Every now and then I like to help people out by telling them what they could say. Nobody says everything perfectly (as I know all too well,) and hindsight is especially nice when figuring out what you could have said that would have been superior to what you did say. Considering the last few days of press that Pat Shurmur has done, it appears that he might need a bit of help. I went ahead and put some answers together to the questions that might have better defused some of the controversy that Shurmur is facing today. Keep in mind, these aren’t my defenses for the coach, necessarily. These are just what I would consider to be better answers than some of the sarcastic, combative things that coach did choose to say.
(On his third down offense) –“I think you just try to find and do the things you do well. We converted a couple of fourth downs I think, which are important. I think you go back and you look at it. We look at all the situations all the time. We try to put together and do the things we do well, and the things that we do well, that attack the opponent we’re playing. We have to just keep going back to it.”
What Pat Shurmur should have said… On third down, you’re trying to mix in different looks all throughout the game. The first time we ran third and one in that area of the field, we went big and they got us for a two yard loss. The third and long before, Chris Ogbonnaya caught a 38-yard pass and the two plays leading up to the third and one Trent Richardson ran for four and five yards. So, I thought putting Ogbonnaya on the field would give them something to consider with Jordan Norwood being the first option on that play.
(On his reaction to Carl Banks statement that taking Richardson off of the field in the red zone does the defense a favor) – “That was Carl that said that? Maybe yes, maybe no. I don’t know. I don’t necessarily think that’s the case.”
What Pat Shurmur should have said… (Joking)Ogbonnaya just ripped off 38 yards. If putting him in is doing them a favor, then I’m happy to do it…. Look, I know better than anyone how good Trent Richardson is. He’s the kind of guy that you’d like to give the ball as many times as possible. I called a play that I thought could work and even if it didn’t, should have given us a chance to consider putting Trent back in and going for it on fourth down or just kicking a field goal. We preach ball security and nobody wants that play back more than Brandon Weeden. (Joking) He probably wants it back even more than I do.
(On if he is trying to say that Richardson is not ready to play every down) – “No, I’m not saying that, but I think it’s important that there are other guys that play. I don’t think you see any running back in the NFL play every single snap. If there is one out there I’d be curious to hear. Somebody know of a team that does that?”
What Pat Shurmur should have said… I think Trent Richardson can and will play almost every down of every game. Certainly most any time we consider going for it on fourth and one, he’ll be in there. He’ll also be in there on some third downs. We think we raise his value just that much more by giving the defense a few other looks throughout the game. That’s nothing against Trent. That’s the chess match of coaching in the NFL.
(On if he has second guessed himself on the third and one play calling where Weeden threw an interception) – “I want us to execute the play we call better and then we’re always looking at better ways to do things. I’ll let you guys second guess it and we’ll work on getting everything better.”
What Pat Shurmur should have said… I wouldn’t say I second-guess everything, but I certainly look at every game – win or lose – to see what I could have done better and what our team can do better. As we keep adding knowledge of these players and they add knowledge of our system, the more decisive we can be calling the plays and they can be executing them. It’s taking longer than I hoped because we haven’t won yet, but we still feel like we’re on the right track and our best football is ahead of us.
And … Scene…
Shurmur is under fire because his team hasn’t won yet. It’s predictable if not justified considering Mike Holmgren predicted a “big jump” this year. I also realize that Shurmur seems to have been left hanging out to dry for a second straight season with nobody else talking about the roster or anything else. Still, it is amazing to me that the strategy he’s come up with for his media relations only seems to be making things worse. That’s some serious misjudgment.