Autopsy of A Season …. The Cleveland Browns
By tophatal …..
With the NFL regular season ending with the usual inevitability of the playoffs and the added suspense brought to the postseason. I think it can only fitting that we look at the reasons why a number of teams failed to live up to expectations . For the Cleveland Browns theirs was a season of missed opportunities , poor play and in large part and injury prone … team that saw the loss of Colt McCoy in the latter part of their schedule and no real leadership from any of the seasoned veterans on the roster .
Slide show for your perusal .
Coach Pat Shurmur and his coaching staff struggled to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve . Mike Holmgren as team President in conjunction with GM Tom Heckert during this off-season will have a number of decisions to make as it relates to roster in terms of their free agents and specifically the impending future of Colt McCoy.
With the rumors percolating as to whether or not the Browns will go into next season with McCoy as the team’s signal caller forces the front office into making a decision that many feel is now a priority for the organization. Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert know that is imperative that some sort of decision be made as to Brown’s future. Having to compete in the ultra competitive ….. AFC North alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers , Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals . And with the team having finished at the bottom of the division with little tangible to show for a rather poor season . For players such as Josh Cribbs , Peyton Hillis and Cedric Benson this sort of failure must grate on their nerves as professional football players.
The real struggles for the Cleveland Browns this season has not only been the lack of a cohesive unit in terms of team defense and offense . Within the AFC and league as a whole , one would have to ask how Holmgren and Heckert will go about repairing the issues that the team presently has. If nothing else it would appear that the team struggles in almost every facet of the game .
Granted , the team has drafted prudently over the years with their being hits and misses along the way . However, with there being a lack of real growth in the talent in a number of the players the Cleveland Browns’ struggles have been magnified with a succession of ill-timed moves in terms of the managerial carousel that has taken place in recent years. Romeo Crennel had his problems , only to be succeeded by Eric Mangini whose firing was justified , given the ineptitude shown by the coach ! Pat Shurmur in his first season , has seen some growth and confidence from his players but if they are to contend within their division ( AFC North) and within the league as a whole .
With the upcoming NFL Draft and the likelihood that there will a solid collection of quarterbacks having made their declarations to enter the process , it will be interesting to see if the Cleveland Browns do in fact take the opportunity of making a quarterback their first overall pick in the initial round of the 2012 Draft. The consensus seems to be that the Indianapolis Colts will indeed make their choice of taking Andrew Luck as the number one pick . With the likes of other declarees at the position , may well include Robert Griffin III , Landry Jones , Case Keenum and Denard Robinson . Are the coaching staff and front office prepared of the Cleveland Browns prepared to draft a quarterback in the first round albeit that the full health implications of Colt McCoy. The player having suffered a concussion during a regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after what a appears to be have been determined an illegal hit by James Harrison . McCoy’s on-field injury wasn’t determined by the Browns’ coaching staff or medical contingent to that serious at the time. But in the aftermath of it all , we learned that the player had suffered a grade two concussion with momentary memory loss . However , the player was determined that he was safe enough to re-enter the game , albeit that Colt McCoy stated he was OK , when clearly he was not . The player’s father , Brad, angered by the decision made by the coaches at the time spoke openly of his disgust towards the Browns in endangering his son’s long-term health and career.
Courtesy of NFL.com wire reports …..
In the aftermath of the Cleveland Browns’ Thursday night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, much of the post-game talk in the visiting locker room did not center on the game’s outcome, but instead, the vicious fourth-quarter helmet-to-helmet hit Steelers linebacker James Harrison administered to quarterback Colt McCoy .
McCoy, who returned two plays after going down, told reporters that he did not remember the hit. According to McCoy’s dad, however, the second-year quarterback’s mental state was far worse than he originally let on.
“I talked to Colt this morning and he said, ‘Dad, I don’t know what happened, but I know I lost the game. I know I let the team down. What happened?’ ” Brad McCoy told The Plain Dealer on Friday.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur admitted during his Friday press conference that Colt McCoy began to exhibit concussion symptoms after the game, and he now is being treated as if he suffered a concussion. Shurmur originally said during his post-game press conference Thursday that McCoy was “fine to go back in.”
