It’s time for Pat Shurmur to look in a mirror and make a confession. “I’m not a very good head coach,” he should say and then add, “shame on me for crapping all over my quarterback.”
The nerve the Browns’ head coach displayed Sunday following his club’s 41-27 loss to the New York Giants almost defies description. Nothing, it seems, sticks to him. He is the Teflon coach.
The height of his gall blasted through in his post-game news conference when he pointed a finger of blame in the wrong direction when referring to a specific pass his quarterback threw at what could be considered an important juncture of the game.
With about four minutes left in the first half, the Browns owned a 17-10 lead and had the ball at the New York 25-yard line. Trent Richardson has just run nine yards on consecutive plays to bring up a third-and-1.
Shurmur, the genius, then made two unbelievably idiotic moves. We’re skipping bad here and going right to worse, which was removing Richardson from the game. Worser was dialing up a pass.
That’s right, a pass on third and very short when his main running back had amassed 56 yards on the ground to that point. Where was his coaching staff to say, “Hey, coach, that’s pretty stupid, don’tcha think?”
The Giants had all kinds of problems dealing with Richardson up to that point. Only one negative running play in 11 attempts. And yet, he was forced to witness this mistake from the bench, where all he could do is wonder just why the Browns made him the third overall pick in the National Football League’s college draft.
So, Shurmur, the genius, showed no confidence whatsoever in his offensive line and called for a Brandon Weeden rollout, pass which turned into a Giants’ interception when the rookie quarterback overthrew Josh Gordon.
So instead of the Browns taking a 20-10 lead on a presumed Phil Dawson field goal, the Giants instead turned that pick into a touchdown and evened the score at 17-17. One Joshua Cribbs fumbled kickoff return and two plays later, the Giants scored again and took a lead they never relinquished.
Following the game, Shurmur, the genius, was asked about that third-down play. His answer was stupefying.
“It was a bad throw,” he said. “You don’t throw an interception on third-and-1. We’re in the part of the field where you want to do the right thing with the football.
“It was a bad decision (by Weeden) and a nice play by the (New York) defense. I don’t care if you’re a rookie and I don’t care if you’ve been in the league a long time. You don’t do that. And I think we need to get off this rookie kick. We’ve got to play ball.”
But why a pass when the running game wasn’t broken? “You could run it or you can throw it, right?” said the genius, snarkily. “We chose to throw it there.”
“We” chose to throw it? Or “I” chose to throw it? With total disregard to his culpability in the play, the genius failed to take any responsibility and placed the blame fully on his rookie quarterback.
And that tells you all you need to know about Pat Shurmur, who has no business being a head coach, let alone call plays for the offense. He is totally unqualified for one and marginally qualified for the other.
He should have at least defended his quarterback, whose professional resume is all of five games. Weeden is still an NFL baby when it comes to quarterbacking a team. And no one knows that better than Shurmur.
As it turns out, Shurmur, not his quarterback, made the bad decision. It wasn’t just bad; it was awful. Mind numbing. Absolutely perplexing.
The guy finds it difficult to take responsibility and pawns the damage off on his unsuspecting rookie quarterback. What chutzpah.
Is nothing his fault? The Browns are 0-5. Surely, they had a lot of help from their head coach along the way in getting there.
Weeden, the good soldier, backed up his coach. ”Not anymore,” he said when the rookie reference was brought up. ”Unfortunately, those (excuses) are long gone. I’ve played five games and now, it’s a tough league. I’ve got to find a way. I can’t put our team in tough positions.”
Five games and Weeden is no longer a rookie. Five games define his professional football career. Five games and he is expected to perform like a seasoned veteran.
Five games playing under center when all he did growing up was position himself at least five yards behind the center in the shotgun formation and he is expected to generate positive results.
Weeden is being way too harsh on himself, while his head coach should know better. He’s acting much more maturely than his coach.
Hopefully, new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III is paying attention. He’s enough of a football fan to know just how shabbily his coach is treating his quarterback. So when he sacks Shurmur, the genius, at the end of the season (hopefully sooner), the coach will not have to wonder why.
No, this time Shurmur, who makes Romeo Crennel look like good by comparison, has no one to blame but himself. Nah, that probably will never happen.
* * *
Notebook: Did anyone notice how many times Weeden targeted Greg Little against the Giants? The wide receiver with the stone hands, presumably the club’s No. 1 wideout, saw just two passes thrown his way. He caught neither and dropped one. Is it any wonder he has fallen all the way to last option for Weeden on his reads? . . . If D’Qwell Jackson is lost for any amount of time, look for opposing teams to rip the Cleveland defense to shreds. The veteran linebacker was responsible for calling defensive signals and making certain everyone is where he is supposed to be. . . . Ten more penalties for 91 yards against the Giants, four of them resulting in first downs for New York. There’s nothing like giving a game away. . . . The player happiest to see Joe Haden back this week from his four-game suspension is Buster Skrine, who was victimized all afternoon by Giants receivers.