We all want better. Not a single one of us Browns fans that I know wouldn’t say that. Arm tackles that Ray Rice shrugged off all day + dropped touchdowns + horrible interceptions makes for an unacceptable math equation. What I don’t understand is the sense of entitled outrage that seems to be bubbling up at every opportunity with this team. Outrage indicates some level of surprise to me, and I was disappointed, but not surprised. Chuck Booms is the most public example of that outrage, but he is far from the only one even if his made-for-Youtube-rant was quickly and easily packaged in link form this morning immediately after completion.
Outrage is a familiar position for this fanbase. In recent history… Outrage shows up when it becomes apparent that Maurice Carthon can’t coach an offense. Outrage shows up when Randy Lerner screws up his front office by hiring Mangini and Kokinis out of order. Outrage shows up when Mangini’s first season is headed for debacle status. Outrage shows up when Mike Holmgren does a Seattle radio show before talking to Cleveland media. Outrage shows up when Peyton Hillis has strep throat. And now outrage shows up when the Browns get out-classed and embarrassed by the Baltimore Ravens.
We all want better. I am disappointed too. I just don’t understand where that translates to mouth-breathing, top-of-the-voice-screaming rage about how everyone is stupid and needs to be fired. I have to wonder if it is even real. Think about it. How could anyone be that mad over a team that was clearly trying to see what they had on the roster? I follow this team and care about what happens to an unhealthy level like the rest of you. Most predictions were for the Browns to win somewhere between four and eight games this season. I agree they’ve underperformed, but how much better would they look as a six win team? Probably not much.
Mike Holmgren fired Eric Mangini because he didn’t win enough. That is the one quote that continues to get bandied about as if it is the one and only reason that Holmgren and Mangini parted ways. I can’t really blame everyone either. The Browns have had P.R. issues pretty much since 1999 including Mike Holmgren’s mis-guided appearance on Seattle radio this year. People need to listen to Eric Mangini himself, though. Terry Pluto had the story on his Facebook page as he still talks to Mangini regularly.
Interesting story on Eric Mangini. We talk about once a month, and spoke as recently as last week. He has never said a bitter word about being fired. He would have loved to come back and coach, but knew that he and the Holmgren/Heckert combination simply wouldn’t work because they come from what Eric calls “two totally different football families.”
Reading between the lines, I think even Eric Mangini gets what Mike Holmgren was trying to do to some extent even if it left him on the outside looking in. This is why I say that while I like Mangini, I don’t put his treatment in Cleveland as much on Mike Holmgren as I do on Randy Lerner. None of this is to say that what is happening right now is good enough for me.
I am concerned about Pat Shurmur. I think he has gotten better as the year has gone along with his play-calling, but it didn’t appear that what happened yesterday was the play of a prepared, motivated team that was fighting hard for their coach. I think Shurmur has also gotten better using the players he has been given, but even still, the Browns appeared to abandon the run very quickly yesterday on a sloppy, rainy day.
I have concerns, but to go on a rage-filled rant calling for everyone to get fired? Not that it really matters, but what do you think in his heart of hearts that Eric Mangini would think of that kind of idiocy?
That doesn’t mean I am not concerned about this team. I am worried about a lot of what I see. The Browns were intent on seeing what Colt McCoy could do as Browns QB and I have concerns that he can’t handle the job long-term. As I said last week, McCoy’s interception rate isn’t a giant problem. At the same time, his touchdown production and his recent penchant for the really bad interception is a major problem. It certainly doesn’t help to have Evan Moore drop a touchdown that hit him in the hands about head high, but the point remains.
There’s another one. The Browns were intent on seeing what these receivers could do in a new system. They’ve already admitted they were wrong about Brian Robiskie. They might soon be saying the same thing for Mohamed Massaquoi. On the one hand that makes me disappointed partially in both the players and the front office. It doesn’t give me rage though.
I expected the Browns to have some hits and misses. I like Greg Little even though he’s dropped the ball a bit in the last two weeks. I like Jordan Norwood as a piece of this team going forward. I am skeptical that Mohamed Massaquoi is good enough to be a player for this team. I am skeptical that Josh Cribbs can get any better than what he is today at age 28. Even then, didn’t the Browns admit as much when they didn’t just fold to public pressure to break the bank for him?
I know this thing doesn’t scream like a runaway success train right now. I know there are a lot of misses on this Browns roster and I know that Mike Holmgren said Mangini didn’t win enough as the Browns sit with four wins with four games to play. I expected better this year too, but certainly not enough better to justify some spit-dripping-from-the-mouth rampage about how everyone needs to be fired.
Anyone who is spouting off like that today with regard to this Browns team must have had delusional expectations from the beginning. Well either that or they’re a sociopath of some kind and you should probably just nod and smile at them.