- The Browns offense has yet to show any characteristic of improvement. The strangest thing is, this Browns offense looks no better than it did upon it being implemented in August. Head coach Pat Shurmur's WCO has yet to impress anyone, not those on the playing field, Browns fans or the opposition on game-day.
In today's NFL, an offense cannot simply expect to be competitive when dumping the ball off to RB's and TE's a few yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
Either the QB does not possess the skill-set to lead an offense at this level or the head coach has fed all a line. Shurmur noted previously that McCoy can get out of a play at the line of scrimmage. If this is true, then how does the QB not read the blitz and where a defense loads-up prior to the snap?
Shurmur either does not have confidence in his players' ability to execute, does not believe his QB is capable of handling the offense or his play-calling is insufficient.
Maybe, just maybe all of the above are the reality of the situation.
- Injuries and inexperience have been a detriment to the Browns offense, but how a professional team does or head coach continues to enable poor play, poor execution and little promise of improvement.
Losing starting RB Peyton Hillis due to injury issues has hurt the Browns offense, not only as a rusher, but as a viable option in the passing game. Hillis' injury issues and the manner which he is perceived within the front office and locker room may prevent him from being a factor for the team in the second-half of the season.
Hillis goes down and second-year RB Montario Hardesty steps in. Hardesty is a change of pace type back, which did reasonably well, but struggled to be an asset in the passing game. Just as quick as he got on the playing field, Hardesty suffered a calf injury and is lost for the nest month.
Now, the Browns rushing game is dependent on a RB signed off a practice squad and a street free agent.
Only in Cleveland.
Rookie offensive guard Jason Pinkston and second-year guard Shawn Lauvao have struggled. The opposition has intensely pressured the interior of the Browns offense line. In what has become the norm, defensive linemen stunt and are not confronted, LB's and DB's blitz untouched or the Browns youth at the guard positions miss assignments or are slow in recognition.
Due to these issues, the play of LT Joe Thomas and C Alex Mack isn't as superior has it had been prior to the 2011 season. Having the responsibility to additionally play ‘help', gap integrity has been compromised at times, as does the edge pressure.
The RT position was a gaping hole until veteran Tony Pashos returned. While the positional play improved, Pashos is not agile enough to solidify the right-side of the line.
Any and the entire above are too much for a young offense to overcome, much less one such as the Browns which is limited in experience and skill position talent.
- The WCO is an offensive scheme which relies on timing, accuracy and rhythm. The story on game-day has been an unimaginative offensive play-calling, predictability and a lack of feel for the momentum of the game.
The Browns offense has been effective only when the team is in the hurry-up or sugar huddle type situations when the offense basically dictates the pace of the game and minimizes the defense's ability to tee-off.
McCoy is much better in the shotgun than under center. Sure, in the shotgun the options are limited in the running game, but the defense does not respect the Browns feeble attempts at play-action, so why go through the motions.
Until the Browns display the ability to beat the opposition over the top, defenses will load the box, blitz regularly and stifle the Browns offense at every turn.
How can it get any worse offensively for the Browns?
Don't think players on the offensive side of the ball aren't frustrated by the lack of production, trust and opportunity coming from the head coach.
Players want the ball, Josh Cribbs noting he kept telling McCoy to get him the ball a week ago was a one-time situation.
It's one thing to be conservative; it's another thing not using the tools you have.
- The Browns offense does not attempt to throw the ball down-field and is limited to the QB checking down quickly. The question remains, does QB Colt McCoy see the third level of the defense? Watching the QB on game-day, he locks onto receivers quickly, rifles through progressions and does not trust those within the situation he encounters.
There is a process involved when incorporating a new offensive philosophy. In Cleveland, it appears this is yet another season when the process hasn't met the road.
I question how far the Browns will go to win a game.
For weeks the play of the offense has been the same.
Run on first down, a short pass attempt or run on second down, leaving the team in 3rd and long yardage, followed by a five yard route on 3rd and eight.
Maybe not exact, but you get the idea.
Receivers running routes short of the first down marker, pass attempts inaccurate and short of the target or simply a ball being dropped.
And, we haven't even gotten to the QB running to his right, nearly immediately after getting the ball from center. At times due to the pressure, at times due to believing pressure is coming, when it isn't.
-The Cleveland offense is a scrambled mess. Much like a dysfunctional group, the offense has issues in all areas and the leader being just as dysfunctional as the group he is responsible for.
Head coach Pat Shurmur may be a good leader in time at this level. But at this time his work of art, his offensive philosophy, his offensive strategy and his hands-on approach has been a dismal failure.
For the two years prior to Shurmur's arrival in Cleveland, the Browns offense was stuck in neutral, without much hope, as the offense was as unimaginative and predictable as it could have been.
That was until today, as the Browns offense has taken a step back, and I couldn't have imagined this being remotely possible.
Somewhere on game-day, I can see former Browns head coach Eric Mangini grinning a little bit.