Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday leftovers

What is it about Pat Shurmur during a game that leads me to wonder whether or not he really cares about what’s going on?

Perhaps it’s the hair. Not one follicle out of place. No matter what the situation, it remains perfectly still.

Then again, maybe it’s the expression on the Browns coach’s face. It never changes. If there is joy . . . nothing. If he’s angry . . . nothing. If he’s excited . . . ditto. You can’t tell. If anything, he’s expressionless.

Maybe he’s concentrating so much on the game, he’s in a zone. He appears to be in his own little world.

In some corners, there is the notion that the demeanor of a football team is a direct reflection of the personality of its coach. Look at some of the most emotional coaches in the National Football League and the performances of their teams.

Bill Belichick, Rex Ryan, John Harbaugh, Mike Tomlin and Tom Coughlin are just a few of the highly emotional coaches around the league. And their teams feed off that emotion to produce year after year.

Some would argue that Belichick should not be placed in this group because of his more cerebral approach to the game, but the New England coach has become one of the most active sideline coaches in the NFL. He dials it back only when dealing with the media.

The one argument against that notion is what Jim Harbaugh has done with the San Francisco 49ers. Harbaugh, who knows full well about emotion and the role it plays in football having played the game on that level, is an NFL rookie head coach who succeeded Mike Singletary, a former player several notches above Harbaugh on the emotional scale.

Shurmur, meanwhile, is Mr. Unflappable. Nothing seems to bother him. If it does, the expression on his face belies it. As the offense he heads tumbles deeper and deeper into the commode, he stands stoically, almost as though he is satisfied with the results.

The man is hard to figure out. It’s as though he has no emotions whatsoever. The players can’t help but see that. There is a lack of fire among the Browns. They have a serious lack of emotional leaders. Not once this season have they come out of the gate ready to play. All that can be traced back to the coaching.

As the Browns once again march toward another unrewarding season, one of the underlying reasons for it very well could be their stolid head coach.

* * *

Could this season get any worse? Here we are halfway through and Shurmur has none of his starting running backs with whom to game plan; his best receiver has been out of the lineup more than in it; his wide receiver corps is arguably the worst in the NFL; his offensive line can’t protect his quarterback; his quarterback is one severe beating away from shellshock; his linebacker corps is mediocre at best; his team lacks speed and quickness; he never knows what he’s going to get from his defensive line from game to game; and five of the remaining eight games are against division opponents, who are 18-7 this season.

Therefore, the definitive answer to the original question is a resounding yes.

* * *
The Browns’ next two opponents represent what appears to be a relative break in the schedule. St. Louis and Jacksonville, who arrive on the lakefront the next two Sundays, are a combined 3-12. But don’t be fooled.

The Rams might be 1-7, but they knocked off the tough New Orleans Saints about 10 days ago and have recently played better ball defensively. The Jaguars showed a national television audience that they know how to play a little defense while upsetting the Baltimore Ravens a couple of weeks ago.

Both teams feature young quarterbacks who would love nothing more than to come into Cleveland and show up Colt McCoy. And both clubs have strong running games. So don’t think either game will be a walkover.

* * *

Didn’t take long for Tony Pashos to hit the sidelines. The most fragile offensive lineman in the NFL is useless. And it’s about time the Browns acknowledge this. It’s also about time the Browns admit the offensive line presents a major problem that seriously needs to be addressed in the offseason.

They had the opportunity in the last college draft to fix the problem, but chose instead to draft only Jason Pinkston late in the lottery. By ignoring the problem, they were fooling only themselves.

The surprising aspect of the club’s draft is that General Manager Tom Heckert Jr. chose defensive linemen with his first two picks last April when the Browns clearly needed much more help on the other side of the ball.

* * *

Stream of thought: At the rate he’s getting hit, McCoy will not last the season. He’s playing with a gun that has no bullets in it. The black-and-blue factor should kick in shortly, especially after facing the pass rushes of the Rams and Jaguars. So Seneca Wallace had better bone up on the playbook because he’s going to get his shot sooner than he thinks. . . . Don’t know if anyone noticed, but the Browns ran two successful screens against Houston on Sunday. That’s all they ran. Why not a few more to slow pass rushers? . . . As the Texans blitzed on just about every play, one would think McCoy would have some hot receivers to throw to. Not once was there an available hot receiver. Draw your own conclusions. . . . Let’s hear it for Phil Dawson, the Browns’ best offensive weapon this season. The older the veteran placekicker’s right leg gets, the stronger it becomes. How else can you account for six field goals (in six attempts) of more than 50 yards? Take away those 18 points and the Browns are flirting with the century mark in the scoring column. Dawson has scored 48 of the team’s 119 points. That’s 40% of the team’s scoring. That also makes him a strong candidate for the club’s most valuable player on offense.


  1. yes this is much better than mangini...

  2. btw, you can explain the 50 yd fg easily, the offense doesn't get any closer than the opponents 33 yd line

  3. Gotta hand it to you, Mike. You don't give up. If Mangini is looking for a P.R. guy, I suggest you apply for the job.

    Let's try this one more time, this time with feeling. Mangini is a great coach in your mind only. His, too, I guess. There's a reason no other team has gone after him as a head coach. Wanna try and guess why?

  4. One more suggestion: Let go of it before it consumes you.

  5. i said once before, while i do like the Belichick/Mangini school of football...i just think the browns were better off starting a 3rd year in the same system...quite frankly it could have been anybody at HC...and based on what i've seen thus far...looks like i'm correct...i knew Holmgren was a snake oil salesman from the get go & that was evident as the Bob Lamonte show unfolded in Berea...and damn near every decision Holmgren has made had been wrong....he should have fired mangini in 2010 or commited to him for a few years....his choice of qb's have been suspect...and there is regression which didn't happen last year.

  6. Aha. For once, we are on the same page. Yes!!!! Holmgren should have fired Mangini when he arrived. The fact he didn't spoke volumes (for me). He started off by making one very wrong decision based on stupid thinking. If he came in to clean house, CLEAN HOUSE then.

    And I cannot disagree with you that there has been regression. Holmgren and his GM won't admit that, of course. At least not yet. They're using injuries as an excuse for the rut they are in. And while injuries have wiped out the running backs, there are many more problems that have contributed to where they are now.

    Like the very bad offensive line And yes, that includes Joe Thomas, who is not living up to the reputation he has developed until now.

    And the slow and very unquick (I like making up words now and then) linebackers. This team lacks speed and quickness up and down the roster.

    And don't get me started about the head coach.

    OK, I'm done. (Not really, but I'll save some of this for another blog entry.) Now I'm done.

  7. btw, i know you live in az...but did you happen to catch heckert on knr (rizzo)....he's delusional...i drop $3400 a year on season tix and have done so since they came back & got stuck with a psl fee as well...all money that could have went into my kids college fund..ya know rich, for the longest time i could never figure out why the NFL selected Charlotte & Jacksonville as expansion cities back in 1993 over st louis & baltimore...but now it makes perfect sense...blackmail & extortion...if the browns 'threatend' to move to jax they'd have been laughed at....recall cincy used the 'we'll move to blt" to get a stadium was taken away from the greatest football fans on the planet & of the 4 subsequent 'new' teams, only cleveland had the shortest time to get it together...i
    m 'this' close to saying the hell with it...i'll bet you a dollar the browns lose to aj feeley sunday

  8. I stay away from sucker bets.

    Otherwise, right on.

  9. If memory serves correctly, last April you were in favor of
    drafting Gabe Carimi, who went to the Bears.

    Are there any rookie offensive right tackles who are
    standing out this year?