After watching today’s debacle against the Baltimore Ravens, a game that the Browns truly should have won, I believe it has been objectively decided that Pat Shurmur is the worst head coach currently in the NFL. I know there are quite a few good contenders, Romeo Crennel (another former Browns HC), Jason Garrett, whoever the Raiders have, Marvin Lewis (sigh…) and Norv Turner. Yes these men all are quite bad, but all of them have still gotten more out of the same or less than Pat Shurmur.
Now you may be asking this,
“How can he be the worst with a legit defense, no wide outs, a shaky QB situation, a bull running back and tough mostly close losses? They aren’t the worst!”
There in lies my biggest problem, in this league to survive you either need to be absolutely terrible, or very good. By that I mean being just terrible and getting a top-3 pick to land an impact player, or being pick 20-32 to continue adding to your already decent roster. Now all the teams in the middle can still be good and get legitimate players, but for a team like Cleveland, they need a franchise quarterback, a beacon of change and they don’t have that, they never have.
As far as possible franchise quarterbacks the Browns have had 3 total attempts since 1999.
1. Tim Couch, which honestly just like David Carr with the Texans had no chance whatsoever. While Couch was not that good, the team he was given was just god-awful. Couch was on his back more than Kim Kardashian during an NBA Finals game.
2. Brady Quinn, a laughable 1st round pick that everyone knew would be a bust. Quinn never had much beyond being a quarterback at Notre Dame and in my opinion was taken more for his Ohio roots to sell jerseys than on actual skills. Just like Tebow to the Broncos, everyone laughed at this pick.
3. Brandon Weeden, this is still going on and Weeden does have a lot of potential and in his defense he has damn near no one to throw to. Beyond Josh Gordon here and there the wide out core is abysmal. Then again he is 52 and will be on AARP soon. Probably will end up being a bust.
Notice I did not put Colt McCoy in here and that is because he was not taken in the 1st round and honestly with the team around him was screwed from the get go. Shurmur is supposed to be an offensive guru, an offensive mind of sorts that came from play-calling with the Rams and was one of the more up and coming coordinators in the game. This seems to be the kryptonite of the Browns. They pick the wrong up and coming guys to be their head coach, instead of Sean Payton, Mike Tomlin or Mike McCarthy, they take Romeo Crennel, Chris Palmer and Eric Mangini. Every 3 years there is a new face running the team, this very well may change now with new ownership, but history (and currently) is what we’re talking about here. The Browns are a poor excuse for a franchise.
Now with the lack of legitimate playmakers on offense I can understand playing relatively conservative, but Shurmur takes it to a new level. I am referencing a play in their 25-15 loss (ALL points are due to kicking phenom Phil Dawson) to the Baltimore Ravens. After a touchdown pass from Weeden to Gordon was called back for illegal formation, it was 3rd-and-11 still deep in Ravens territory. There are a number of ideas to run with here; a screen pass, back-shoulder throw, inside slant or an inside seem pass. All of these would have been good options, but what does Shurmur do? What does the offensive master himself think to do against a stout Ravens defense? He runs a draw play… a simple… useless… predictable… draw play. He played for the field goal. It was only 3rd-and-11!
Here is why I say he is the worst head coach in the NFL. He doesn’t try to do anything different. He squeaks by a 7-6 victory against San Diego on the back of Trent Richardson and when they do win, it is in spite of Shurmur instead of because of him. Even Norv Turner is willing to air it out and throw it down the field. Pat Shurmur is a more conservative version of Jim Tressel… if that is even possible.
It is such an easy thing to see, that the most successful coaches tend to be risk takers and have a more aggressive offense. Sean Payton, Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, Tom Coughlin are all coaches who are aggressive or allow their offenses to just play the damn game. They are not unnecessarily conservative. In my mind as a fan of football, conservative tends to lose more than it wins and Pat Shurmur is so conservative I think he is running for State Representative as a Republican.
We know Shurmur is going to get let go, the fans want it and Haslem wants his own choices at GM and head coach. Holmgren was a huge waste of $10 million and there is a decent amount of optimism that Browns fans should have with Haslem. I think he will be willing to take a shot on a QB if one lands in his land in the draft for 2013. Hopefully gone are the days of trading down and down and down and down and instead the Browns take the players they need. The Browns are a few linemen and a quarterback away from being a good team with something to work with, but in the end it starts and ends with the head coach. Pat Shurmur may be a pretty ok coordinator, but his tenure as a head coach has been an utter disaster and the Browns along with new owner Jimmy Haslem, will be happy to move on from this new failure of an administration.