By Bruce Hooley
Jim Donovan has called a lot of bad Browns football over the years, and he’s started over with a lot of new front office and new coaching regimes. Donovan gave his thoughts about the latest new approach in an extended interview with Vic Carucci, the host of Cleveland Browns Daily, heard from 6-7 p.m. Monday-Friday on ESPN 850 WKNR.
What do you think of the hiring of Norv Turner as offensive coordinator?
“It was great for me to meet Norv Turner…To sit there and know he’s now on your team is very comforting. I think he has some very good ideas…in how he wants the team to play. They want to play fast. They want to play aggressive.”
How about your initial impressions of Ray Horton?
“Meeting Ray Horton was interesting, too. The theme there was, ‘Big guys who can run and little guys who can hit. Give me that and I’ll be fine.’…It really comes down to the fundamentals and wanting to make plays.”
What’s the key for the Browns in 2013?
"You have to have the quarterback….You’ve gotta have it. Norv being able to develop it should be very comforting to Browns fans…The fact of the matter is, if Brandon Weeden is going to make it, and hopefully he’s going to make it here, I think he’s in the best possible hands to make that happen now.”
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said during Super Bowl week there would be competition for the quarterback job. What if they didn’t go with Weeden?
“(Haslam) hinted as though, whether it’s Weeden remains to be seen, it does seem there will be some sort of a competition to win the job with the Browns’ quarterbacks. This position will be won by somebody. Maybe Weeden will get a leg up because he played in 15 games last year. I think the fact the job will not just be handed to him is interesting that it will go that way. I think it’s productive, too, that (Weeden, or whoever, will) really have to come out and win this thing to win the job.”
What are the ramifications of that?
“In one way, if I’m Brandon Weeden, I’m sitting here and (saying), ‘Boy, they put together a great staff, topped off by the head coach, and certainly with Norv Turner…Number two, it looks like I’m going to have to dance for my supper a little bit and work to win the job.’ I don t think that’s bad.”
How crucial is it to get the quarterback decision right?
“The basic here is, unless you have a quarterback, I think you’re going to be limited. That is a very rare thing that Baltimore did that one year when it won that first Super Bowl and did it with Trent Dilfer managing the game and just letting its defense just tee off. That just doesn’t happen anymore. You have to make plays. And you have to have a guy in that position that I think everybody in the organization has to be on board with.”
Quarterback may stay the same, but the defense appears to be headed for a change from the 4-3 employed under Dick Jauron to a 3-4 coached by Ray Horton.
“This is a concern around town. It really is. People are very concerned about this. It’s not that they didn’t applaud the fact of Ray Horton’s coming here. But they are concerned about the configuration of the Browns and having to make big adjustments. The question being, ‘Can the players make the adjustments now to a different style of defense? Do we have right players here currently on the roster?’ Or, ‘Are we going to go into the spin cycle again and try to come up with something?’ It really has concerned Browns fans. (The) 3-4 is a tough number in Cleveland right now.”
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