If there is one thing that stood out during the Cleveland Browns‘ new head coach Rob Chudzinski’s introductory press conference, it was talking about using players to their strengths. Too many times last season, Pat Shurmur was seen on the sidelines with a completely clueless look on his face. Kiss those days good bye, I hope.
For the past six months, I have said that Shurmur and his staff were stunting the growth of some of the key players. For this reason alone, Browns fans should not give up on Brandon Weeden. With some proper coaching, Weeden has the tools to solidify the ever-changing position that is the Browns’ quarterback. If Chudzinski made Derek Anderson a Pro Bowler, then he definitely could do the same for Weeden.
Although Trent Richardson missed the pre-season and played injured for most of the year, TRich was another player Shurmur screwed up on. It is clear that Richardson’s style is more lethal in the open field and outside the tackles. Chudzinski needs to realize that and utilize the former first round pick in that manner.
This next one really upset me this past season. When you have a speedster on your team, use him. Travis Benjamin was a steal in the fourth round for Cleveland. With the exception of one costly fumble that changed the momentum in that game, every time Benjamin got a chance, he excelled. The speedy Benjamin had 18 receptions and two touchdowns. He also added another touchdown on a special teams punt return. Case in point: Torrey Smith of the Baltimore Ravens.
Shurmur goofed up with more than a handful of players, but there are two more that stick out: Josh Cooper and Brad Smelley. Both of these players flashed potential, but were hardly used. Most orange and brown fans were excited about Cooper; he was the second favorite receiver to Weeden at Oklahoma State University and had great hands. If given the opportunity, Cooper could be a Wes Welker-type football player. Yet, the Browns did not use him, as he spent the majority of the season either on the practice squad or inactive for game day.
Smelley was a seventh round pick from the Alabama Crimson Tide. He can block and has soft hands out of the backfield. Yet, the Browns stuck with Owen Marecic, who did not block well and dropped every pass thrown to him.
If coach Chudzinski wants to win the fans of the Browns, he must utilize players to their fullest ability. It is certain if Chudzinski plays dumb conservative football like Shurmur did and does not realize he has talent on the sidelines, it could get ugly real quick. Exciting and winning football is what these fans deserve.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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