April 18, 2014

The sooner we get away from Shurmur and the Big Show, the Better

Can it get any worse here in Cleveland?

I was watching another vintage Pat Shurmur-led debacle in Dallas, and all I could do is sit back and laugh. Seriously, how can you even get yourself worked up over this stuff anymore? Every week the Browns hang around just long enough to keep you interested, then fall off a cliff in the end. Spare me the “at least we are competitive” bit. It’s really simple. As was said in the classic flick Top Gun: “There’s no points for second place.” Nobody cares if you are close. Moral victories are for losers.

And that is what Pat Shurmur’s team is. Sorry, that is the truth. It’s nice that Trent Richardson looks like a beast and that the young WR duo of Josh Gordon and Greg Little look like keepers. It’s nice that Joe Haden is a great corner back. It’s nice that the Ahtyba Rubin/Phil Taylor combo are loads in the middle of the D-line. It’s nice that D’Qwell Jackson is an All-Pro type middle linebacker. But none of it matters because the team doesn’t win.

This group is comically undisciplined and poorly coached. The Dallas Cowboys should be ashamed of themselves. When you are being worked over by Pat Shurmur, it’s probably not a good sign. It is easy to see what was coming in the end though. Even when Brandon Weeden, who was high and wide all day, hit Ben Watson for what was then the go-ahead TD with just over a minute to play, the first thing I thought was “we left way too much time on the clock.”

Of course, there was an extra 20-30 seconds left on that clock and the Cowboys were able to save a timeout because Shurmur decided to run a play before the two-minute warning instead of taking it all the way down as the Browns were deep in Dallas territory trying to score.

You know it’s bad when I look at my Twitter timeline and 12 consecutive tweets essentially said “how could Shurmur run a play before the two-minute warning?” If the media and fans pick up on this within a second of it happening, how can Shurmur not be aware of the situation? On top of that, he has Brad Childress, a former head coach, as his offensive coordinator. Shouldn’t he know better?

Incredible. The good news is that after the last two losses to Baltimore and Dallas and the manner in which these have occurred, any slim chance of new owner Jimmy Haslam and Team President Joe Banner keeping Shurmur on has evaporated. I seriously cannot remember a head coach of any of the teams in this town in my lifetime as in-over-his-head as Shurmur. And I just saw Romeo Crennel not that long ago!

Quite a hire by Mike Holmgren.

Speaking of “The Big Show,” the fraud who barely shows his face in Berea let alone at games (either home or road) decided that yesterday would be the time for him to make his presence known with the team he is “retiring” from at the end of the year. Reports have it that Holmgren was all over the field before the game, shaking hands and yukking it up with several people, including Cowboys owner and coach Jerry Jones.

Gee, I though that he hadn’t even thought about or talked about his coaching future at all? Isn’t that what he told the media last week? As if we should believe anything he says. Holmgren duped Randy Lerner to the tune of $40 million and leaves town with the team barely in better shape then when he took over. Sure, there is more talent, but what did he have to do with it?

Holmgren was nothing more than a self proclaimed “tie-breaker” with a reputation of being a “Quarterback guru.” Keeping Eric Mangini as his head coach whom he had complete philosophical differences with on both sides of the ball was his first mistake. That marriage had about as good of a chance of lasting as Kim Kardashian and anyone. His first on-the-field grand idea was bringing in Jake Delhomme to be the starting QB with hand-picked Seneca Wallace as his backup.

Two and a half years later, Delhomme and Wallace are out of football, Holmgren’s third-round QB savior, Colt McCoy, is a backup to his next great QB project, 29-year-old Brandon Weeden.

Holmgren’s one coaching hire was Shurmur, a not exactly “hot coordinator” choice who led that “vaunted” St. Louis Rams offense for two years. Was Shurmur’s name being floated as a head coach anywhere else? As we know, Shurmur runs Holmgren’s pet West-Coast Offense, which is becoming as outdated as Holmgren’s “QB Guru” status.

One of the smartest and most informed sports fans I know, goes by the Twitter handle @ClevTA. Upon the hiring of Shumur by Holmgren, coming off of the winner take all NFC West Finale two seasons ago between the Rams and the Seattle Seahawks, he sent me the following email breaking down this hire:

It has been documented that St Louis had the 26th ranked offense in the NFL in terms of yards but if you look even deeper those numbers are even less impressive. Remember the Rams play in the NFC West and faced a minimum of 6 weak defenses this past season. In fact if you add up their opponents stats’, the Rams played the 25th ranked defensive schedule in the NFL. So in summary the Rams had a bad offense vs an easy schedule. For comparison sake the Browns had the 29th ranked offense in terms of yards but at least faced a murderers’ row schedule that ranked 4th toughest overall. In addition, in his biggest test of the year the Rams failed miserable against Seattle with a shot to make the playoffs when the Rams scored only 6 pts and put up a meager 184 yds against the 26th ranked defense in Seattle.

