Friday, December 11, 2015

It’s all a matter of interpretation

News: Browns strong safety Donte Whitner wants owner Jimmy Haslam III to bring back the current coaching staff next season, saying the players “have let them down a little this year.”

Views: A little? The Browns are 2-10 with an excellent chance to wind up with the first choice in the National Football League college draft and the players have let the coaching staff down a little?

Is Whitner watching the same thing we’re watching Sunday after Sunday after Thursday night after Monday night? Is he watching the same terrible football being played on both sides of the ball?

Does he have any idea of how frustrating it is for the fans to watch this team week after week go out and underperform? Slowly but very surely, the fan base for this team is dwindling.

In explaining why he thinks that way, Whitner told the media Friday, “You always understand that the second and third year in a system some things can change, something can click.

“Maybe the players won’t make the same mistakes or the same mental errors when we step out there being in the third year in the system so we’ll see.” Then again, maybe they will.

Why do we keep seeing the same mistakes game in and game out? This is year two in the Mike Pettine-Jim O’Neil defensive system and nothing, absolutely nothing, is clicking. A year three in this system is going to result only in another clickless season.

Whitner believes bringing in a new coaching staff won’t solve the problem. “A whole new one and then you get all types of other big plays happening so I would stick with it, but who am I?” he said.

And then he added something that made perfect sense. “I don’t know anything.”

The safety spoke of the “sometimes” mental lapses that have plagued the defense all season. “I really do like this coaching staff,” he said. “They’re really a hard-working staff. They’re young, but they’re hungry to win.”

And what has that translated into? A defense that has allowed 30 or more points in an astounding eight of their 12 games this season, including the last five straight. Only once did that defense prevent fewer than 20 points in a game – the 28-14 victory over Tennessee in game two. So much for the hunger.

There are many more statistical examples that can be used to belittle what might be the worst Cleveland Browns defense in memory, but why pile on?  

The Browns haven’t lost 15 of the last 17 games by accident. The games were lost because they weren’t good enough to win them. The fault there should land squarely on the coaching staff mainly because the players weren’t prepared well enough to win.

Whitner appears to imply the opposite. Blame us, the players, not the coaches seems to be his mantra. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

It’s up to the coaching staff to maximize the talent on any football team. If this is the best they can extract from this group of players, something is terribly wrong and it isn’t necessarily the players.

Haslam should do himself a big favor and either ignore or pretend he didn’t hear what Whitner said.


  1. Whitner needs to shut-up. He also said the reason for the defensive woes was the Joe Haden absence. The last time I checked Haden didn't play defensive line or linebacker.

  2. It's easy to use injuries as an excuse. That's a copout. It shows a lack of quality depth on a roster that doesn't have that much talent to begin with.