Monday, August 13, 2012

Flawed thinking
So the Browns, really coach Pat Shurmur, have decided that Thursday night’s exhibition game in Green Bay, their second practice game of the season, will serve as the club’s dress rehearsal for the regular season.

Generally, the third game of the exhibition season is considered the dress rehearsal with the starters playing at least one half and sometimes the first series of the second half.

But since the Browns’ third exhibition opponent is the Philadelphia Eagles, with whom they open the regular season on Sept. 9, that game will be handled personnel-wise like the fourth game. In other words, starters play one of two series and then sit.

Which makes one wonder just how the coaching staff will handle the final exhibition against the Chicago Bears. It makes that one that much more intriguing.

So let’s recap. The dress rehearsal has been moved up to exhibition game No. 2 for the starters with just three series (14 snaps) under their belts. And that’ll pretty much be it until the season opener against the Eagles.

All of which means the starters will not see significant game action between Aug. 16 (this Thursday) and Sept. 9. That’s 24 days between meaningful snaps for the starters.

Is that any way to begin a season, especially one filled with such hope now that the club has been sold and there’s new blood flowing in Berea?

Who’s in charge here? How in the world did this happen? And what difference does it make when the so-called dress rehearsal game is played?

Is Mike Holmgren on vacation? Where does he stand on this matter? His silence is deafening. Does he agree with this move? As a former coach, he knows the importance of being ready for the regular season. He knows 24 days is too long to keep an offense under wraps.

In this case, it makes much more sense to schedule the dress rehearsal gig for the fourth game against the Bears on Sept. 1, eight full days before the season opener. That way, there can be no doubt the team will be as ready as it can be.

As it stands now, if Shurmur and his staff stubbornly refuse to budge from their stance, the Browns will enter the season as the most unprepared team in the National Football League. The rigid approach most likely will burn them.

A rookie quarterback learning a new system and working from a position (under center) that is foreign to him with limited snaps is not the prescription you want to enter a season. Brandon Weeden needs to get plenty of reps before the speed and quickness of the game ramp up. He won’t get them this way.

Again, if Shurmur does not change his strategy, he will be doing his offense a huge disservice. At the risk of being repetitive, offense is all about rhythm and timing, and the only way to hone that is by getting as many reps as possible.

Where is the common sense here? Just because it says the dress rehearsal must be the third game (of the four exhibitions played) doesn’t mean it has to be moved up rather than moved back.

Does Shurmur really want to send Weeden and his offense onto the field against the Eagles on Sept. 9 with just a handful of exhibition snaps? And 24 days between meaningful football?

Apparently he does. That kind of thinking brings back memories of Romeo Crennel.

‘Nuf said.

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