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Browns fans, get ready for the attack

Steve Doerschuk

Saturday night’s the night Browns fans finally can feast their eyes on Rob Chudzinski’s offense.

They plead: Don’t let it droop our eyes, snooze-style, like the bulk of what we have watched since 1999.

Chudzinski, who debuts as Romeo Crennel’s offensive coordinator tonight against the Chiefs, uses the term “attack-style.” What does it mean?

“Attack the mismatch,” explained tight end Ryan Krause, a fourth-year pro who was with Chudzinski in San Diego last year. “Line up. Put the defense in an awkward position.”

Chudzinski ran the University of Miami’s offense when Kellen Winslow Jr. was a Hurricane. Now a fourth-year Brown, Winslow said Chudzinski’s offense is “always attacking.”

Winslow went deep end in assessing Chudzinski’s potential prior to his first full year as an NFL coordinator.

“I think he is the best coach in the NFL,” Winslow said. “He’s awesome.”

Maybe that was just one former Miami tight end talking up another one — Chudzinski played tight end for Jimmy Johnson in the 1980s.

But optimism regarding Chudzinski has come from all over the

offense.

Running back Jamal Lewis seems thrilled. He says his previous offense, Baltimore’s, was “plain Jane,” whereas Chudzinski’s uses shifts and formations complex enough to keep the enemy scrambling before the snap.

Lewis thinks the formations will keep opponents from “stacking the box” against the run. The way to do that is to burn run-stuffing defensive sets with sneaky passes.

“Chud brought in the same concept San Diego used last year,” Krause said. “But he’s put his own intellect in it.

“For example, a Z receiver might run a tight end route while the tight end runs the Z route.

“He’s made it pretty complex.”

Krause scored a touchdown against the Chiefs in 2005. The Chargers seemed to score five touchdowns against everyone in 2007. Behind running back LaDainian Tomlinson and tight end Antonio Gates, they went 14-2.

What can Chudzinski do with Lewis and Winslow?

“Lewis is a pretty special back,” Krause said. “L.T. is a slasher. He can catch the ball as well as any receiver in the league. Jamal’s a real physical north-south runner who can make people miss.”

Winslow is a major talent, but he must begin to prove that he can come back from microfracture knee surgery. It is unclear how much he will be used. One reason Krause was signed was to have a knowledgeable tight end on the field when Winslow couldn’t practice.

It’s hard to imagine serious fireworks from the offense as it gropes to find the right starting quarterback.

Krause suggests patience will be rewarded.

“At points,” he said, “it’ll have it’s bumps. It’s complex. If one guy is doing the wrong thing, a play won’t work.

“But when it clicks, if you get what Chud is saying, it works. It really works.”

Reach Canton Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail steve.doerschuk@cantonrep.com