The Cleveland Browns are nearly through the season that has been as much fun for the fans as a root canal without pain killers. The team has ended the season with a 4-12 record. That is just one win short of the record that got Eric Mangini fired last year.
Is there any talk in the organization of firing Head Coach Pat Shurmur?
No, there is absolutely no indication that will happen.
There is a great deal of discontent on the part of the listeners on my radio show; however, and elsewhere in the fan base. The Bengals have had multiple blackouts of their games on TV due to lack of sellouts.
Even the Bengals' fans in Columbus have been watching the Browns because the Bengals' home games have been blacked out in our market as well. And the Bengals backed into the wild card after being a contender for the playoffs for most of the season.
I mention the Bengals because the Browns are very close to losing their fan base due to 13 years of incompetent management, and excruciatingly painful football. While the Browns have
been selling out games, a repeat of their season record in 2012 would very likely end that.
The choice of a guy like Shurmur with very little background as an OC and no experience as head coach at any level, indicates that the team management had no respect for the years of suffering of the loyal Browns' fans.
Another indication of the lack of concern for the fans was the decision not to fill the many holes left on the roster by Mangini with young free agents.
There were a number of 26 and 27-year-old free agents that could have made a major impact on the team. That decision has insured another losing season for the team.
That brings us to two issues. First and most significant is the management issue. In my opinion Shurmur is totally incompetent as both a head coach and offensive coordinator. His two years at St. Louis as OC proved his incompetence in that position.
In 2010, the Rams were 26th in the league scoring just 18.1 points per game. That was better than Mangini in Cleveland who ranked 31st with just 16.9 points per game. But that
was an improvement over Shurmur’s 2009 team rank.
In 2009, the Rams scored just 10.9 points per game and were dead last in the league. One
question is why had Shurmur even been considered qualified to become both head coach and offensive coordinator?
Other critical questions are, who was the one that decided he was the guy? And on what basis did anyone think Shurmur was qualified?
The Browns have been a laughing stock of the league since their return in 1999. Anyone with the
smallest modicum of sensitivity to the suffering of the Browns’ fans should have insisted on the next coach being experienced, and ready to take what talent there was on the roster and get the most wins possible from it.
Instead as has been the case so many times before, Browns' management chose to get a newbie who was only marginally qualified to be the OC let alone head coach. The result of the poor decision is the team's 4-11record, and key losses in very winnable games. The team and QB McCoy have regressed rather than grown in the season.
There have been far too many major mistakes made by Shurmur to justify giving him another year. Here are just a few examples of errors by Shurmur.
Anyone that took the time to watch the game films of 2010 could tell that Brian Robiskie was not a NFL receiver. Either Shurmur is no judge of talent or he did not look at the 2010 films.
Either alternative indicates he is not qualified to be a head coach in the NFL. Robiskie was named the starter for the first few weeks of 2011. He was finally cut on November 1.
Shurmur has failed at the quality control function that is essential in the roll of a head coach.
The special teams have cost the team at least three wins this year. The primary problem was All-Pro Long-Snapper Ryan Pontbriand who had lost his stroke.
Shurmur waited until November 29 to replace him. First time Special Teams Coach Chris Tabor still has a job. That too is troubling.
Then there was the fullback blast in the waning seconds of the Rams' loss. The Browns had the ball on the nine in a 13-12 game. The problem was that second team TE Alex Smith was in at FB, and in his long career had never run the ball from scrimmage. He fumbled, but the Browns recovered.
Isn’t the OC supposed to know who is in and who is not? Yes the OC is supposed to be aware of that.
Perhaps the final straw for me was the total mishandling of QB Colt McCoy’s concussion. On television McCoy’s eyes looked to me like he was concussed. Having coached in semi-pro ball, I have seen that look before.
Shurmur sent him back into the Pittsburgh game two plays after the hit. McCoy has since been benched due to his injury.
There have been way too many critical errors on games to begin to detail, just like the Browns.
Since 1999, the team seems to invent new ways to lose winnable games. Shurmur has never even attempted an acceptable explanation for any of the errors.
For all of those reasons and the sanity of the fan base, I believe Shurmur must go now. He will
not be fired, which will likely lead to more seasons of futility for the team and the fans.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams,
has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college
football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits and hosts the Internet radio version of
News, Notes and Rumors M-Th at 6 PM EST on.