Norv Turner: Browns Wise to Hire Former Coach as New Offensive Coordinator

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 30:  Head coach Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers on the sidelines during a 24-21 win over the Oakland Raiders to end a 6-10 season at Qualcomm Stadium on December 30, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Norv Turner is one of the best offensive minds in the NFL and will make a great offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns.

According to Nate Davis of USA Today, new head coach Rob Chudzinski feels the same way. One of the first moves he made was to hire his former boss to run the offense.

At first glance, this seems like a risky hire. Turner has failed as a head coach at multiple stops, compiling a career record of 118-126-1 (including playoffs). In 15 seasons in the league, he's only had three seasons of 10 or more wins.

However, his real skill is an ability to run an offense, not an entire team. When the pressure of being in charge is off, the veteran coach has been very successful.

Turner's first job as an offensive coordinator came in the early 1990s with the Dallas Cowboys. In his first year, the team ranked No. 7 in total points scored. That number improved to No. 2 in each of the next two seasons, both of which ended with Dallas winning the Super Bowl.

The team displayed great balance on offense with Troy Aikman leading the passing game and Emmitt Smith being the focal point of a great rushing attack.

Over the next 20 years, Turner has only been an offensive coordinator for four more seasons total with three different teams. 

Despite not having much time to implement his systems, his teams still saw a decent amount of success. At every new stop, his teams scored more points than they did the year before.

While these offenses did not match the success of the Cowboys, it is important to look at what Turner had to work with over this time. His starting quarterbacks over this stretch were Doug Flutie, Ray Lucas, Jay Fiedler and Alex Smith.

This group does not resemble what he had in Aikman.

As a result, the offenses relied mostly on the run. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 1,236 yards in his rookie season. Frank Gore had a career-high of 1,695 rushing yards. Ricky Williams led the NFL with 1,853 rushing yards. 

Looking at the current Browns roster, this is exactly what the team needs. The jury is still out whether Brandon Weeden can be a starting-level quarterback, but running back Trent Richardson has loads of talent.

Unfortunately, the rookie running back was not given much opportunity to succeed. The offensive line struggle to create space for Richardson and he finished with an average of only 3.6 yards per carry.

Turner knows what it takes to get the running game going and that will help set up the rest of the offense to succeed.

In addition, his previous relationship with Chudzinski should help make a smooth transition with the new team. The head coach should be able to trust Turner to make adjustments when necessary, as opposed to questioning any moves and struggling over power. 

There is a lot of talent on Cleveland's roster. However, the squad is still young and has room to improve before it starts winning games.

The good news is that adding Norv Turner to the coaching staff is a big step in the right direction toward creating a winning program.