NEWARK, N.J. – Michael Irvin admits he is biased when it comes to Norv Turner because Turner did, after all, help him win two of the three Super Bowl rings he collected during a Hall of Fame career with the Dallas Cowboys.
“I think the world of Norv,” Irvin, the former receiver turned NFL Network analyst, said of his former offensive coordinator with the Cowboys in the early 1990s.
And now Irvin thinks the world of the Vikings’ decision to hire Turner as new coach Mike Zimmer’s offensive coordinator. As for the Cleveland Browns, who allowed Turner to walk when head coach Rob Chudzinski was fired after one season, Irvin is anything but impressed.
“I’m absolutely blown away with Cleveland allowing what they’ve allowed to transpire with Norv,” Irvin said Tuesday during Super Bowl XLVIII media day at the Prudential Center, home of the New Jersey Devils. “They had a guy like [receiver] Josh Gordon in Norv’s system, and I think he had the best year by a wide receiver after missing two games and playing with four different quarterbacks this season. To say, ‘OK, we’re changing up everything.’ That blows my mind.”
Gordon led the league in receiving and was an instrumental part of the Browns’ upset of the Vikings at the Metrodome in Week 3.
“Norv, with a guy like Adrian Peterson, will help the Vikings,” Irvin said. “A guy like Norv knows how to orchestrate an up-the-field passing game. The Vikings are usually playing defenses that stack the line of scrimmage because of the fear of Adrian Peterson. Norv is going to put defenses in some real binds. He’s going to develop an up-the-field passing game along with Adrian Peterson. To develop that down-the-field attack and then hand the ball off? It will be a dangerous combination.”
And, yes, Irvin believes Turner can do all of this with Matt Cassel or whichever quarterback the Vikings end up settling on in 2014.
“I watched Norv do it with four different quarterbacks with Josh Gordon last season, so he’ll find his quarterback,” Irvin said. “I don’t know if Cassel is his guy. But he’ll find his quarterback and he’ll find his passing system. I promise you that.”