Give Shurmur a Learning Curve

It’s amazing that Cleveland Browns’ fans, who spent much of the last two seasons complaining about Eric Mangini, now are complaining about his successor, Pat Shurmur.

The complaints came after the Browns’ 27-17 loss to Cincinnati in their opener, when the team was heavily penalized in the first quarter, and allowed a go ahead touchdown when the defense fell asleep on a quick snap by the Bengals.

There is no question that Shurmur is probably not happy about these events, but seriously, one week?

Plus, other fans want the team to go back to Mangini’s offense, feeling that the new coach passed too much in the opener.  They wanted Peyton Hillis and Montarion Hardesty to get more carries.

Let’s remember a few things.  First, it was Shurmur’s first game as an NFL head coach.  Yes, he made some mistakes, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he will correct those errors.

Second, this is a new offense, and surely, the coaching staff spent much of the off-season and training camp putting in a professional passing attack, something not seen in Cleveland for many years.

So, it’s natural to want to play with your new toy. 

Shurmur probably called too many pass plays and ignored the run a bit, but once again, let’s see what he does this week against an Indianapolis team, which struggled stopping the ground game this past week, adding to its history of coming up short in this area.

If the Browns don’t try to run the ball early and often against the Colts, then these people would have a valid criticism.

Remember that this is the first regular season game Pat Shurmur has been the head coach.  Why would you expect him to be on the same footing as coaches like Mike Tomlin, Marvin Lewis, and Andy Reid.

To be sure, all of those guys made mistakes early in their coaching careers, we just didn’t see them because they were in other cities. 

Look at perhaps the man considered the best coach in the NFL right now, Bill Belichick.  Do you think he made mistakes in his first go round as head coach?

Of course he did. 

He made errors in handling players, clock management, and in-game strategy.  He has publicly acknowledged learning greatly from his time in Cleveland as the coach of the Browns.

Belichick was too stubborn at the time to listen to people, so his growing pains took too long.

By contrast, you can be sure that Shurmur is meeting almost daily with team president Mike Holmgren, a Super Bowl winning coach, and The Big Show is going over any mistakes made by the rookie head coach, and giving him advice on what he should be doing.

If we are still seeing these mistakes and lapses of judgment in November and December, then people can start wondering about whether or not Pat Shurmur can be a good NFL head coach.

It is understandable that Browns’ supporters are impatient, with just one playoff appearance in the last 12 seasons.  However, you can’t run a guy out on a rail after just one game.

Did these people know everything there is to know about their jobs the first day they did it?  Of course not.

Give Shurmur some room to grow.  The fact that he didn’t name his starting quarterback right before kickoff should show he has potential to get better.



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