new head coach, word was Turner would be joining the staff to run the offense.

That was good news back then, and there's even better news now as the Browns not only officially announced Turner, they also named five other coaches.
Actually, two of them are already on the staff -- Chris Tabor and George Warhop.

This is where Chudzinski impresses, as new coaches so often want to rip up the old staff and bring in their own guys.

Warhop is a respected offensive line coach. He was hired by Eric Mangini in 2009, retained by Pat Shurmur and now has the same position with Chudzinski. The Browns added a second offensive line coach in Mike Sullivan.

The point is the Browns had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. The only member inherited by Warhop is All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas. The others came to the Browns and developed under Warhop's watch.

So when a team finally has a solid line, the last thing you do is change offensive line coaches.

And Chudzinski didn't fall into that trap.

The same with Chris Tabor, who rebounded from a rocky rookie year in 2011 to assemble one of the best special teams in 2012. Football Outsiders rated them No. 2 in the NFL, behind Baltimore.

In a casual conversation, Phil Dawson raved to me about the growth of the special teams under Tabor this season. He mentioned how it was a very young group, and Tabor had to continually make adjustments to the coverage groups.

In some ways, keeping Tabor and Warhop is nearly as important as adding Turner -- because the Browns can't keep changing everything every two years when a new head coach arrives.

But obviously, Turner is a major addition.

He has been a head coach for 15 years with three different teams. Chudzinski had worked for Turner twice, and he is wise to add this 60-year-old veteran as his mentor.

Turner was fired after a 7-9 record with San Diego, his offense ranking 31st -- yes, even below the Browns.

But the previous four years, the Chargers offense was ranked 6-1-10-11. He is respected as an offensive coordinator who had success with Dallas and some other teams.

Like Chudzinski, Turner is not married to one system.

Chudzinski had success with the stationary Derek Anderson (Browns 2007) and the athletic Cam Newton (Carolina 2011-12). Turner developed Philip Rivers into a top 10 quarterback, and has success stories going back to Troy Aikman with Dallas in the early 1990s.

It's easy to imagine Turner and Chudzinski looking at video of Brandon Weeden and asking: "OK, what does he do well? How can we make him better?"

Maybe Weeden will fail as an NFL quarterback. Or maybe he will improve next season simply because he's no longer a rookie, and experience is critical.

And maybe that West Coast Offense was not the right fit for Weeden in 2012 because it was very different from his scheme at Oklahoma State.

But this much is certain: If Weeden doesn't produce with these two coaches, he has no long-term future as a starting quarterback.

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Browns introduce Rob Chudzinski

CLEVELAND -- The Browns have always been a part of Rob Chudzinski's life. Now, he's the man in charge.

Chudzinski, who spent the past two seasons as Carolina's offensive coordinator, was introduced as the club's sixth full-time coach on Friday, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the 44-year-old who as a kid pretended he played tight end for the Browns during games in his backyard in Toledo, Ohio.

"It is a dream come true," Chudzinski said. "I can't wait to get started."

Chudzinski inherits a young roster that he'll try to develop into a contender with the Browns, who have lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons and made the playoffs only once since 1999.

Chudzinski previously worked as an assistant with the Browns, most recently as their offensive coordinator in 2008. Although he has no previous head coaching experience, owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are confident they hired the best possible candidate available to turn their club into a consistent winner.

"I would not miss the chance for the world." Chudzinski said. "We're going to win here."

The Browns hauled their search to find the 14th coach in franchise history to Arizona and back. They talked to high-profile college coaches, NFL assistants and a fired pro coach who took a team to a Super Bowl.

None of them was hired.

Instead, Chudzinski became their pick.

"I believe we came back with the best coach for the Cleveland Browns," said Haslam, who flew Thursday night with Banner to Charlotte, N.C., to offer Chudzinski the job. "He is one of the brightest young coaches in the business."

Chudzinski's first move will be to hire his staff. He will immediately meet with the assistants currently working for the Browns. Chudzinski would not comment on any possible candidates to become his coordinators. There are reports he is considering former San Diego coach Norv Turner to run his offense. Chudzinski worked for Turner with the Chargers.

"I have a plan in place," he said. "We're going to get a great staff. We have a young group of players. This is going to be about the process. Lots of people are worried about the end result, but this is going to be the right process to get us where we want to be."

