The Remote Report: A Season of Making Something Out of Nothing


Now that the season is over for the Cleveland Browns, it’s time to take stock of what’s going on and start making news out of nothing.

Wait a second…that’s exactly what happened all season.

Okay, new plan: we’ll take stock and pretend everything is fine, even though the team just went 4-12 in an exercise of futility that hasn’t been seen since, well, every year.

Sounds stupid, right?

Well, sort of. I went ahead and completely ignored the two headlining press conferences this past week because they’re not going to change anything. Whatever plans the brain trust had in place are not changing because they’ve made them public. Everyone knew that all parties involved were disappointed with another embarrassing season filled with quarterback problems, offensive ineptitude, and a lack of playmaking by anyone whose name isn’t Phil Dawson.

The Pat Shurmur press conference was first and I noticed a puzzling after effect. See, most of my knowledge of the happenings of the Browns comes secondhand due to the titular “remote” aspect of my life. I don’t get live streams of pressers or get to refresh the websites as someone is talking. For me, the news basically comes from my Twitter feed, which I’ll tear through when I get a break from work. The Shurmur conference was no different.

I signed onto Twitter later in the day and noticed that there was an odd vibe in regards to his talk. People seemed to accept it. Many of the Cleveland folk I follow seemed to take the mindset of “Okay…that made sense…he knows what needs to be done. This isn’t terrible anymore.”

Some of these people were calling for his head 48 hours earlier as the team stumbled through another ugly loss. What’s the disconnect? Why would anyone suddenly be accepting of this guy after losing the overwhelming majority of games during the season?

I’m not anti-Shurmur. I’m anti whatever-just-happened-after-that-press-conference. Stick to your guns, people. If you didn’t like what he was doing, how is this offseason in which Tom Heckert and Mike Holmgren will be making decisions – with a little input from Shurmur – going to suddenly make him a good guy/coach/whatever you want him to be?

I’ve been reading a lot about how the Browns have had bad press conferences and bad PR in recent years and how this was an example of telling the fanbase what it wants to hear.

Of course it is. That’s part of their job. Even if this front office had been bad at it before (along with every other aspect of running a football team), at least they’re doing something kind of right this time around. Just don’t bother believing anything that they’re saying.

Their goals are clearly to put the Cleveland Browns on a path to start competing at the highest level in the NFL. Whether that path includes another losing season or a Super Bowl next year, their jobs are riding on it and they don’t want to go broke right away. So why worry about anything now?

My wishful thinking is that people stop twisting the words of the Browns’ front office in order to make a story out of nothing. However, I’m aware of this prevailing theory: we’re in for an offseason of rumors, messes, and bold-faced lies, so why not get started early?

Go Browns.

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