On the heels of the Greater Cleveland Sports awards, it seems like a good time to see what the rest of awards season brings. Grantland’s resident NFL coaching critic Bill Barnwell has taken down Pat Shurmur all season, and now that it is in the books, he’s deemed Pat Shurmur’s challenge from a week eight game against the Chargers to be the “Most Useless.”
On the first play of a San Diego drive from their own 18-yard line, the Chargers picked up six yards on a pass to Robert Meachem. Shurmur saw something on replay and decided to throw his challenge flag. The play was overturned, turning an insurmountable second-and-4 into a dominant position of second-and-10. With about 46 minutes of challengeable action left to go, it’s hard to figure that Shurmur got good value for one of his two opportunities to throw the challenge flag without worrying about losing the flag for the rest of the game. As I wrote at the time, “It’s like being granted two wishes and using one of them to have a genie take out the trash for you.”
Not to ruin the whole charade, but Barnwell has also named Pat Shurmur the worst coach of the year. The man that the Eagles will be counting on to coordinate their Chip Kelly-fueled offense next year1 is most likely harshing at least some of the mellow that was achieved with the coup of landing Chip Kelly.
Sometimes the words we write on these pages can be questioned because the perspective is so close to home, but when you start reading national people with no Dawg in the fight, even if you agree with some of what they have to say, it’s noteworthy, I think.
It’s not that Shurmur made one bad decision in one particular aspect of the game in 2012; it’s that he made obviously wrong calls in so many different spots. He failed to go for two up 15-10 in the fourth quarter in Week 1 and it cost him the game in a 17-16 loss. He used a timeout before punting on fourth-and-1 from the Indianapolis 41-yard line with 6:38 left in a close game and ended up having to go for it on fourth-and-6 later on. He called nine pass plays on third/fourth-and-short in one Ravens game alone.
If Shurmur had developed his young talent into successful players, you would excuse his play-calling blunders. Instead, Shurmur failed to develop either Colt McCoy or Brandon Weeden into anything resembling an NFL-caliber starter, ran an injured Trent Richardson into the line for no gain for most of the season, and left the Cleveland organization with a lot of young players who have failed to reach anything resembling their potential.
There’s more there of course, and I recommend you read it, but if you wondered if Browns fans were just too hypercritical of Pat Shurmur in his time here, I think it’s pretty plain to see that the lack of coaching quality really truly does go beyond the won/loss record. It truly wasn’t you. It was Shurmur himself.
Here’s hoping this same thing isn’t written about Chud a year from now.
- Bob LaMonte is a wizard, apparently. [↩]