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Browns record masks early problems

Pat Shumur, Colt McCoy AP

The Peyton Hillis drama got us thinking that it’s time to do our bye week check-in of the Cleveland Browns.  We’ve already looked at the Redskins and Ravens.

2-2 is not what it seems

The Browns have new systems on both sides of the ball. They have a young quarterback. 2-2 should have everyone in Cleveland pretty happy, right?

Not really. The Browns and their fans are frustrated because they know the record is misleading.  They lost at home to Andy Dalton and the Bengals. They were outplayed at home by winless Miami, but escaped with a miracle victory.  Another team with a new coach — Tennessee — put a serious beat down on Cleveland in Cleveland.

Yes, it’s still 2-2.  But they haven’t played well.

Jury out on Colt McCoy

It’s still way too early to make judgements on Colt McCoy. Early this year, he’s taken a bit of a step back in a new system. He’s 29th out of 32 quarterbacks in yards-per-attempt. A revolving group of receivers with nebulous roles haven’t sorted themselves out.

The offensive line was supposed to carry this team, but it’s only been average in the early going. The team seems to miss Eric Steinbach.

Youth movement on defense

While the offense has largely disappointed, the defense has come along quicker than expected.  Rookies Jabaal Sheard and Phil Taylor look like solid picks.  Cornerback Joe Haden looks like a Pro Bowler.  Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron always seems to coach up an overachieving group.

Hillis situation looms

Pat Shurmur will be tested by the Hillis situation. Money, playing time, and effectiveness in a new scheme are all factors here. The Browns want to see what Montario Hardesty can do while also using Hillis. You get the sense the Browns don’t see Hillis in Cleveland long-term.  Evan Moore has also lightly questioned his small role on the team.

Road gets tougher

Three of Cleveland’s next four games are on the road. Seven of the next 11 games are away from Cleveland. The schedule is somewhat forgiving overall (Home games against Seattle, Jacksonville, and St. Louis), but the Browns have to play a lot better to stick around .500.

At this point, the Browns don’t look like a team that will be competitive against playoff-caliber competition.

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39 Responses to “Browns record masks early problems”
  1. brownsbraves11 says: Oct 6, 2011 8:30 PM

    I’m not a Pat Shurmur fan so far, but I am a Dick Jauron fan and I’m proud of the boys for being 2-2. I don’t care how “ugly” those wins might’ve been.

  2. jeffharwell3 says: Oct 6, 2011 8:30 PM

    atleast the Browns are not playing the “Suck for Luck” game. Give it up for all the teams that could be tanking and and are overachieving… How much you want to bet the Colts throw in the towel and draft Luck and get out of that monster deal for Manning… I for one hope not!!

  3. baltimorons says: Oct 6, 2011 8:32 PM

    The biggest problem I see with the Browns is that they are in Cleveland. It’s a travesty really.

  4. yeahyeahyeahbono14 says: Oct 6, 2011 8:35 PM

    Why are we still talking about the Browns?

  5. Cowboys-Forum says: Oct 6, 2011 8:35 PM

    The Browns are a gluten for punishment………………..thank you sir, may i have another.

  6. ezmoover says: Oct 6, 2011 8:44 PM

    Ha! “miracle victory over Miami”? Ya right.

    McCoy quarterbacked an excellent no huddle two minute offense and under great pressure for the game winning TD.

    After the refs screwed the Browns on outrageous celebration penalties and gave Miami excellent field position, the defense completely shutdown the Fins when they needed barely 10 yards for FG range.

    That was no “miracle”.

    That was damn good football by a very young team playing under great pressure.

  7. rowdymon says: Oct 6, 2011 8:45 PM

    McCoy will be OK. The line problems along with the lack of separation with the WRs are bigger concerns.

  8. jaybertx says: Oct 6, 2011 8:47 PM

    The Browns don’t look like a team that will be competitive against non-playoff caliber competition either. 5-11 here we come again.

    I just hope to see improvement… the penalties are killing us and that game against Tennessee was just a flat out embarrassment.

  9. turdfurgerson68 says: Oct 6, 2011 9:02 PM

    Who cares…does anyone care??? Why is this even an article ?

  10. yeahyeahyeahbono14 says: Oct 6, 2011 9:06 PM

    @Cowboys-Forum How can one be a gluten for punishment? Do they have to be a diabetic or something?

