In sports, things inexplicably change how well someone performs. In baseball, it’s Brandon Phillips being ineffective with the Cleveland Indians, hopping on 71 South, and becoming one of the league’s best-hitting second basemen for the Cincinnati Reds. In the NFL, it doesn’t always work this way, but players thrive in certain systems and flounder in others.
I’m starting to wonder if the majority of the Browns organization just needs a change of scenery. Think about it: these guys aren’t bad at football – they’re in the NFL. These coaches aren’t bad at coaching – they’ve been considered for numerous coaching gigs in the NFL. The front office isn’t a bad front office. They’ve had prestigious gigs around – you guessed it – the NFL.
So how come it doesn’t work in Cleveland? Is it the wrong combination of players and personnel, clashing with each other? Is it the wrong mash-up of decision-makers vs. players? Is it that no one can really explain it and the Browns are just going to stay inept forever?
Sure feels like the last one, doesn’t it?
Obviously, I’ve watched all the games to this point, as I’m sure you have. Every week features head-scratching moments that evoke a sigh and an exasperated shoulder shrug. What’s worse is that I’m trying to be a spokesperson for the Browns being better than they’ve been in the past, but these absurd moments are stunting my metaphorical growth. It has nothing to do with the players. It’s not really their fault, but leaving the offense on the field for fourth down, calling a timeout, and then punting is just absolutely embarrassing.
I’ve stood by the coaching staff through a lot of absurdity this season. I don’t believe in changing the staff because it almost never results in good things. We all see that long-tenured coaches do well. But when a coach continues to make these ridiculous calls, week in and week out, I start to get a little upset.
Let it be known that I’m not just trying to bash head coach Pat Shurmur here. I was actually happy that he went with a run to running back Trent Richardson on 3rd-and-1 at one point because that’s what you should do on 3rd-and-1. Unfortunately, the play did not work, and that was a bummer. I think it was the right call, but even when Shurmur makes the right call, it manages to not work out.
But even with that good call on the table, is this guy under the impression that the Browns are in the title hunt (granted, 10-6 ain’t bad)? What is there to lose by going for it on 4th-and-1 when you’re on the positive side of the 50? In fact, the numbers strongly suggest that should you always go for it on fourth down, it will benefit your team in the long run. But no one seems to care about the numbers.
I care about numbers. And I want to see a bigger number in the left column. Whatever that takes.