Time To Hold Pettine “Accountable”

Three results jumped out to us among the early results from the NFL today.

Jacksonville 34 Buffalo 31
St. Louis 24, Cleveland 6Miami 44 Houston 20

This doesn’t have anything to do with former Browns’ QB Brian Hoyer, on the wrong end of the massacre by the Dolphins, but it does have to do with the coaching staffs of the Bills, Browns, and Dolphins.

Much has been made about new Miami coach Dan Campbell trying to make his team tougher, more physical, and his team has won two in a row.

How long will that last?  Who knows.  But it is interesting to see a coach who has a philosophy in his mind and at least for two weeks makes sure it is carried out.

Since the end of last week’s games, when Buffalo lost to Cincinnati, we have had the mindset that Rex Ryan is the epitome of a fake tough guy.  He talks a good game, but really, his teams aren’t a success.

His first two seasons with the Jets, he was 20-12 and got his team to the AFC Championship game.

Since then, his coaching record is 29-42, with no seasons over .500.

The first fruit off the Rex Ryan coaching tree is Pettine, and he is appearing to be more and more like his former boss.

Despite slogans like “play like a Brown”, “control the controlables”, and the talk of accountability, the Cleveland Browns appear to be a team in search of a style of play, and continue to make mistake after mistake without any accountability.

And after a 7-5 start to his head coaching career, the Browns have lost 9 of their last 11 games.

Today’s loss to the Rams was nothing different.  Turnovers, penalties, and another weak performance by the head coach’s specialty, the defense, led to the defeat.

Pettine came to town with the talk of making this team a physical one, one that played with toughness.  That may be true of individual players, but this is a football squad that cannot run the ball efficiently, and they have been the worst team in the NFL in stopping the run since Pettine arrived here.

Offensively, the offensive line, despite a collection of Pro Bowlers and high draft picks, had a dubious distinction today, as every one of them except for Alex Mack was called for either a false start or a holding call.

And they fumbled four times, twice by Josh McCown, who is having a solid season, but you can’t turn the ball over that many times, particularly on the road, and win football games.

The first two errors put the Browns in a 10-0 hole four and a half minutes into the game that they never recovered from.

Pettine defended the defensive scheme earlier this week after a former Browns’ website writer said players told him it was too complicated, but whether it is or isn’t, it isn’t working.  The coach’s stubbornness in making adjustment is a weakness of a first time head coach.

He’s rather lose his way than be flexible and win.

We have said it the last three weeks and will say it again…if you can’t run the ball and stop the run in the NFL, you can’t win football games consistently.

The run defense was solid early, but again, gave up big chunk plays, particularly in the second half, and usually right after the Browns score.

Yes, yes, the offense only scored six points today, and the defense really only allowed 17 today, but you can count on them giving up a big play after a score.

What can be done?  Nothing unless the coaching staff decides to stop talking in clichés and starts adjusting playing time based on merit.  It seems like veterans get to mess up without consequence and young guys lose playing time.

At 2-5 and with the Cardinals coming in next Sunday, it might be time to start thinking about next spring’s draft.

Oh, and as an aside, although it didn’t cost the Browns today or really any Sunday, the officiating in the NFL continues to be atrocious.  Thanks for fixing that, Commissioner Goodell.

JD

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