One of the reasons former Browns coach Rob Chudzinski was a one-and-done in Cleveland — and one of the reasons his former Panthers players grew disillusioned with him — was his tone-deafness to the running game.
But the guy who replaced him in Cleveland vows not to have that same problem.
The Browns led the NFL (and broke a franchise record) with 681 pass attempts last season, despite not having quarterback to merit that approach and despite the fact they led or were tied going into the fourth quarter in nine games (they were 4-5 in those games).
“I think it’s critical in northeast Ohio late in the year, . . . your offense has to be all-weather, you have to be able to run the ball,” Pettine said, via Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com. “It is a passing league, but you have to be able to run the ball to close games out, and if the weather turns, you need to find an alternate way to score points.”
The Browns didn’t carry a fullback at all, and traded away former third-overall pick Trent Richardson, so part of that was personnel-based.
But Pettine said part of what drew him to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was his attitude toward the run.
“Kyle’s proven in six years that he can have one of the leading rushing attacks, he can have one of the leading passing attacks,” Pettine said. “He can have a veteran quarterback, he can have a rookie quarterback. He can have a marquee receiver like Andre Johnson, or he can get it done with some other guys that aren’t Pro Bowl types. All different types of offensive linemen. He’s done it with different running backs.
“That was appealing to me, that his system over all those changes was able to adapt and be successful.”
That has to be music to the ears of Browns fans, who watched too many chances to win evaporate last season.