That admission could be too little, too late for the NFL and Brad McCoy, who coached his son throughout junior high and high school. McCoy blasted the Browns organization for allowing McCoy to return to the game, and a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that the NFL will speak to the Browns and gather information on the possibility that McCoy returned to the game with a concussion.
Click on the link shown to read this article in its entirety .
With the league hierarchy under the leadership of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell simply not clarifying how the officials are to determine on-field hits and the players themselves not understanding the instructions it creates a grey area in terms the legalities of what is allowed and not allowed. Harrison , the Steelers’ defensive player has been repeatedly fined over the course of his career and again sustained a monetary fine for the hit that incapacitated the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback . With the NFLPA (union) now wanting clear clarification from the league and the lack of real communication not forthcoming from the commissioner , it does create a great deal of ambiguity for the defensive players around the NFL as they seek to perform with their usual determination, without being viewed as seeking to place an opponent in imminent danger . Given the health risks and the very fact that the NFL itself , along with the union over the years has done little to avert such situations , much readily admit the cause and effect of blunt head force trauma suffered during a game . It were as if the league and union believe that it is a small price to play , as the risk reward is simply a bye-product of the game. Somehow , were this a long-term injury that curtailed and prematurely ended the career of a quarterback named Drew Brees , Peyton Manning , Tom Brady , Ben Roethliberger or Aaron Rodgers , then perhaps there would be a tremendous outcry by the NFL fans and the public at large .
Now inasmuch , as I would like to see the Cleveland Browns succeed in becoming a competitive franchise within the NFL . It is pretty safe to say that they are fighting an uphill battle given the fact that Shurmur’s inexperience as an NFL coach and the numerous problems he faced in his rookie season indicates that this team is far from being where he and the coaching staff feel that they need to be. Moreover , while the Browns seek to return to respectability their divisional rivals such as the Baltimore Ravens , Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals now seem to be heading in the right direction . One could claim that the Steelers after their loss in the wildcard round of this postseason , it could be stated that with an aging roster at its core Mike Tomlin and coaching staff might now seek to assess the team in terms of its liabilities . The defeat by itself at the hands of the Tim Tebow led Denver Broncos may not be all that detrimental to the Pittsburgh Steelers overall but by no means should anyone undercut what this defeat has done the organization . Has it made the front office now rethink their strategy and how they will now go about seeking to reassert their themselves as a perennial contender for the Superbowl within the NFL ? It would be remiss to write off the Pittsburgh Steelers given the franchise’s lauded history . A six-time winner of the Lombardi Trophy the organization is still one of the most admired and revered franchises within the NFL.
Picture gallery for your perusal .
What do yo believe to be are great strengths and weaknesses of the Cleveland Browns as a team ? Also do you believe the organization capable of becoming a truly competitive organization and a perennial contender within the NFL ?
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) CLEVELAND, OH – JANUARY 01: Seneca Wallace (6) of the Cleveland Browns runs by Safety Troy Polamalu (43) of the Pittsburgh Steelers in a game played at Cleveland Browns Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images ….
(2) Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (89) of the Pittsburgh Steelers catches a ball in front of defensive back Dimitri Patterson (21) of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images ….
(3) Colt McCoy (12) of the Cleveland Browns lays on the ground while speaking to athletic trainers after a helmet to helmet hit from James Harrison (92) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 8, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ………
(4) : Peyton Hillis (40)of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the sidelines during the closing moments of the Browns 20-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……
(5) Browns’ team President Mike Holmgren , left, is seen here alongside GM Tom Heckert. The two have numerous decisions to make concerning the team’s roster makeup but noticeably the future as it relates to quarterback Colt McCoy. Courtesy of The Cleveland Plain Dealer ……..
If at all interested do take time to participate in the above poll.