The Cleveland Browns haven't been an offensive juggernaut in recent years, but if new offensive coordinator Norv Turner has his way, that will change in 2013. Turner wants the Browns' offense to attack this year.
"We're trying to create a mindset, from an offensive standpoint, that we're going to go attack," Turner said. "Coach Chudzinski stood up in front of our team and if he said it once, he said it 25 times in the last seven weeks, ‘We are going to be an attacking team. We're going to attack on defense; we're going to attack on offense; we're going to attack in the kicking game.' I want to attack and I want to go, but we've got to get good."
If Cleveland's offense meets Turner's goals, it will mark a stark difference from the 2012 season. Last year, the Browns ranked 25th in the NFL in total offense, averaging a paltry 314.2 yards per game. They ranked 24th in the league in scoring with 18.9 points per contest. For Turner, those numbers are enough to cause nightmares.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the Browns' offensive struggles was youth. Cleveland was the third-youngest team in the NFL, per the official Browns website, and that inexperience led to plenty of mistakes. The offense was the fifth-most penalized in the league, and it committed 26 turnovers, ranking 17th. It's hard to move the ball and find the end zone when a team is shooting itself in the foot that often.
While youth may have been the biggest issue for Cleveland last season, it may be a reason for optimism this year. Those players now have another year of experience under their belts, and they've potentially worked through growing pains. Looking at the roster, there's plenty of young talent on the offensive side of the ball.
Trent Richardson, second-year running back -- Richardson was solid in his rookie year, totaling 950 yards, 11 touchdowns and only fumbling three times. He added 367 receiving yards and one score through the air. Considering how much Cleveland's offense struggled and that he was playing hurt for much of the year, those numbers are even more impressive and should be a good sign for the future. He's been dealing with another injury during the offseason, which is a bit worrisome, but if Richardson stays healthy, he should be the star of the offense.
Brandon Weeden, second-year quarterback -- Weeden had his ups and downs last year, and there was some speculation that the Browns would go in a different direction at quarterback. The team brought in veterans Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer to compete for the starting job, but Weeden will have a chance to retain it. While most second-year QBs are 22 or 23 years old, Weeden turns 30 in October. While his age might not be beneficial for the long-term prospects at the position, it will likely bring added maturity and be an advantage in the short term. He completed 57.4 percent of his passes for 3,385 yards, 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 15 games during his rookie season, and if he can cut down on the turnovers, the Browns' attack will see a legitimate boost.
Josh Gordon, second-year wide receiver -- Another rookie in 2012, Gordon led Cleveland with 805 receiving yards and five touchdown catches. Standing 6'3 and weighing in at 225 pounds, he has great size for an NFL wideout, and his reported 4.52-second 40-yard dash time isn't too shabby, either. Gordon has the measurables and ability to be a great receiver for the Browns.
Cleveland has a nice core of second-year players on offense that should be better this season. Richardson and Gordon had excellent debuts, and Weeden showed some sparks of good play. If all three continue to develop, the Browns' offense can only get better in 2013. Add in Turner's attacking philosophy, and a quick rise up the NFL's ranks is a real possibility.