Halfway through the Cleveland Browns game, I posted the following message on Twitter and Facebook: “Pat Shurmur is a genius…said no one ever.” Sadly, I really did mean it. And looking at new owner Jimmy Haslam’s face, I truly believe he’s on the same page as me. So, what should Haslam and new team president Joe Banner do? Well, where do you even start?
I’m getting sick and tired of sounding like a broken record, but unfortunately, it’s what happens when you’re a Browns fans. The first thing Haslam and Banner need to worry about is finding a new head coach. Last week, I said I was no longer going to waste my time complaining about Shurmur. I lied. I saw Shurmur’s career reach an all-time low in Sunday’s 25-15 loss to the Ravens. For the first time in his head coaching career, Shurmur showed some guts and decided to go for it on fourth-and-one. Unfortunately, he decided to do this at the worst possible time. With 3:49 left in the fourth quarter, and the ball deep in Baltimore territory, Shurmur decided to go for it with the Browns down 22-15. Big surprise that the Browns failed to convert. Great idea, Shurmur.
I just don’t understand why Shurmur never puts any of the blame on himself. He likes to blame everything on personnel and execution. C’mon now Shurmur, the team isn’t executing because of the ridiculous play calling. I saw the other day where Shurmur said the players trust him. Clearly, he’s just trying to save his job. The fans don’t trust Shurmur, and I’m sure the players don’t either. He’s a joke, and if Haslam wants to make this team work, Shurmur has to be the first to go.
The next step is to make sure that Tom Heckert is the best option for the general manager. I have no serious issues with Heckert, because I believe he was forced to follow Mike Holmgren’s plan. Banner should have a much better vision for the team than Holmgren did, so I feel like Heckert will have a much better chance to succeed. Heckert has helped turn this team around, though, and I don’t think he should be given up on completely. Banner needs to thoroughly evaluate Heckert, and make sure they’re on the same page. If they are, Heckert should stay. If Banner feels that Heckert has a different idea for the team, then maybe they should look for a new general manager. Either way, Haslam and Banner need to make sure the front office is set before any other moves are made.
As far as the team talent goes, I don’t feel we need to make a lot of changes. I truly believe that on both sides of the ball, we’re just a couple of pieces away from having a winning team. Offensively, we need to pick up a big time receiver. Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace will be a free agent this off-season, and he could be a great pick up for the Browns. Everybody knows we lead the league in dropped passes, but we do have some decent receivers. We just need a go-to receiver, and Wallace could be the perfect choice.
Defensively, we need to focus on finding another cornerback, safety, and linebacker. Cornerback Joe Haden is good, but we need some help on the other side of the field. Safeties TJ Ward and Usama Young are decent, but I really do believe that Ward is a bit overrated. Middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has always been one of my favorite defensive players, but he’s hurt too often, and injuries have hurt him again this season.
The good news is that the Browns have been in almost every game this season, a big change from previous seasons. The upsetting news, is that with different decisions by the coaching staff, we could easily be 6-3, instead of 2-7. We have several games coming up that we can win, and should win, but with this coaching staff, I wouldn’t count on us winning. Personally, I think Haslam should make a big move and fire Shurmur during this upcoming bye week. Clearly, the team has nothing else to lose this season.
Want some more good news? We have no possibility of losing next week.
Stay positive, Cleveland!