If Lewis Plays, Have Some Fun

There is no question that coaches speak their own language.  Over the years in Cleveland we have been subject to a few of the great practitioners of “coach speak”.

From Pat Shurmur’s “battling Browns” to Eric Wedge’s “grinding Indians”, we have listened to some of the best people who can say a lot and tell you nothing.

Politicians have nothing on these guys.

The entire Indians’ front office does a tremendous job of trying to confuse its fan base as to what is going on with the organization.  They talk much the way Fortune 500 corporations do, instead of conversing in baseball talk.

With Pat Shurmur likely preparing for his last game as Cleveland Browns head coach, he came up with a doozy when talking about his probable starting quarterback this Sunday, third stringer Thaddeus Lewis.

Shurmur said the offense would have to be pared back if Lewis has to go against the Steelers.

First, the obvious question would be “can they really pare back the offense even more?”  What would happen?  Every play would be a run up the middle?

Further examination though, would show that if Lewis doesn’t know the offense at this point, why does he still have a job?

Lewis has been with Shurmur longer than either of the other two QB’s, rookie Brandon Weeden, and Colt McCoy, who has worked with Shurmur for two years.

Lewis was with the Rams in Shurmur’s last year as offensive coordinator.  In fact, the head coach’s high regard for him is the reason he is with the Browns.

He also went to Duke University, one of the nation’s finer institutes of higher learning.  So, it’s not like Lewis is some kid just out of high school and barely got good enough grades to graduate.

The last reason to roll your eyes on the coach’s comment is that his football team is 5-10 and going nowhere.  He should be calling every gadget play in the playbook this weekend because there literally is nothing to lose.

So why not let Lewis play with reckless abandon and let the chips fall where they may?  If he throws five interceptions and completes less than 40% of his throws, who cares?

We will then know that he can’t play in the NFL.

On the other hand, he may do very well.  There isn’t a high probability of that, but you never know.

Heck, Shurmur had a front row seat for an NFL team letting a passer with little experience just play when the Redskins did just that with rookie Kirk Cousins.

Certainly, Washington didn’t button up their attack for that game and there was far more on the line for the ‘Skins on that day than there will be for the Browns in week 17.

This is not to say that Lewis’ inexperience will cause him to make mistakes.  No doubt Steelers’ defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will dial up all kinds of disguises for his schemes to confuse someone playing their first NFL game.

But it speaks to Shurmur’s innate move toward conservative football that he wants to pare down the offense in a meaningless game.  He’s been reluctant to let Weeden call audibles and really only used gadget plays against arguably the worst team in the league, Kansas City.

The coach is rare in that he’s an offensive coach, but he plays not to lose.  Hopefully, the Browns next coach will try to win football games instead of avoiding defeat.



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