The Browns have hired a new head coach. His name is Rob Chudzinski, he’s 44 years old, and he’s been an assistant coach in the NFL for years, including two prior stints with the Browns.
Will Chud be a stud? Who knows? Most recently, he’s been the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. They didn’t make the playoffs this year, but their offense was better than the Browns. Chudzinski’s supposed to be great at developing young quarterbacks — but then, so was Pat Shurmur, and we all saw how that Browns hire turned out. So, we’ve got a young guy who’s never been a head coach in the NFL before, trying to turn around a franchise that has given its fans awful teams over the past few years. It will be a big challenge for him, just as it was a big challenge for Shurmur, whose resume was just like Chudzinski’s. I hope the Browns hired Chudzinski because they thought he would be a good head coach, and not for other reasons, like his being willing to agree to restrictions on his authority that other coaches wouldn’t accept.
Lots of people are ripping the Browns about the choice. They may be right, or they may not. Since their return to the league, the Browns have hired hot NFL assistants, hot college coaches, and former NFL head coaches. They’ve all stunk up the joint. I’m not sure there is anything magical, or predictable, about who will be successful as an NFL head coach. It’s a weird job that requires a unique combination of football savvy, talent spotting and development ability, management skill, inspirational leadership, PR awareness, and a number of other characteristics. I don’t think you know whether a candidate will succeed until you make them a head coach and see how they perform. Chudzinski could bomb, or he could do well. We won’t know for a while.
In the meantime, I’ll just content myself that the name “Chudzinski” fits well with an ethnic, blue-collar town like Cleveland. And “Chud” allows for lots of good rhymes and puns, whether the team’s performance blows (dud, crud, mud, thud) or is unexpectedly good (stud, bud) or just funny (spud, tastebud, cud). That will have to do for now.