After another rough day at the office, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur suggested the Browns need to build on the positives from last Sunday's game against the Ravens.
“You just keep pushing I think that’s important. If this were a real easy thing then everybody could do it and so you just keep pushing. You might get tired of hearing me say that but that’s what you do and try to find a way to win a game."
Yeah Pat...we are getting tired of hearing you say it.
The Ravens 24-10 beatdown proved that the talent gulf between these teams is Grand Canyonesque. Same goes with Pittsburgh, who barring a miracle, should quickly dispatch the Shurmurs on a short week this Thursday.
Not withstanding all the "pushing", the rest of the season should be about determing who wants to be here next season. Everybody should be approaching each remaining game as a job interview, including the head coach.
As it always is with the Browns, there are more questions than answers, with the top three being:
Is Colt McCoy a franchise quarterback? With three-quarters of the season down, the answer is no--but he can make a case for himself in these last four games. True, McCoy hasn't had a healthy offensive line or capable receivers and has been stuck in an offense that emphasizes five yard passes, but he simply hasn't been effective. In an era where quarterbacks are putting up record numbers, McCoy has thrown for over 300 yards only once (needing 61 attempts to do it) and averaging less than 6 yards a completion. For a quarterback who's biggest asset is accuracy he's been really inaccurate this year, especially on short passes. And the beating he's taking is vaguely reminiscent of Tim Couch. At the very least, they should bring in another quarterback in the offseason for some competition. I'm personally rooting for him--but I'm a Browns fan. I expect the worst.
Is Peyton Hillis an elite running back? Yes and No. He's not elite when compared to other runners in this league but he is by far the best running back on the Browns roster. In the last two games, he has proved that he's a difference-maker, definitely in short supply around here. His agent needs to put down what he's smoking, and realize his client isn't worth $10 million. And the Browns need to stop acting like they don't need him. If the Browns have any chance of winning any of these last four games, it will be because of Hillis.
Can Pat Shurmur get a clue? Okay, that could have been phrased better but I think it's a legitimate concern. Shurmur has been utterly and completely overwhelmed this year and it doesn't seem he has the players full attention. Can he coax some better performances out of his offense these last four games? He's in no danger of being fired after his first season but it would sure make everyone feel better if he could steal a win or two down the stretch. At the very least, a new offensive coordinator should be first and foremost in the offseason. And maybe he needs to consult with his mentor Mike Holmgren some more on how to navigate the mine field that is an NFL head coaching job.
Don't think I let the defense off the hook. Giving up 204 yards to one running back--even one as good as Ray Rice--should never be acceptable. However, I'm of the belief that many of the defensive run troubles lately made be a sign of wearing down as the offense continues to put them in bad situations. They have a more solid foundation than the offense, but that ain't saying much.
Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The Browns can't keep doing the same things, or approaching games the same way and expect to win.
Maybe they should push in a different direction.
On a personal note, I wanted to give a shout-out to the Stow 6th Grade Boys Travel Basketball team on a great win against Nordonia last Sunday, 40-38. Sure, my kid's on the team--but it was a great game, nip and tuck all the way, and everyone contributed to a great win. Congratulations Bulldogs!