Now that they've hired their coach, Haslam and Banner will focus on finding a new general manager to help pick players for Chudzinski, who will be involved in finding the GM.

The new coach -- "Chud," as he's known to players and friends -- worked with the Browns' tight ends in 2004 and was their offensive coordinator in 2007, when the team won 10 games -- their most since an expansion rebirth in 1999. He was released when Romeo Crennel was fired in 2008.

Chudzinski said that when he walked off the field after the final game that season, he knew he would be coming back to Cleveland "someday, somehow."

Chudzinski replaces Pat Shurmur, another first-time coach when he was hired, who was fired Dec. 31 after a 5-11 season. For the past two years, Chudzinski has worked with talented Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and resuscitated Carolina's offense, which was one of the league's worst before he arrived.

When Haslam and Banner embarked on their coaching search as 2013 began, the pair vowed they would wait as long as necessary to find "the right coach" for Cleveland. They promised to give their new coach final say over the roster and planned to pair him with an executive to help pick players.

Chudzinski wasn't seen by many as an option.

And then he became the choice.

Haslam said Chudzinski's passion for the Browns was a bonus, but he had all of the credentials and characteristics they were looking for in a new coach.
"If Rob was from Plano, Texas, we would have hired him," Haslam said.

Chudzinski said he wants a team that attacks on both sides of the ball. He would not comment on any of Cleveland's players, and sidestepped a question about rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who had an uneven season with the Browns.

Chudzinski interviewed with the team on Wednesday, when the club also visited with Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Chudzinski appeared to be a long shot for the job, not because he wasn't qualified, but because it was thought Haslam wanted to make a big splash with his first coaching hire.

However, Chudzinski wowed Haslam and Banner during his meeting, and the team decided it was time to end its search in its second week. Haslam said that 10 minutes into the interview, he nodded at Banner that they had found their man.

In his first season in Carolina, Chudzinski turned Newton, the No. 1 overall draft pick, loose, and the Panthers set club records for total yards (6,237) and first downs (345). Carolina also scored 48 touchdowns after getting just 17 in the season before Chudzinski arrived. The Panthers jumped from last in the league in total yardage to seventh, the biggest improvement since 1999.

Haslam pointed out the Panthers scored 88 touchdowns the past two seasons. Cleveland scored 44.

Following last season, Chudzinski interviewed for head coaching jobs with St. Louis, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay before returning to Carolina.

In getting the Browns' job, Chudzinski was picked over Zimmer; Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman of the CFL; fired Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt; and Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Whisenhunt was in Cleveland for a second interview on Thursday, and appeared to be the front-runner. The Browns also had been expected to interview Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

Chudzinski's hiring may have shocked some Cleveland fans, but his selection is in keeping with at least one of Banner's past moves. When he was in Philadelphia's front office, Banner went outside the box and hired Green Bay assistant Andy Reid, a relative unknown who spent 14 seasons with the Eagles before being fired Dec. 31.

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Rob Chudzinski doesn't look far for motivation

BEREA, Ohio -- Five years ago, Rob Chudzinski sat in a Cleveland Clinic waiting room discussing friendship, promises and the mortality of a man he had known since high school.

It was the summer of 2008 and Chudzinski listened to P.J. Miller calmly speak about the future of his family without him in it. The Toledo native and Strongsville resident was losing an eight-year battle with cancer.

Chudzinski's mind reeled as his fellow Toledo St. John's football co-captain laid out the sobering details and asked if he and a few close friends would keep watch over his wife, Jane, and their three children. His two boys, Jack and Matt, showed tremendous football potential and Miller wondered if the buddy everyone called "Chud" would shepherd them through their careers.

Fifteen years earlier, Chudzinski had toasted Miller as the best man in the couple's wedding. Six months later, he would eulogize him, asking a roomful of mourners to repeat "We thank you, P.J.," every time the coach recited another of Miller's good deeds.

On this day, however, Chudzinski's sole focus was honoring his friend's solemn request.

"He asked a few of us to help out," the Browns' new coach recalled this week. "It hit me square on that day I needed to live up to my responsibility."

At his introductory news conference, the lifelong Browns fan spoke Friday about wanting to deliver a winner to Cleveland. Chudzinski, 44, is a surprise choice to many, an accomplished assistant with no head coaching experience at the college or NFL level.