  11. texline1 says: Oct 6, 2011 9:08 PM

    Really? Gluten?

  12. 4512dawg4512 says: Oct 6, 2011 9:08 PM

    Gregg you wrote this like it was some kind of a surprise. The Browns are on a constant treadmill. A few years ago the Lions were the laughing stock of the league and now look at them. The Browns came back from non existence in 99 and since then its been the same old thing. They play down for teams they should beat and they play up to teams that are better than them. once again 5-11 sounds pretty good for the Browns once again

  13. dixon29 says: Oct 6, 2011 9:13 PM

    So a Cowboy fan (Cowboys-Forum) is talking smack on the Browns? Newsflash… your team has one playoff win since 1996, the Browns have one since 1994. The Browns were out of the league for three of those years so please keep reminding us all how Dallas is an “elite” NFL team. Basically… Dallas sucks!

    Go Browns!!!

  14. profootballwalk says: Oct 6, 2011 9:15 PM

    Cowboys-Forum says: Oct 6, 2011 8:35 PM

    The Browns are a gluten for punishment………………..thank you sir, may i have another.
    **********************************

    An entire town’s English teachers just slit their wrists.

  15. waitingguilty says: Oct 6, 2011 9:19 PM

    Nice write up…but I don’t think even Browns fans believe this team is any good yet.

  16. redrifle14 says: Oct 6, 2011 9:20 PM

    Browns are tough on defense. Their offense sucks though. Colt throws at the line of scrimmage or behind the line more then any other QB in the league. Also Hillis is a work horse, and Hardesty wasnt healthy even when at UT. Get a new OC.

  17. trickbunny says: Oct 6, 2011 9:37 PM

    Cute “hit piece” on the Browns. I guess news is slow.

    The problem for teh browns is consistency. You can report that Cleveland was even dominated in it’s two wins, but we folks who *actually watched those games* (unlike the PFT staff) can tell you that, at various points in all 4 games, the Browns were utterly dominant for a drive or two… then sucked for a while, then had a couple more good drives, etc.

    The Browns problems are largely in their own heads. People don’t always realize just how mental this game is. The Browns come out firing on all cylinders and then, as soon as there’s a momentum shift, they fold. The team has enough talent that, with this year’s easy schedule, there’s no reason they can’t go 9-7 or better with the talent that’s on the team right now.

    That said, they probably won’t because this team will never be a winner until it can get out of it’s own way and BELIEVE they can actually win when the going gets tough.

  18. yajas says: Oct 6, 2011 9:43 PM

    jeffharwell3 says: “are not playing the ‘Suck for Luck’ game…”

    Screw this whole “suck for luck” garbage. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I don’t follow college enough to know anything about Luck but I do know that the more someone is hyped and guaranteed to be a sure thing, the more likely they are to be a big disappointment.

    They get over-hyped. They’re forced into action too soon. The expectations are ridiculously high. They get a huge contract that makes them feel like they’ve arrived, which makes them less motivated.

    Any team that intentionally tanks it for the opportunity to throw all their eggs in one basket with a “sure thing” of a draft pick is beyond stupid.

    (I didn’t mean to pick on your comment in particular Jeff, it just happened to be the one I saw that pushed me over the edge with this Suck for Luck nonsense.)

  19. artflooney says: Oct 6, 2011 9:46 PM

    It’s because they never win at home. It’s like the Steve Bartman thing. As soon as he did his thing with that foul ball, the mood in the entire stadium changed and the players and pitcher got tight and the Marlins got really motivated. Same thing happens in Cleveland. Only after every 2 yard run on every 1st down, the crowd has that collective moan. The players feel that and get tight. It’s every week. It’s not the fans fault…when you see something happen over and over and over again for over a decade, it’s only human to expect it will keep happening. But you’re always a little disappointed when it does.

  20. artflooney says: Oct 6, 2011 9:52 PM

    Yajas, I usually agree with you, but I stay up to watch Luck play sometimes. He really is that sure of a thing.

  21. larrydavidstern says: Oct 6, 2011 10:17 PM

    No head coach in the league looks out of his element more than Pat Shumer. You can tell the coaches who should just be coordinators, and he’s definitely one of them. Good thing they paid Holmgren all that money so he could run Mangini out of town and hire his buddy who has the same agent.

