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Published: 7/29/2007

Chud leaves big impression

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Chudzinski Chudzinski
TONY DEJAK / AP Enlarge

BEREA, Ohio The Browns offensive players compliment Rob Chudzinski even when he isn t the direct topic of conversation.

When he is, what comes next would make him blush.

Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was asked yesterday how excited he was to be reunited with Chudzinski, the Browns first-year offensive coordinator, after working with him at the University of Miami and his rookie year with the Browns. He kept it simple.

I think he is the best coach in the NFL, Winslow said.

Chudzinski, a Toledo native back this year for his second stint with the Browns, impressed the Cleveland front office so quickly during his interview he was hired the same day. He s had the same effect on the players.

Hired in January from San Diego, Chud handed out massive playbooks when he arrived. The sheer amount of information to learn might have intimidated the players at first, but once he started working with the offense in minicamp, their attitude changed.

I think it s Chud s personality, the way he comes in and presents it to us, quarterback Derek Anderson said in response to a question about the difference in offenses. His excitement about the game and the excitement about our team is bringing a new life and a new energy to us.

Chudzinski, 39, played in college at Miami after playing for coach Fred Beier at St. John s Jesuit. He stayed there as a coach for 10 years before he got his first NFL job as the Browns tight ends coach in 2004.

After the coaching change that season, Chudzinski interviewed with Romeo Crennel but decided to take a job under Marty Schottenheimer as tight ends coach at San Diego. Two years later, he decided it was time to come back home to Ohio.

Based on the last time I was here, I think you all know how I feel about this place growing up a Browns fan, Chudzinski said when he was hired. It s close to my heart and I couldn t pass up the opportunity to come back.

Although Chudzinski had top-notch players to work with in San Diego in LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers, Browns general manager Phil Savage sweetened the deal this spring in the draft and free agency. He added running back Jamal Lewis, quarterback Brady Quinn and offensive linemen Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach, among others.

The offense stresses using the Browns strengths, which include Lewis, Winslow and receiver Braylon Edwards, as well as the versatility of players like Josh Cribbs.

We want to be an attacking offense, be up-tempo and be rock-solid in our fundamentals, Chudzinski said.

With the starting quarterback up in the air, the offense might need to be tweaked to fit the styles of Anderson or Charlie Frye, but Chudzinski said that is a secondary issue.

Managing the offense and being a leader, I think, are the most critical things in being a good quarterback, Chudzinski said. Things like having a strong arm and how mobile you are will fall into the rest of those things.

Winslow likes the new offense because he feels it s always in attack mode. He called Chudzinski a genius in developing it.

He came from San Diego, was in Cleveland before that and Miami before that, so he has taken some stuff from each offense and is implementing it all into his own, Winslow said.

With a bunch of new pieces to manage, Chudzinski hasn t had many days off since coming back to Cleveland. But that has only upped his already lofty stature in the eyes of the Browns.

He has everybody s respect, Frye said. He demands that, and he really takes control.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:mfulton@theblade.comor 419-724-6160



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