Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Oh . . . and one more item

Meant to get to this earlier, but other subjects (new coach, etc.) kept getting in the way. So . . .

It was a couple of days before the season finale against Pittsburgh when Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress was asked his thoughts on the ending of the Denver game in his weekly news conference. His reply, to put it mildly, stupefies.

A media type wanted to know why the Browns were so aggressive at the end of that game the previous Sunday.

At the time, 1:55 remained in the fourth quarter with the Broncos leading, 34-12, and the Browns out of timeouts, having blown all three in the previous Denver possession. In other words, it was a three-possession game with less than two minutes remaining. The game was lost.

Here’s Childress’ answer.

“Would you like me to wax like Herm Edwards right now?” he asked. “Perhaps? That would encapsulate my thoughts that you ... play ... to ... win ... the ... game. You do everything to win the game.”

The Herm Edwards reference was in response to what Edwards, then coach of the New York Jets, said in answer to a question posed by Judy Battista of the New York Times after the Jets had just fallen to 2-5 following a 24-21 loss to the Browns on Oct 30, 2002.

She asked him, “Do you have to talk to your team about not giving up on the season?”

“This is the greatest thing about sports,” he replied. “You ... play ... to ... win ... the ... game. Hello! You ... play ... to ... win ... the ... game.” It became a famous moment in post-game coaching history.

The final series of the Denver game saw Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy drop back to pass on five straight plays (one was wiped out by a Cleveland holding penalty) with the Broncos’ pass rush, which had already racked up four sacks, teeing off on him.

The Browns’ offensive line was tired, the game was lost and all anybody wanted to do was just get out of town without anyone getting hurt. Too late. Childress kept dialing up pass plays.

The Broncos’ pass rush, which drove Brandon Weeden to the bench with a shoulder injury in the third quarter, nailed McCoy two more times in those final moments, the final sack injuring his right shoulder. On the play before, running back Trent Richardson suffered an ankle injury in pass protection. All three men missed the Steelers’ game.

So why would Childress call five straight pass plays in a decidedly losing situation? “You play to win the game.” That’s why. Then he doubled down on a follow-up question..

Asked if the players bought into that philosophy when they are down, he replied, “I certainly think players would think less of us as coaches if we weren’t still trying to scrape and scramble and call and try to make the next first down and the next first down.”

Yes, the man actually said that. He must be delusional. This season has been rougher on him that I thought.

One huge difference in the Edwards reference. His Jets had just lost a tough game to the Browns 10 years ago. The 2012 Browns were down by 22 points to the Broncos with less than two minutes left in the game. Childress must have been absent that day in math class.

The Jets, by the way, recovered nicely that season and went on to finish 9-7, getting to the division championship game before losing. 

The only good that comes out of this is that Childress will not be back next season. With flawed thinking like his, he's better off doing harm with another team.

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