Saturday, August 25, 2012

Message received?

Andy Reid sent his buddy Part Shurmur a message Friday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Basically, the Philadelphia coach told the Cleveland coach that the Eagles’ manhandling of the Browns in the third exhibition game of the season was nothing compared to what it’s going to be like on Sept. 9 at the same venue.

That’s when the two clubs open the regular season and Reid’s Eagles will be faster, quicker and much nastier when the games become meaningful.

The Browns played more like a team looking for a personality against the much more experienced Eagles in the 27-10 loss. The Eagles found their personality under Reid a long time ago.

Shurmur, who served as an assistant with the Eagles several years ago, didn’t even come close to preparing his men properly for this one. Philadelphia was at least a step and a half ahead of Cleveland all evening.

How else can you account for three fumbles, a couple of interceptions, a blocked punt and a rash of penalties? Does that sound like a prepared team?

Yes, I know it was just an exhibition game. But at least play some representative football. Look like a football team. Do the things you plan on doing during the regular season.

Like tackle. Like run good pass routes. Like play smart football. And that’s just the beginning.

Is that asking too much? With this team, maybe it is. The word “discipline” does not appear in this team’s vocabulary. Yet.

Another fumble by Brandon Weeden. Another fumble by Montario Hardesty, who claim he hasn’t fumbled since high school. Another strip sack of Weeden, courtesy of a porous offensive line.

“We turned the ball over,” said Captain Obvious Shurmur after the game. “We gave up big plays. We did find a way to drive the ball, but you can’t turn it over.”

No kidding.

“All of the things that you can’t do we found a way to do,” he lamented. “It’s not good enough.”

Here it is the end of the exhibition season and Shurmur is already beginning to sound like Eric Mangini and Romeo Crennel.

Asked whether he was concerned about his team, he said, “Hold the concern and worry questions. I’m not disappointed or concerned. We’re going to get it fixed (very Mangini and Crennel). We can beat anybody, but we don’t play well, we can get beat by anybody.”

Quite profound.

The Browns can ill afford to gift opponents as they did the Eagles. They cannot make even the slightest mistake because they’re not good enough to recover from them.

For example, marching down to the Eagles’ 2-yard- line in the first quarter, only to commit a holding penalty (yeah you, Jason Pinkston) on first-and-goal and then give up a strip sack of Weeden (yeah you again, Jason Pinskton).

Granted the defense worked with short fields on the first two Philly TDs, but red-zone defense was one of their strengths last season. They also made Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles look like a seasoned veteran.

Weeden, still looking for his first touchdown pass, is playing with shackles, throwing downfield just twice. He hit Josh Gordon on the game’s opening play and overthrew Travis Benjamin late in the second quarter.

What are Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress waiting for? Time to loosen up opposing defenses. If it was Shurmur’s intention to play vanilla football against the Eagles because the two teams meet again in two weeks, it worked.

The result was a hammering, a beatdown that sent the aforementioned message. If you think this was bad, wait until Sept. 9 when we take the speed and quickness and nastiness up a few more notches.

I wonder what the Browns will bring to that game. Based on what we saw this time around, it can’t be anything worse.

It might be not be a bad idea to watch tapes of this drubbing and concentrate on the Eagles to learn the proper way to rush the passer, protect the quarterback and develop a mean streak.

Couldn’t hurt.


  1. I noticed that when Weeden was stripped of
    the ball, there were two players in the backfield,
    neither of which stayed in to block. That's poor
    play design on the part of the coaches.

    During the 2008 preseason, the New York Giants
    manhandled the Browns only to loose 35-14 on
    Monday Night Football. Sometimes this sending a
    message stuff backfires.


  2. It was designed to be a screen pass to the left side, but Pinkston left too early to set up for the screen and created a wide open space to rush Weeden. His timing was awful.

    As for the Giants game, there's one big difference. That one was Game 5 of the regular season, about two months after the exhibition game. This time, the Browns and Eagles will meet in the opening game, just two weeks after the exhibition.

    Let's see how it all plays out this time. You might be right. Then again . . .