4th and 1. A 1-5 team on the road with nothing to lose. You go for it. Right? Well, you and everybody else may have, but not Pat Shurmur. He elected to punt. He also elected to run the clock out at the end of the first half and go to the locker room instead of trying a long pass that could have drawn a pass interference call or better yet, resulted in points. I was even more frustrated about this as I watched a college coach this week in a similar same scenario go for it. While the team did not score, they at least drew the penalty and had a free play before the half. I mean, you have a quarterback with an arm who can at least give you a chance. Why not at least try?
I get it that if Josh Gordon catches that touchdown, that Shurmur’s decisions may be inconsequential, but Gordon didn’t, resulting in the sixth loss of the season for the Cleveland Browns. Shurmur continues to defend the decision, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, as his behavior up until this point hasn’t shown that he takes responsibility for much. Instead he lashes out at the media with his inexcusable tantrums. I also believe that he should have sat star running back Trent Richardson and should not play him for at least another week or two granted that he is even at least 90% healthy then. I fear that the more they run him out there when he’s injured, the more problematic these injuries will become. According to Richardson, we have yet to see him at 100%. Let me me just tell you, if the way he ran against the Bengals in Cincinnati wasn’t 100%, I cannot wait to see him at full strength.
If new owner Jimmy Haslam’s reactions in Indianapolis were any indication, Mr. Shurmur will not be in Berea come next season. It’s unfortunate, as even though I believe that the Bengals are overrated, the Browns beat a supposed play-off team and an AFC North rival in them, and finally appeared to be on the right track. Besides the special teams mishaps- the botched point after attempt by holder Reggie Hodges; the two penalties (though they were very questionable at best) on Ray Ventrone that erased Josh Cribbs’ returns, and the defense’s inability to stop the run, there were some positives for Browns.
Brandon Weeden continues to get better every week. That over the shoulder pass to Gordon was gorgeous, and the one Gordon dropped in the end zone was perfectly thrown. Weeden has improved in his decision-making which has resulted in less turnovers and has seemed to just about have perfected the long ball. Greg Little, whom many fans had begun giving the Braylon Edwards treatment for all of his drops, had a second straight game in which he actually held onto the ball, and his bobbled touchdown catch was just awesome. It’s funny what a little competition will do. After Gordon started making his presence known against the Giants, Little has really stepped it up. I will also say that Little’s ability to block has been stellar.
I’m a big believer in playing not to lose, and the same goes for coaching. When a quarterback is timid and afraid of making mistakes, what typically happens? All you have to do is see Brandon Weeden in game one against the Eagles (as I believe this was part of his problem that day) if you don’t know the answer. With the San Diego Chargers coming into town, and this being a winnable game in my opinion, I would love to see Shurmur take some more chances. If not, that already hot seat of his is going to be scorching come Monday morning.