In my book, 1-6 is 1-6, regardless of any moral victory, injury , inexperience or difficult schedule excuse.
The Browns walked into the season knowing they were very young. Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert and Pat Shurmur knew what they were doing when having relative inexperience play such a crucial and wide-spread role across the roster.
All this continued to occur following the knowledge that Randy Lerner was selling the team to Jimmy Haslam.
Obviously, the plan which was mapped out by Holmgren and Heckert and to be utilized by coach Shurmur wasn't changing due to the announcement of the sale.
This front office was already both feet in with little room to move in the deep water.
The five-year plan to bring the Browns back to championship caliber play was just tossed out the window.
Why you say?
Joe Banner, the new CEO of the Cleveland Browns is an impatient man by nature. It's easy to see the Browns are simply too young at critical positions and aging at others. Banner wants to make an immediate impact, him waiting till the end of the season before making a move will be difficult.
Team owner jimmy Haslam is a passionate man, a competitive man and a man which will not sit on his hands long, especially if the Browns continue to lose in the manner they have.......including Sunday's 17-13 loss in Indianapolis.
About Going Forward – Heckert and Shurmur
This column has heard Haslam and Banner have had numerous discussions about the fate of general manager Tom Heckert and head coach Pat Shurmur.
There is a sentiment to immediately make changes within the organization to ensure there is no issue between the new regime and those of power remaining within the organization.
Banner has pulled all the power over to his side, as Heckert is unable to make personnel moves without the CEO's approval.
Haslam gave some within the organization the speech that there would be no changes until the end of the season. While Haslam is good with that, Banner I am told is more closer to the trigger-finger.
Personally, Banner likes Pat Shurmur from his days in Philadelphia with the Eagles' organization. As a head coach though, it appears Banner has other thoughts about a head coach in the 2013 season for the Browns.
This column doesn't have specifics at this time, but our discussions around the league lead us to being told Banner will replace the head coach.
Of course Browns fans are already lining up the next head coach of the Browns. The usual names come out when discussing the Browns head coaching spot.
As for the general manager? This column has been told by no less than three GM/personnel types that Tom Heckert has done a good job, in spite of Mike Holmgren's meddling. The belief is Heckert is not going to be retained, but there is a belief that once Banner and Haslam see what Heckert has done and the manner which the roster is improving, he may get an opportunity to stick.
Watching the Browns play each week is a difficult proposition. You can see the team is talented, but young. The team is progressing, but there is something every week which makes me think the head coach is hampering the development on game-day.
Shurmur's decisions on third and one are consistently bad.
Run the damn ball!
The head coach could have gave his team a huge shot in the arm with 6:49 remaining in the game with the Browns possessing the ball with a fourth and one. It appeared for a minute Shurmur may have gone for it, only to come out of a time-out deciding to punt.
In speaking with three players via phone/text Sunday evening, there was a disappointment resounding throughout the team, as the head coach didn't have confidence in his team.
Whereas Shurmur can confuse us with his questionable, untimely play-calling/decision-making process, one area which he has failed dramatically is with the running game.
Granted, Richardson is hurting and wasn't effective. But, this is a team which sports depth at the position and the head coach again bailed on running the football.
The consistent abandonment of the run by Shurmur has brought up some interesting tidbits this column has heard.
Pointed speculation puts an emphases on how Shurmur calls a game in the same manner as Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid. Reid also stumbles away from the running game, he did while being the play-caller and Eagles coach and his offensive coordinator, now calling the plays fails in the same regard.
Interestingly, as Joe Banner knows as well as anyone about this disturbing type trait.
Strangely, Shurmur didn't call the game in the same manner when the offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams.
About Head Coaches
This column can tell you this much. Marty Schottenheimer is not going to be roaming the sidelines in Cleveland again. Neither is Nick Saban, Jon Gruden or Andy Reid.
The likeliest of the three before-mentioned is Gruden, though the former Raiders and Buccaneers head coach has been rumored to have his sights on the Tennessee Volunteers job at the collegiate level.
One name which is often mentioned is former Browns' player and former Steelers' head coach Bill Cowher. Cowher has been kicking around the idea to get back into coaching one last time before its too late, but this column has not heard anything solid about where his future may lead.
Despite not knowing where Cowher is regarding a return to the sideline, this column has been told by two heavily associated people within league circles that there have been grumblings for the past few weeks about the CBS football analyst talking with someone associated with a team.
Not to say it's Cleveland and Joe Banner, but it would be the type of move Banner would attempt to make.
At this stage, I don't anticipate a Cowher hire but with the time passed since his gig in Pittsburgh, anything is possible.
About Those On The Roster – Notes and Tidbits
Rookie RB Trent Richardson's rib injury isn't as simple as putting some padding on it and playing like the injury doesn't exist. In talking to medical personnel this week, it's likely the rookie will have this injury hamper him for up to a month.
Whether you like him or not, rookie QB Brandon Weeden is a player in this league. He may be 29 years old and his career will certainly be shortened due to his age, but this young man can throw a football, along with having the poise and demeanor to lead.
Offensive lineman Jason Pinkston is resting comfortably and fortunate his health didn't take a quicker, tragic turn. The lineman will likely miss the balance of the season while medical professionals take care of him and his physical issues resulting from a blood clot.
Veteran John Greco played well in place of Pinkston against the Indianapolis Colts. Greco has become one of the more popular Browns players of late due to the inconsistent play of the offensive guards this season.
WR Greg Little experienced flu-like symptoms during the middle of the week, but was able to practice later in the week. Little has his most productive game of the season on Sunday against the Colts hauling in six passes and one touchdown. The Browns have been working with the second year receiver to improve his concentration.
While rookie WR Josh Gordon has been improving, on a fast-track we may say, there was little excuse for dropping a potential touchdown pass from Weeden midway through the fourth quarter on Sunday. Weeden's pass was perfectly thrown near the goal line, but the bright sun over Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, Indiana got into Gordon's eyes and he dropped the pass. Despite the drop, Gordon is showing the potential to be a legitimate number-one type receiver.
With WR Mohamed Massaquoi in the last year of his rookie contract, the Browns would be best served by giving his reps to rookies Travis Benjamin and Josh Cooper for the remainder of the season. It's painfully obvious Massaquoi isn't part of the future in Cleveland due to his consistent injury issues and marginal production.
The Browns need to go back to the drawing board on special teams. This thought isn't due to the numerous special teams mishaps and penalties on Sunday, but due to the consistency for which special teams errors have hurt the team throughout the 2012 season. Under former coach Eric Mangini, the Browns practiced special teams as much as they did offense and defense and the product was very good. The same dedication to special teams isn't as pronounced in Cleveland today and the results show weakness.