The thing that really gets me about that game is how the offensive plays were being called by Shurmur. They gave the ball to their best offensive player, Steven Jackson, only 11 times the entire game with only 4 coming in the crucial 2nd half when the game was a 1 score contest. To me this is even more indefensible when you consider you have a rookie QB on the road at night in the most hostile environment in the NFL. This is the type of game you should rely on your All-Pro RB to take pressure of off Bradford. This to me is symbolic of what we are going to be getting.

I just don’t understand how Shurmur has earned this position. What, track record is meaningless now in the NFL when it comes to earning a HC position? Seriously, it’s like someone going after Daboll as HC after this season’s performance. It’s really no different considering he had a similar WR crew as St Louis, a RB in Hillis who had a Steven Jackson-type season and a rookie QB under center. You could argue that on the surface Daboll is just as deserving, which we all know is ludicrous.

I think he nailed it two years ago.

Not only has Pat proven he was not ready to be a head coach in terms of X’s and O’s, the Browns look ill-prepared and undisciplined. Sure, they “fight hard every week,” but in a league of quick turnarounds, they are again one of the five worst teams in the NFL, a place they have been arguably since the 2008 season.

On top of Shurmur’s porous coaching record, he can’t seem to stay away from shooting himself in the foot in postgame press conferences. He gets easily rattled at any sign of the media questioning his in-game strategy, where he has left himself open to ridicule on so many occasions. Who can forget the infamous Indianapolis fourth quarter heading scratching decisions, or kicking an extra point in the fourth quarter up by five in the opener against Philly, only to lose by a point, or the 3rd and one play calling, or yesterday’s 4th and goal fade to Jordan Cameron. Those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Shurmur just isn’t cut out for this job and will be relieved of his duties after the season. Take that to the bank.

But back to the man who hired him. Throughout it all – the constant losses, the decision to bring in a guy from his agent’s coaching tree and a “friend of the program” as his head coach, McCoy’s concussion debacle, the Seattle radio interviews – Mike Holmgren has only appeared when he either wanted to or the screams of “where is the face of the franchise” got too loud for him to ignore.

Yet there he was yesterday, walking the field at Cowboys Stadium before the game, handshaking and making small talk like he owned the place. Next year, he probably will. Jerry Jones can’t win with Jason Garrett as his head coach. We all saw that team yesterday. The Cowboys are going nowhere fast. Holmgren is now available and admits he still has the coaching itch. Per the Plain Dealer’s Tom Reed yesterday:

It’s a match made in heaven. A pair of ego-maniacs running and coaching the NFL’s all-sizzle, no-steak team.

Thursday is Thanksgiving. I am thankful for Jimmy Haslam buying the Browns, bringing in Joe Banner, and for the eventual final sweeping out of the Holmgren/Shurmur era.

(Photo via John Kuntz / The Plain Dealer)

  • NoVA Buckeye

    Shurmur is a lock for greatness

  • maxfnmloans

    were you there? Or did you just see the movie? Because I actually took a class on it, so if you would like to have a discourse about Titanic, I’d love to. I find it fascinating.

  • maxfnmloans

    Here’s the deal. I didn’t want to be right. I dont watch and invest money into being a football fan so I can be “right” on an internet message board. I want the team to, you know, win more often than they lose. So when it turns out I was right, I see no need to crow about it, simply because it does nothing for me.

    Great, you were right. Wonderful. Can “Oribiasi being right” cover opposing teams WR’s? No? Then whoop dee freaking doo

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Scott @ WFNY
  • http://www.cinpleweb.com/ stin4u

    Thank you! +20 awesome points to you, spend them wisely.

  • Roosevelt

    LOL @ jimkanicki’s screenshot. I was excited yesterday when Craig tweeted my comment from the Browns thread, but I had no idea that I’d gotten that honor before at the Cavs draft. I stand by it though – Waiters was the Cavs outsmarting themselves (and Zeller was the Cavs being too conservative…) And the result is that here we are two top five picks removed from the Kyrie pick, and we’re still stuck on Kyrie Irving and spare parts.

  • Harv 21

    you know, just having read the comment thread here, you don’t even slightly annoy me any more. I actually feel sorry for you. It’s like you have no awareness of how immature your stream of attacking and self-congratulatory comments make you make you appear to others.

    Did you really suggest someone have a beer with you and talk sports? Read your own comments and think about whether you’d want to have a beer with that guy.

  • http://twitter.com/JustARegularJoe Regular Joe

    As much as I have hated Shurmur/Holmgrum, I have liked Heckert, I know not everyone does, but he is part of this regime, feel he fits in to this article/conversation a little bit. Just wondering what everyone here thinks of the job Heckert has done so far and the odds of him staying with the team?

