Missing out on the offensive-minded Chip Kelly, the Cleveland Browns have gone back to the well and are now interviewing Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski for their vacant head coaching job.
A former offensive coordinator for the Browns, Chudzinski helped lead the Carolina Panthers to their best offensive season in team history in 2011. Following the season there was plenty of buzz in NFL circles, as Chud was coveted by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but ultimately returned to the Panthers in what was thought to be their breakout year.
The off-season question this year was whether Rob Chudzinski would remain in Carolina at all, not because of coaching buzz but because of being fired. His insistence on the read-option offense derailed the Panthers' offense before it could begin, misusing running backs, and putting too much on Cam Newton's shoulders. The offense faltered, and it wasn't until late in the year that they got things back on track, which largely involved rolling back many of Chudzinski's implementations.
#Browns fans should get excited about the Rob Chudzinski interview. Great coordinator, head coach material and bleeds orange and brown.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 9, 2013
Panthers fans may be excited too!
There's no doubting that Rob Chudzinski is a talented coordinator, but he is a large part of the reason the Panthers finished with nine losses this year. Sean McDermott improved the defense by huge measures, and the team only needed the offense to stay the course in order to have success. Instead, the scheme crossed into 'mad scientist' territory, and ultimately put Carolina in a hole too deep to dig out from.
If the Browns elect to hire Chud, it would be a major shift in Carolina's offense -- one that may be needed. Ron Rivera has expressed a desire to bring someone with head coaching experience, and this could be the spot to find one.