  22. bjones036 says: Oct 6, 2011 10:26 PM

    Really? everybody wants to talk like the browns were a super bowl favorite or in playoff contention for that matter… this season is about improvement and being competative. The browns have a 3rd quarterback not a top 10qb. Give it a little time, maybe a season or two but rebuilding a frachise that’s been in a mess since 99 takes time. Go browns!!

  23. slowclyde86 says: Oct 6, 2011 10:37 PM

    None of this is surprising. They have gone from one of the oldest teams (how many ex Jets can you get on a roster?) to one of the youngest in short order, had virtually no training camp and added entirely new systems on both sides—and it’s news they are inconsistent? They finally have (1) an actual president who seems to have steadied the franchise (2) a GM who can draft and trade well and (3) a clue. For the first time since the new Browns came into being there is cause for patient optimism. That being said, this will not be a good year.

  24. brownsfan5505 says: Oct 6, 2011 10:39 PM

    Little early to say Pat Shurmur should be run out of town. I do think he needs to reconsider is personnel. We have a good young TE in Evan Moore and we dont play him and instead we play alex smith. We have a stud in hillis and he touches the ball 10 times wtf? I dont care if we are down 2 TDs. You gotta play one down at a time and not go into panick mode when you get down a couple scores. We are not this dominate pass team, are best wrs are out TE and RB. Pat shurmur is a victim of thinking hed be okay as HC and OC, If it was that easy all the head coaches would be dual tasking but there not. Pull your head out of ur ass shurmur and hire an OC. Then you can focus on developing mccoy while someone else works on this pathetic effin offense. Browns have a lot of talent but we are just not clicking on offense. Hopefully this is more of an issue secondary to the lockout and a new system being installed. however i do think shurmur could have done better with play calling and personnel.

  25. football58 says: Oct 6, 2011 10:48 PM

    The problem with Cleveland is the idiot fans think average to below average players like Peyton Hillis are better than what they are. Hillis is not the LeBron James of football. He is more along the lines of Anthony Parker. Average at best! He didn’t help you win any more games last year, and is not off to a good start this year either.

  26. groundpounder95 says: Oct 6, 2011 11:10 PM

    Nothing could be finer than a run by Ernest Byner and the big Kevin Mack attack. In 85′ we came alive and in 86′ were going for more…and then Art the Fart took the Browns to the east coast and won a SB in Baltimore.

  27. oldbrowndawg says: Oct 6, 2011 11:36 PM

    Developing team. Lots to learn. End of story. Next.

  28. paulbrownsrevenge says: Oct 6, 2011 11:39 PM

    It’s a young team, as a Browns fan I’d be happy with 7 wins. Colt throwing the ball 61 times a game won’t get you many wins. The defense looks a lot better than I anticipated. The Steinbach injury is seriously hurting the team. We do need a playmaker at WR. If Holmgren can get the Searats to a suerbowl, he should be able to get Cleveland into the playoffs.

  29. mrfrostyj says: Oct 7, 2011 12:17 AM

    Has everyone in the NFL forgotten that the 2007 season even happened? You know, the last time it looked like Detroit was going to be a playoff calibur team (with John Kitna at that) and Cleveland didn’t loose ALL of their first 4 games. I believe the Lions tanked almost every game after the bye to end 7-9 while Cleveland went 10-6 because the other teams on their schedule just played worse then they did. What has changed?

    – Matt Stafford is still 1 tackle away from IR

    – A majority of Clevelands future opponents including the Steelers are severely underperforming.

    As it relates to this story, Cleveland might not play well against playoff calibur teams but I only count 2 left on their schedule (Ravens & Texans). That means if the Browns don’t turn it around their best case scenario is still 11-5. 11 wins is still 11 wins even if the field goal kicker is scoring all their points. Bears and Ravens both got to superbowls just off that premise because it sure wasn’t on the hall of fame skill and leadership of Rex Grossman and Trent Dilfer.

  30. packchampxlv says: Oct 7, 2011 12:49 AM

    The Browns? Really? I’d be shocked if they win a championship in my lifetime.

