Cleveland Browns: Pat Shurmur Should Be Fired During the Team's Bye Week

Bill SmithAnalyst INovember 5, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 23: Head coach Pat Shurmur of the Cleveland Browns talks with new Cleveland Browns team owner Jimmy Haslam prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Coach Pat Shurmur should not be allowed to coach the rest of the season.  If new owner Jimmy Haslam has any regard for the feelings of the fans and the team, he needs to fire Pat Shurmur immediately.  Shurmur is killing the development of the young team, the record and, worst of all, the fans' desire to even watch this mess on television. 

There is very little reason to freeze in a cold stadium when the fans realize they will be paying big money to watch another good effort by the players wasted by a bonehead call by the coach.

The loss Sunday to the Ravens was only the latest example of totally inept decision-making by Shurmur. 

The decision to go for 4th-and-2 on their own 28-yard line with two timeouts and 3:53 left on the clock was inexcusable.  I have to wonder if Shurmur decided to go for it because of the heat he took after not going for a 4th-and-1 on off the Colts’ 39 in that game.  But there is a huge difference. 

Against the Colts, the game was not over if the team failed to make the first move.  On the Browns’ 28 with a seven-point deficit, the game is over if the team failed to make the first down.  The Ravens were in a position to kick a game-ending field goal without making another yard.

Then, there is the play call.  I do not recall a single 3rd-and-short where the Browns tried the run.  On the play in question, there were only six guys in the box.  The Ravens had been playing that most of the second half.  Run the ball and get the first down. 

But if you don’t run, at least put the ball in Trent Richardson’s hands with a swing pass to give the team a chance.  Shurmur took away the team’s chance to win.  From a coaching standpoint, that is unforgivable. 

The play calling is getting to the point that I wonder if he realizes he is going to be fired and wants to show the fans that he has the power to call whatever he wants. Let’s hope he doesn’t have that power after the bye.

The team had thrown very few slants during the game. If he was not going to go to Richardson, where was Josh Cooper?  Little has gotten a little better in the last four games, but still is not a guy on which I would bet my game.

If the Browns had won the Ravens game, it is quite possible that Shurmur could have saved his job.  But this decision was just the light snow off the tip of the iceberg. 

The play-calls have often been late, causing the team to take time outs to prevent a penalty.  Shurmur’s offense does not fit the talents of his two 2012 first-round draft picks.  QB Brandon Weeden is much more comfortable in the shotgun.  But we have seen very little of that because it does not fit “Shurmur’s O.” 

Weeden campaigned to get Cooper, his favorite receiver at Oklahoma State, signed as an undrafted rookie free agent.  The Browns did sign him, but kept him on the practice squad in favor of guys with whom Weeden had no experience.  But it took the team nearly half a season to get Cooper on the roster.  He did provide some key catches in the two Browns’ wins.

Richardson is much more comfortable in the spread formation as well.  His best runs have come on the sprint draw.  The running game has been much more effective, with Alex Smith playing H-back rather than Owen Marecic at FB.  Not only is Marecic a poor lead back, but he cannot catch a pass.  On more than a half a dozen 3rd-and-short situations, a pass to him was dropped forcing a punt.  But again, it took a year and a half for the coach to make that change.

Perhaps the most frustrating factor for the fans is the total lack of urgency to win.  Shurmur has shown again and again that he is trying not to lose.  That will never produce a winning team, and the Browns fanbase deserves better.

By firing Shurmur now, Haslam will send a message to the fans, the coaches and the team that losing is not acceptable.

That’s what I think.  Tell us what you think.


Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams and edits  He has also published several novels on

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