But 19-year-old Jack Miller believes nobody will work harder to turn around a franchise. He knows first-hand Chudzinski's loyalty and sacrifice, a man who friends say embodies the Jesuit brotherhood and the "men for others" philosophy.

"Chud is someone who lives up to his end of a bargain," Jack said by phone Saturday. "He would die before he would let down the people who are closest to him. I know I'm biased when I say this, but I think he is going to make a great coach for the Browns."

Same school to same street
Chudzinski has won national championships as a player and coach at the University of Miami. He transformed Derek Anderson into a Pro Bowler for one season in Cleveland and coordinated an offense that helped Cam Newton become an NFL Rookie of the Year in Carolina. But his oldest friends and best memories are rooted in Toledo and northwest Ohio.

The residents of Lucas and Wood counties are thrilled one of their own has become the Browns 14th full-time head coach. On Monday, St. John's students plan to wear Browns shirts to school and gather for a photo, board member and good friend Bert Brady said. They plan to send it to Chudzinski.

The son of an Ohio Air National Guard pilot, Chudzinski's passion for the Browns followed him through his formative years as the family moved from Toledo to Bowling Green to Fremont and back to Toledo. His love for the team has been well chronicled: Munching on dog biscuits, playing backyard football pretending to be tight end Ozzie Newsome, propping a television in the windows of his aunt's home to watch games in the chilly outdoors to simulate life in the Dawg Pound.

But it was at St. John's where the dreams of a slow-footed, yet sure-handed tight end manifested themselves. Chudzinski ran with a circle of athletic friends that included Brady, John Ragan, Mark Fabian and the gregarious, barrel-chested Miller. Each enjoyed success after graduation and many were influenced by former St. John's football coach Fred Beier, who died in 2004.

"You talk about discipline, you talk about toughness, you talk about work ethic that we need as part of a football team and the foundation of a football team," Chudzinski said. "Fred was instrumental in teaching those things and stressing those things."

Chudzinski carried those lessons to Coral Gables, Fla.

In a border town split between loyalties for Michigan and Ohio State, Chudzinski's friends became rabid Miami supporters as he won national titles in 1987 and '89. His playing days behind him, they watched as he ascended from a 27-year-old graduate assistant to a Hurricanes coach who molded the careers of future Pro Bowlers Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, Willis McGahee, Bryant McKinnie, Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow.

"During football season we didn't hear much from him because he was laser focused," Brady said. "But when it was over he always came home and he was always the same guy -- humble as hell."

In 2004, former Browns coach Butch Davis hired him as the team's tight end coach and after a two-year stint in San Diego he returned to Cleveland as the club's offensive coordinator under Romeo Crennel. He settled in the Strongsville development of Waterford Crossing and lived on the same street as two of his St. John's buddies, Fabian and Miller.

Miller, who worked in sales, had relocated to Cleveland after college and started a family with his wife, Jane. Friends teased him about being the "president of the Chud Fan Club" and digging a tunnel that ran between their homes. They had all grown up Browns fans and here was one of their own calling plays for a team that finished 10-6 in 2007 and sent four offensive players to the Pro Bowl.

"It was so much fun," said Chudzinski, who's married with three children. "Our wives probably didn't always appreciate it because we acted more guys in high school than in our 40s."

It wasn't so bad for the offspring, either. The Miller boys marveled at the good fortune of living in a neighborhood that included former Browns assistant Chuck Pagano and players such as Courtney Brown and Ross Verba. Jack, who attended St. Edward High School for two years, babysat for the Chudzinskis in exchange for game tickets. He met all the players and stood in the stadium tunnel after games, once shaking hands with Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

"It was a fairy tale, it was a surreal life for a kid who grew up a Browns fan," said Jack Miller, who also has a younger sister. Molly, 15. "Chud always hooked us up, he always took care of us."

Their father, P.J., who was ailing from Hodgkin's lymphoma, realized as much. As the boys showed promise on the football field, the president of the Chud Fan Club knew who he wanted to guide them after he was gone.

Promise kept
During Chudzinski's introductory news conference, owner Jimmy Haslam expressed confidence his new coach would earn the players' respect. Fabian witnessed it at a 2008 fund raiser for Miller. The Browns offensive coordinator encouraged his players to attend and participate in a silent auction. Anderson, Brady Quinn and Josh Cribbs, among others, donated time and money.

"I was so impressed that I went around and thanked the players," Fabian said. "All they kept telling me was, 'We're here for a good cause and we're here because of Chud. We would do anything for him.'"

