Can it get any worse here in Cleveland?
I was watching another vintage Pat Shurmur-led debacle in Dallas, and all I could do is sit back and laugh. Seriously, how can you even get yourself worked up over this stuff anymore? Every week the Browns hang around just long enough to keep you interested, then fall off a cliff in the end. Spare me the “at least we are competitive” bit. It’s really simple. As was said in the classic flick Top Gun: “There’s no points for second place.” Nobody cares if you are close. Moral victories are for losers.
And that is what Pat Shurmur’s team is. Sorry, that is the truth. It’s nice that Trent Richardson looks like a beast and that the young WR duo of Josh Gordon and Greg Little look like keepers. It’s nice that Joe Haden is a great corner back. It’s nice that the Ahtyba Rubin/Phil Taylor combo are loads in the middle of the D-line. It’s nice that D’Qwell Jackson is an All-Pro type middle linebacker. But none of it matters because the team doesn’t win.
This group is comically undisciplined and poorly coached. The Dallas Cowboys should be ashamed of themselves. When you are being worked over by Pat Shurmur, it’s probably not a good sign. It is easy to see what was coming in the end though. Even when Brandon Weeden, who was high and wide all day, hit Ben Watson for what was then the go-ahead TD with just over a minute to play, the first thing I thought was “we left way too much time on the clock.”
Of course, there was an extra 20-30 seconds left on that clock and the Cowboys were able to save a timeout because Shurmur decided to run a play before the two-minute warning instead of taking it all the way down as the Browns were deep in Dallas territory trying to score.
You know it’s bad when I look at my Twitter timeline and 12 consecutive tweets essentially said “how could Shurmur run a play before the two-minute warning?” If the media and fans pick up on this within a second of it happening, how can Shurmur not be aware of the situation? On top of that, he has Brad Childress, a former head coach, as his offensive coordinator. Shouldn’t he know better?
Incredible. The good news is that after the last two losses to Baltimore and Dallas and the manner in which these have occurred, any slim chance of new owner Jimmy Haslam and Team President Joe Banner keeping Shurmur on has evaporated. I seriously cannot remember a head coach of any of the teams in this town in my lifetime as in-over-his-head as Shurmur. And I just saw Romeo Crennel not that long ago!
Quite a hire by Mike Holmgren.
Speaking of “The Big Show,” the fraud who barely shows his face in Berea let alone at games (either home or road) decided that yesterday would be the time for him to make his presence known with the team he is “retiring” from at the end of the year. Reports have it that Holmgren was all over the field before the game, shaking hands and yukking it up with several people, including Cowboys owner and coach Jerry Jones.
Gee, I though that he hadn’t even thought about or talked about his coaching future at all? Isn’t that what he told the media last week? As if we should believe anything he says. Holmgren duped Randy Lerner to the tune of $40 million and leaves town with the team barely in better shape then when he took over. Sure, there is more talent, but what did he have to do with it?
Holmgren was nothing more than a self proclaimed “tie-breaker” with a reputation of being a “Quarterback guru.” Keeping Eric Mangini as his head coach whom he had complete philosophical differences with on both sides of the ball was his first mistake. That marriage had about as good of a chance of lasting as Kim Kardashian and anyone. His first on-the-field grand idea was bringing in Jake Delhomme to be the starting QB with hand-picked Seneca Wallace as his backup.
Two and a half years later, Delhomme and Wallace are out of football, Holmgren’s third-round QB savior, Colt McCoy, is a backup to his next great QB project, 29-year-old Brandon Weeden.
Holmgren’s one coaching hire was Shurmur, a not exactly “hot coordinator” choice who led that “vaunted” St. Louis Rams offense for two years. Was Shurmur’s name being floated as a head coach anywhere else? As we know, Shurmur runs Holmgren’s pet West-Coast Offense, which is becoming as outdated as Holmgren’s “QB Guru” status.
