The 2014 Browns’ Coordinators

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AP BROWNS GORDONS FUTURE FOOTBALL S FBN USA OHKyle Shanahan (Offensive Coordinator) – Kyle Shanahan has been around football his entire life, which naturally happens when one grows up as a coach’s son. He graduated from The University of Texas in 2003 and took his first coaching job as a graduate assistant coach at UCLA. Kyle is the son of two-time Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan. He spent time in his early career coaching under John Gruden in Tampa Bay as Wide Receivers Coach and as Quarterbacks Coach with Gary Kubiak in Houston. Kyle bypassed an offer to become Offensive Coordinator for The University of Minnesota in 2007, indicating his aspiration to be a coach in the NFL. Shortly afterwards, he became leading candidate to replace Mike Sherman as the Texans’ Offensive Coordinator. The promotion made Shanahan the youngest Coordinator in the NFL and he would hold that position from 2010-2012, which is when his father came calling. Kyle Shanahan joined the Washington Redskins and served as the Offensive Coordinator under his father Mike Shanahan. In late December 2013, both Shanahans were fired from the Redskins. Kyle would bounce back quickly by being hired by the Cleveland Browns on February 1st, 2014 to fill their Offensive Coordinator vacancy and coach under first time head coach Mike Pettine.

Mike Shanahan is widely renowned for his ability to operate a zone run scheme that produced multiple 1,000 yard rushers and a potent offense during his time with the Denver Broncos. Kyle has found success using a similar attack. However, it is Kyle Shanahan’s ability to adapt his offense to best utilize the players he has that earned him the position in Cleveland. Kyle successfully crafted a zone read scheme in Washington that allowed Robert Griffin III to thrive as a rookie. The Browns are hopeful that he can do the same thing for their young quarterbacks.

Shanahan already has shown that he will run one type of offense when Brian Hoyer is on the field and a different one when Johnny Manziel is calling the signals. Shanahan will attempt to play to each quarterback’s different strengths. Hoyer has taken snaps from the gun and under center, using the zone blocking run game with play action pocket passing, while Manziel has been in the pistol, using more of a mobile pocket mixed with designed runs for himself. Either way the Browns running game should improve greatly in the Shanahan’s infamous zone blocking scheme.

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Jim O’Neil (Defensive Coordinator) – The Browns’ Defensive Coordinator Jim O’Neil had been with head coach Mike Pettine for 5 years prior to being hired as the Browns’ new Defensive Coordinator. Pettine was the New York Jets Defensive Coordinator from 2009-2012 and O’Neil served on his staff each year. He specialized in coaching the secondary and defensive backs in his time with the Jets. When Pettine relocated as Defensive Coordinator with the Buffalo Bills, O’Neil accompanied him. In 2013, he served as the Bills’ Linebackers Coach, once again under Pettine.

When O’Neil was coaching the Jets’ secondary for four seasons they never finished worse than sixth in the league against the pass and finished 1st in 2009. Over the span in which O’Neil coached the Jets’ defensive backs, they also finished first in opposing quarterback ranking for the whole four years he was there combined. Under O’Neil’s tutelage, Darrell Revis went to three Pro Bowls, while Laron Landry and Antonio Cromartie each were selected in 2012.

O’Neil is just 35 years old and brings a high energy approach to coaching his defense. O’Neil and Pettine are known for a defensive scheme that relies on a run stopping front seven and excellent corners that can be trusted to defend one on one. Under O’Neil, the Browns’ defense will be aggressive in stopping the run and forcing obvious passing situations which is when he will send a variety of exotic blitzes. Excellent corners are a must in O’Neil’s defense. Joe Haden, Justin Gilbert and Buster Skrine will be expected to guard on the outside while the front seven focuses on stopping the run and creating those third and long situations. The ability of Browns defensive backs to cover well will allow O’Neil’s plan to create pressure from multiple places on the field. O’Neil is known for creating pressure and shutting down the run. There is no doubt that he inherited a defense with elite talent and should be able to utilize his system with the personnel in place. Players have been very receptive to O’Neil to this point.

By: Brad Ward

Follow @CST_BradWard on Twitter

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