The Cleveland Browns have gone 47 years since winning a championship. The fans are tired of seeing the same thing year after year after year.
What’s even worse is the constant attitude of virtually coaching staff the organization has had of playing not to lose.
That leads to conservative play calling on both offense and defense. It’s maddening.
After watching a team still rebuilding mode play this way on Sunday, it’s even more ridiculous than ever.
No one expected the Browns to make the playoffs this season. Most people felt a 6-10 or 7-9 record would be making progress for a team that is currently one of the youngest in the league.
So why not gamble when you have a chance to win?
Why not let Colt McCoy throw at least one pass into the end zone after getting a first and goal at the Rams’ 8 yard line?
If he threw an interception, which given his history would be doubtful (he’s thrown just six on the year), the Browns would have lost.
Guess what? They lost anyway!
Can’t the Browns hire a coach who isn’t afraid to win for once?
This goes back to Marty Schottenheimer, who approached most games as if he were afraid to lose it. It wasn’t until Bernie Kosar and offensive coordinator Lindy Infante were here did the Browns have an aggressive offensive philosophy.
And Kosar had told stories of how he argued with his head coach on that subject.
For the sake of clarity, most professional football coaches are made the same way. They don’t want to take a chance, have it blow up in their face, and have to explain it to the media.
And there is a fine line between a calculated risk and being conservative.
Sam Rutigliano had to learn this. When he first took over the Browns in 1978, he had a reputation as “Riverboat Sam”, a gambler who took chances, sometimes with negative results.
When his team was better, he didn’t gamble as much. And that’s just another reason to be irritated with Pat Shurmur’s conservative nature. No one is expecting the Browns to make the playoffs!
Right now, the Browns have nothing to lose. Why not take a shot into the end zone. After all, when the field goal attempt blew up in a comedy of errors, there were still over two minutes left on the clock.
It wasn’t like the Browns were running down the clock to try to win the game on the last play. They would have had a two point lead and St. Louis would have had plenty of time to get into position for a game winning kick.
That’s much too conservative thinking.
And that’s what makes Browns fans shake their collective heads.
They want a coach who is aggressive, who plays to win, one who says “We are the Cleveland Browns, and we aren’t taking any crap from anyone!”
They see one in Pittsburgh, they see one in Baltimore. And it’s tough to watch, particularly when the Browns play those teams twice a year.
When will the Browns have a coach who will be aggressive, especially when they have nothing to lose? Football fans would love that approach to the game.
Right now, the playing not to lose style isn’t working in the standings, and it doesn’t play well with the fans either.