  • Hypno_Toad

    Fellow WFNY’ers. We’ve been expecting this day for a while now. So I implore you to stock up on canned goods, board your windows, buy batteries, and most importantly tell those close to you one last time that you love them because you might not make it out of this.

    This is it. Oribiasi has been waiting for this article for years. The gloating and sheer smugness of the comments below could send you into a coma. Brace yourselves.

    May God help us all.

  • R Michael

    Agree or disagree with you is not the point here … the point I will make is this, I do believe that Shurmur is gone at seasons end. With Joe Banner taking over the front office I see one of two scenerios happening. Reid gets fired by the eagles and Banner hires him for Cleveland, or Jimmy Haslam uses his past ties to the dreaded Steelers and hires Bill Cowher … which one do you perfer? I know which one I want!

  • maxfnmloans

    I find it hilarious that the guy talking to me about making sure he would have been first in line for a lifeboat on the Titanic (you know, women and children first) is pulling the “man card” on someone else. You just cant make this stuff up.

  • porckchopexpress

    You have spent this entire thread and the past year complaining about How people say their criticism of you.
    Telling someone to “Be a Man” on the Internet ranks among the most masculine challenges I can think of. If Chuck Norris and the Marlboro man had a son he’d be you. Now go put your Wranglers on, douse yourself with Stetson and head out into the wild untamed Internet hinterlands to show others what virtual masculinity looks like.

  • porckchopexpress

    Its only half a strawman. If you want to be noticed for having said Shurmur was going to be a failure, that acknowledgement must come from people who thought he was going to be a success.

    If you want a sincere gesture do some leg work and find the writings and comments on this board from people saying Shurmur was going to be a success, then browbeat kudos out of those people. To just pop in and pretend that you and one other person “knew” something no one else did sounds foolish. Again its not a strawman, its asking you to prove that these people exist. Because to my knowledge almost everyone fell somewhere on spectrum from “Hes going to be a bust” (You) to “Lets give it time and see”. You are acting like you were the only one who could concieve that this whole thing would fail. We all knew it could, most of accepted there isn’t much we can do about it.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    There is nothing easier than betting on another person’s failure, then saying “I told you so” after it happens.
    There is also nothing more annoying and juvenile.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    lookit. youre missing my point.

    i –and others– said here: whoa. this prevailing wisdom that shurmur is a ‘groomer of qbs’ is nonsense. that being the OC presiding over a remarkably under-achieving rams offense is a negative, not the positive it was portrayed here.

    regrettably i do not have an indexed archive to present these posts and who cares anyway. i get that.

    but if you want to do this: i challenge YOU to show ME more than one article on this blog that took a look at shurmur’s record critically. show me but one sentence here wondering how an OC on a team with stephen jackson can go 2-14 on third downs in the biggest game theyve had in a decade.

    so for TD to come here and bang the drum for shurmur’s head (after a road loss to a playoff team) on the ‘preach patience, arent all you negative fans are a disaster’ blog struck me as soft. the least he couldve done was acknowledge that the great unwashed out here who are not in some beknighted blogocracy are sometimes correct.

    if you dont recognize that this blog in particular tends to hold itself superior to the fans who dissent, then we’re not reading the same blog here.

  • maxfnmloans

    I can’t say for certain with Heckert. I’d need to see who they think they could get to replace him. Not sure if they are reviewing potential GM candidates or not. Heckert is the best GM we have had since Ernie Accorsi, but given our swath of failure, I’m not sure what that really means

    Basically, I’d replace Shurmur with a shovel wearing a headset, but for Heckert, if they do want to replace him, the replacement better be extremely good

  • steve

    I though some might find this worth reading. oribiasi and jimkanicki in support of hiring Holmgren: http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2009/12/mike-holmgren-turns-down-senior-leadership-postion-with-seattle-seahawks/

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    see if you can find the posts where i hoped/wanted asked for holgrum to hire his supposed friend and fellow lamonte client john fox.

    christ, the little girls in this site. this is you doing your research.

    and also this.

  • thatmankev

    Outstanding article, I don’t think anyone could have said it better.

  • BrownsDude

    We need to keep Shurmur and keep some consistency to the coaching staff. One of the things that I liked to hear from our new owner was that he understands that continuity is a good thing. Think about how many head coaches we’ve had in the last 20 years…and then think about how many the Steelers had. And remember, Cowher had three 6-10 years, and his last coaching year he was only 8-8. Oh, and Chuck Nolls first three years were 1-13, 5-9, and 6-8.

  • ricktenny

    Shurmer, Childress = The Peter Principle at it’s finest.