The popularity of the pass among NFL offensive schematics currently in vogue might have more to do with marketing than anything else. New Browns coach Rob Chudzinksi appears to be the latest poster boy. His “vertical, downfield” style is the not-so-secret weapon in Jimmy Haslam’s escalating war against, not the run game, but the HD TV football experience.
From the comfort of your living room or antlered den in Chagrin Falls, you now have game day access on your LCD TV that would have been unthinkable 15 or 20 years ago. But the telecast is optimized for the run, for the grunt and grapple of a close-up, WWI-style scrum.
Haslam knows that to experience a marquee football pass in all its parabolic loveliness — the dual dramas of passer and receiver at once — you simply have to be there, at “FirstEnergy Stadium.” The eye will always be a more advanced optical machine than the video camera.
Enter Rob Chudzinksi, the beefy, corn-fed tight ends guy from Toledo, a man oriented almost magnetically toward the end zone. Most recently the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers, Chud has already served two short sentences with the Browns franchise. He was offered the head coaching gig over dinner in Charlotte last week after some sort of head nod or winking communiqué between Haslam and Joe Banner.