- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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A look at what to expect as the Cleveland Browns begin the Rob Chudzinski era:
Biggest change to expect: It's hard to pinpoint the biggest change. Since Chudzinski -- the only new head coach in the AFC North -- was hired, few aspects of the Browns have remained the same. The team will look completely different in every phase of the game. On offense, Chudzinski and coordinator Norv Turner favor a downfield passing attack, which is the exact opposite of the West Coast attack under former coach Pat Shurmur. Defensively, the Browns will go from a 4-3 defense to a more attacking 3-4 under coordinator Ray Horton, who blitzes more often than most. And on special teams, Cleveland will replace two Pro Bowl specialists in kicker Phil Dawson and returner Josh Cribbs. It's been a major overhaul in terms of attitude and philosophy.
What success would look like: Getting the offense on track. When owner Jimmy Haslam introduced Chudzinski as his new head coach, he spoke about how the Browns will score more points. Putting together a functional offense has been a struggle since Cleveland returned to the NFL in 1999. In 14 seasons, the Browns have ranked 23rd or worse 13 times and finished among the bottom four offenses eight times. The Browns have the talent -- offensive tackle Joe Thomas, center Alex Mack, running back Trent Richardson and wide receiver Josh Gordon -- to field a much more respectable offense. It would be a setback if the Browns can't score more than 18.9 points per game, which was last year's average.
Question that needs an answer: Who is the quarterback of the future? This has been a question the Browns have been asking for years. Even though Chudzinski hasn't named a starting quarterback, Brandon Weeden is expected to hold on to that job for a second season. Weeden has the big arm that Chudzinski wants out of his quarterback. But Chudzinski isn't married to Weeden because it was the old regime that drafted the 29-year-old quarterback. The Browns have to figure out if Weeden is their franchise quarterback this year. If not, they'll use a first-round pick on another quarterback next year.
More or fewer wins? More. This isn't really going out on a limb because they won only five games last season. The Browns, though, were better than their record indicated. Five of Cleveland's losses were by seven points or fewer. The Browns often hurt themselves because of Shurmur's conservative style. Chudzinski is the exact opposite, emphasizing an attacking mindset on both sides of the ball. If nothing else, the Browns will be more exciting to watch this season.