  31. Sandra Lee's Cans says: Oct 7, 2011 4:44 AM

    baltimorons says:
    Oct 6, 2011 8:32 PM

    The biggest problem I see with the Browns is that they are in Cleveland. It’s a travesty really.
    ___________________________________

    Thank you for your original, intelligent, and well thought-out comment. Very clever indeed, sir.

  32. johnmtyl says: Oct 7, 2011 6:28 AM

    OK, this article is a bit much. First, the team takes heat for losing to Dalton/Bengals? Lat time I checked the Bengals only implemented a new offense, not a new defense too. And McCoy had what, 8 more starts than Dalton?

    Second, Tennessee put a serious beat-down on Cleveland? Really? While the score was 31-13, the fact of the matter is it could have easily been 24-20 if McCoy’s pick six at the 3 yard line goes the other way. Cleveland held the Titan’s offense to 3 second half points.

    I certainly do not believe the Browns will contend for a playoff spot, but let’s maybe do a better job when evaluating the team for stories…

  33. bigdaddybullwhip says: Oct 7, 2011 8:31 AM

    Everybody in Ohio knows that Cleveland is a losing city with loser sports organizations and loser fans.

  34. neemdaddy13 says: Oct 7, 2011 8:40 AM

    Another example of a hack writer with an agenda. 2-2 is 2-2, no excuses, no reasons. It is what it is. Let me guess the Stoolers should be 4-0. GTFOH. The Browns will finish no worse than 7-9. I hope you are ready to eat some crow. I will be checking back to remind you dumb ass.

  35. Sandra Lee's Cans says: Oct 7, 2011 10:05 AM

    bigdaddybullwhip says:
    Oct 7, 2011 8:31 AM

    Everybody in Ohio knows that Cleveland is a losing city with loser sports organizations and loser fans.
    __________________________________

    Spoken like a person who wears their ignorance with fierce pride. You probably think a shaved head, tattoos and biker boots are the hallmarks of a tough person but if you want to see tough, look no further than the people who call Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit and other cities that have fallen on hard times home.

    Cities like these, before the manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas, were some of the most important and vital cities in the country. People like Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller made their homes here, but you wouldn’t know that. That would have taken some research on your part before you shot from the lip.

    Cleveland still has some of the best hospitals and medical care in the world, let alone the US. It is home to one of the finest universities in the country, some of the best museums, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Metroparks system is incredible. But you have probably never developed an appreciation for anything finer than your favorite beer on sale.

    Cleveland loves its sports teams but there is more to the city than a won-lost record. So crack a cold one and enjoy your taunts because the joke is on you.

  36. td40 says: Oct 7, 2011 11:38 AM

    football58 says:
    Oct 6, 2011 10:48 PM

    The problem with Cleveland is the idiot fans think average to below average players like Peyton Hillis are better than what they are…
    ————————————————

    Wow. ANOTHER post from football58 about Peyton Hillis. All this dude does is post about Peyton Hillis. Doesn’t even matter if the article has anything directly to do with Hillis. Any story even remotely connected to the Browns, here comes football58 to bring up Peyton Hillis.

    Sexually obsessed much?

    I think you are. Maybe that explains the pictures of greased up bodybuilders on your bedroom walls.

    That’s right- I know about it… Internet’s not as anonymous as you might think.

    You take one look at Hillis and your knees melt. Unable to have him, you lash out in frustration! Ha ha ha ha….

    Please keep obsessing on Hillis after any Browns story. You’re only proving my point.

  37. cledawg says: Oct 7, 2011 11:40 AM

    Not a big fan of Shurmer for far. I would like to see him hire an OC who will sit up in the box and have a better view of what the defense is doing. Hard to see all that at field level. I feel confident once this team has a better grasp of the playbook and West Coast Offense, McCoy will be able to audible out of plays when the defense is showing their hand.
    Not gonna lie, I got a huge laugh out of all the cowboy fans talking trash. Geez self appointed “America’s Team”…Geez no wonder other countries think Americans are a joke, lazy and underachieving.

  38. texansarenumber1 says: Oct 7, 2011 5:28 PM

    Now i know this has nothing to do with the article^…..but i would jus like to point out tht colt mcoy is from texas and that is why he is such a beast :D

  39. MVQB7 says: Oct 10, 2011 10:09 AM

    The Browns have wins over two winless teams at this point. I am not sure I would be counting them out of the running for andrew luck just yet.

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