CLEVELAND — Rob Chudzinski is dipping back into his Chargers past again for help in running his new football team.
After settling on former Chargers head coach Norv Turner to be his offensive coordinator, the Browns' new head coach is targeting Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano for the same position here, a source confirmed for the Plain Dealer.
Pagano as a likely replacement for Dick Jauron was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter. Pagano, who primarily runs a 3-4 front, led the Chargers to a No. 9 ranking in his first season as defensive coordinator in 2012.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid asked for permission to interview Pagano, according to Schefter, but the Chargers — who are still looking for a head coach — wouldn't let him out of his contract. Reid went on to hire Jets linebackers coach Bob Sutton. It's unknown if the Chargers will grant the Browns permission to interview Pagano.
Chudzinski worked with Turner and Pagano during his two stints in San Diego, in 2005-06 as tight ends coach and 2009-10 as assistant head coach/tight ends. Turner is expected to be named offensive coordinator when he returns from a vacation in Hawaii with his family, a source told the Plain Dealer.
Pagano, 45, is the younger brother of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, the former Browns assistant. When his brother was hired by the Colts last year, John Pagano spoke to the Indianapolis media on a conference call and provided some insight into their defensive philosophy.
"It's funny because I got the same types of questions when I took the [job] in San Diego," John Pagano said. "They said I was a 3-4 guy, but I've coached in a 4-3 and a 3-4. We do multiple fronts, and we have multiple looks. Baltimore was a 4-3 and a 3-4. They play those different types of hybrid defenses that really are game-changing types of defenses. Whatever your personnel suits you, you're going to be in certain types of fronts and certain types of coverages whether it's a 3-4 or a 4-3."
He went on to explain, "the biggest difference between a 4-3 and a 3-4 is that you have a lot more linebackers in a 3-4 and you have a little bit bigger linebackers who can stand up and come off the edge, which are just like 4-3 defensive ends."
The longest-tenured assistant on the Chargers' coaching staff, Pagano took over as coordinator in 2012 after four years as linebackers coach.
He led the Chargers to a No. 6 rank against the run and were 16th in points allowed.