Saturday, August 3, 2013

Beware of Turner coachspeak

Norv Turner the other day pretty much proclaimed that Brandon Weeden would be the Browns’ starting quarterback when they open the regular season against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 8.

Not exactly breaking news from the club’s offensive coordinator. Anybody who thought it wouldn’t be Weeden either isn’t paying attention or has an extreme dislike for the guy.

Turner touched on Weeden’s inconsistency in training camp, but didn’t seem too worried about it. It’s what he said about backup quarterback Jason Campbell that raised an eyebrow or two.

“I really like what Jason has done,” he told the Plain Dealer. “People say he’s been in the system, but he found out right away it’s a lot different than what we’re doing, You can tell when he’s in there that he’s played. He’s played a lot of football.

“So he’s very comfortable in the pocket. He’s very comfortable in terms of going through the progressions and then like the other guys, he’s learning a new offense, so there are ups and down, but to me, he’s been very, very consistent.”

Well . . . an extra “very” to solidify his remarks. He hasn’t spoken that glowingly yet about Weeden.

So what are we to glean from that effusive discourse? Not one thing. Turner knows Weeden will be the man on Sept. 8 and Campbell will be holding the clipboard.

Along the way, he’s not going to trash Campbell or third-stringer Brian Hoyer. He’s been around long enough to know that if there’s any trashing to be done, it’ll be done behind closed doors.

When asked about Campbell, what else is he going to say? “He’s having trouble picking up the system” or “we’re disappointed in him so far.” That’ll never happen.

Asked later about Hoyer, Turner replied, “I like Brian. He’s obviously been exposed to a lot of different things. He’s getting zeroed in on what we’re doing. He’s willing to take a chance with the ball and sometimes that ends up good and sometimes it ends up bad.”

Wow! What a dazzling display of coachspeak. Shades of Romeo Crennel. Having coached as long as he has in the National Football League, Turner has not missed many classes on how not to answer a question.

Again, he will not belittle a player in the media. Praise him with words that, when strung together, carry little significant meaning.

Turner admits the offense hasn’t looked good thus far with Weeden in charge, but that’s not exactly a bulletin. During the early stages of training camp, the defense is usually way ahead of the offense. Why? Offense relies on timing and precision. Defense relies on aggression.

It’s much easier to assimilate to a new defensive system than it is a new offensive system. Fewer mistakes are made on the defensive side of the ball. It happens with all teams. It takes time. That’s what the four exhibition games are for.

And with a quarterback in just his second season (and in a decidedly different system), that timing and cohesion might take a little longer. Turner presumably is a patient man. That patience will be tested heavily this season.

Not to worry. Turner’s resume suggests his success rate with quarterbacks is higher than that of any other offensive coordinator the new Browns have employed.

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