P.J. Miller died on Feb. 18, 2009 at 40, surrounded by his closest friends. A few days later, Chudzinski celebrated his life with a eulogy, its message still potent enough to move men such as Fabian to tears.

"He was such a good man and a good father," Chudzinski said. "He and Jane did such a great job raising those kids. They are so mature for their age and they're really good students."

The family returned to Toledo three years ago and Jack and Matt played football for their father's alma mater. All of dad's friends assisted in his children's mentorship.

As the boys went through the college recruiting process, Chudzinski counseled them at every turn. They talked about the best fits. They talked about the best programs. Mostly, they talked about life and honoring the wishes of a father.

Matt Miller, who turns 18 on Sunday, has accepted a full ride to Wisconsin. The youngest boy still speaks to Chudzinski three times a week as he prepares for college. Jack Miller earned a scholarship to Michigan two years ago. He's expected to be the Wolverines' starting center next season as a red-shirt sophomore. He wears the No. 60 in tribute to his dad's uniform number at St. John's.

Jack Miller plays for Wolverines coach Brady Hoke, who spent eight seasons as a Michigan assistant before returning nine years later to guide the program. The 6-foot-4, 288-pound center sees similarities between Hoke and Chudzinski.

"They understand what tradition means and what it means to the fans," Jack Miller said. "No one is more deserving of this opportunity than Chud. I think the stars are aligned. ... He wants to be here and no one will expect more of himself."

Jack Miller's father had known it for years.

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Browns hire Rob Chudzinski as new coach

A person familiar with the decision says the Cleveland Browns have hired Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski as their new coach.

Chudzinski will become the Browns' sixth full-time coach since 1999, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday night on the condition of anonymity because the team has not yet announced the hiring. The 44-year-old Chudzinski has spent the past two seasons with the Panthers. He has had two previous stints with the Browns as an assistant coach.

Chudzinski, who grew up in Ohio and rooted for the Browns as a kid, interviewed with the team on Wednesday. He has spent the past two years working with quarterback Cam Newton.

The Browns have been searching for a coach since firing Pat Shurmur on Dec. 31 after a 5-11 season.

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Browns talk with Rob Chudzinski

CLEVELAND -- The Browns are interviewing Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski for their coaching job, league sources confirmed to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Chudzinski, who has had two previous stints as an assistant with Cleveland, is visiting the team's facility in Berea, Ohio, on Wednesday.

His interview had earlier been reported by the Plain Dealer.

Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are in Week 2 of their search to find a "strong leader" to take over the Browns, who went 5-11 this season.

The Browns reportedly interviewed Marc Trestman, coach of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, on Tuesday.

After meeting with Chudzinski, the Browns are expected to interview Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The Colts have granted the Browns permission to speak with Arians, who has been hospitalized twice in recent days with an inner ear infection.

Arians fell ill on Sunday and had to miss the Colts' playoff loss to Baltimore.

Arians also has ties to the Browns, serving as their offensive coordinator from 2001-03.

Fox Sports reported the team will interview Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, the first known defensive coach to meet with the Browns.

The Browns met late last week with Chip Kelly but decided to reboot their search for a coach after leaving Arizona late Sunday morning without landing the Oregon coach.

Chudzinski, 44, has spent the past two seasons with the Panthers working with quarterback Cam Newton. Carolina finished fifth in total offense in 2011 and 12th last season under Chudzinski. He was Cleveland's tight ends coach in 2004 but was fired along with the rest of Butch Davis' staff. He returned to the club in 2007 as the offensive coordinator for Romeo Crennel.

Last year, Chudzinski interviewed for head-coaching jobs with St. Louis, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.

Chudzinski's connections with the Browns run deep.

He grew up in Toledo, Ohio, pulling for the Browns, and he was thrilled to be part of Davis' staff. After he left Cleveland the first time, he spent two seasons as San Diego's tight ends coach, working with perennial Pro Bowl standout Antonio Gates, before he was hired by Crennel in 2007.

That year, the Browns won 10 games -- their most wins since 1999 -- and had four players make the Pro Bowl. However, 2008 didn't go nearly as well, as injuries and a six-game losing streak to close the season resulted in a 4-12 record and the firing of Crennel.

Chudzinski went back to the Chargers for two more seasons before he was hired in Carolina.

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