One of the smartest and most informed sports fans I know, goes by the Twitter handle @ClevTA. Upon the hiring of Shumur by Holmgren, coming off of the winner take all NFC West Finale two seasons ago between the Rams and the Seattle Seahawks, he sent me the following email breaking down this hire:
It has been documented that St Louis had the 26th ranked offense in the NFL in terms of yards but if you look even deeper those numbers are even less impressive. Remember the Rams play in the NFC West and faced a minimum of 6 weak defenses this past season. In fact if you add up their opponents stats’, the Rams played the 25th ranked defensive schedule in the NFL. So in summary the Rams had a bad offense vs an easy schedule. For comparison sake the Browns had the 29th ranked offense in terms of yards but at least faced a murderers’ row schedule that ranked 4th toughest overall. In addition, in his biggest test of the year the Rams failed miserable against Seattle with a shot to make the playoffs when the Rams scored only 6 pts and put up a meager 184 yds against the 26th ranked defense in Seattle.
The thing that really gets me about that game is how the offensive plays were being called by Shurmur. They gave the ball to their best offensive player, Steven Jackson, only 11 times the entire game with only 4 coming in the crucial 2nd half when the game was a 1 score contest. To me this is even more indefensible when you consider you have a rookie QB on the road at night in the most hostile environment in the NFL. This is the type of game you should rely on your All-Pro RB to take pressure of off Bradford. This to me is symbolic of what we are going to be getting.
I just don’t understand how Shurmur has earned this position. What, track record is meaningless now in the NFL when it comes to earning a HC position? Seriously, it’s like someone going after Daboll as HC after this season’s performance. It’s really no different considering he had a similar WR crew as St Louis, a RB in Hillis who had a Steven Jackson-type season and a rookie QB under center. You could argue that on the surface Daboll is just as deserving, which we all know is ludicrous.
I think he nailed it two years ago.
Not only has Pat proven he was not ready to be a head coach in terms of X’s and O’s, the Browns look ill-prepared and undisciplined. Sure, they “fight hard every week,” but in a league of quick turnarounds, they are again one of the five worst teams in the NFL, a place they have been arguably since the 2008 season.
On top of Shurmur’s porous coaching record, he can’t seem to stay away from shooting himself in the foot in postgame press conferences. He gets easily rattled at any sign of the media questioning his in-game strategy, where he has left himself open to ridicule on so many occasions. Who can forget the infamous Indianapolis fourth quarter heading scratching decisions, or kicking an extra point in the fourth quarter up by five in the opener against Philly, only to lose by a point, or the 3rd and one play calling, or yesterday’s 4th and goal fade to Jordan Cameron. Those are just the tip of the iceberg.
Shurmur just isn’t cut out for this job and will be relieved of his duties after the season. Take that to the bank.
But back to the man who hired him. Throughout it all – the constant losses, the decision to bring in a guy from his agent’s coaching tree and a “friend of the program” as his head coach, McCoy’s concussion debacle, the Seattle radio interviews – Mike Holmgren has only appeared when he either wanted to or the screams of “where is the face of the franchise” got too loud for him to ignore.
Yet there he was yesterday, walking the field at Cowboys Stadium before the game, handshaking and making small talk like he owned the place. Next year, he probably will. Jerry Jones can’t win with Jason Garrett as his head coach. We all saw that team yesterday. The Cowboys are going nowhere fast. Holmgren is now available and admits he still has the coaching itch. Per the Plain Dealer’s Tom Reed yesterday:
#ESPN‘s Ed Werder reporting #Browns outgoing prez Mike Holmgren wants to only coach the Cowboys.
— Tom Reed (@treedPD) November 18, 2012
It’s a match made in heaven. A pair of ego-maniacs running and coaching the NFL’s all-sizzle, no-steak team.
Thursday is Thanksgiving. I am thankful for Jimmy Haslam buying the Browns, bringing in Joe Banner, and for the eventual final sweeping out of the Holmgren/Shurmur era.
(Photo via John Kuntz / The Plain Dealer)