Then the team crumbled again.
With less than 4 minutes left in the first half, the Browns fell apart like a $50 used car. On third and one, deep inside the Giants’ side of the field, QB Brandon Weeden threw a pick that was returned deep into Browns’ territory. The Giants scored, then the special teams blew up again with a Josh Cribbs fumble. The Giants scored again. After a three and out, the Giants got a FG to make the half time score 17-14 G-men.
I have no issue with the Browns throwing on third-and-one. However, I would have left Trent Richardson in the backfield and called a play-action pass. That would have frozen the LBs and allowed less coverage on the WRs.
The critical issue here is the Browns losing attitude. As soon as the ball was picked, the team was deflated. It has no mental toughness. That has to come from the top down. Once things start going badly, the team is defeated.
Having taken over a team that had a culture of losing, I can say it is not easy turning it around. The mental toughness starts with practice and extends to games. It requires a coaching staff that will not accept losing. That is not what we have now in Cleveland.
One of my teams had already qualified for the playoffs and was undefeated. In the last game of the season against the worst team in the league, we were behind 14-0 at the half. We won 37-14. Our DE was asked why the team played so well in the second half.
“No matter how bad the game was going we realized it would be ten times worse next week at practice.”
Better players will only go so far in getting the Browns back to a competitive level. The coaching staff must do more than they are doing now. In my opinion this coaching staff will never turn the team around no matter what players they get.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on http://www.eBooks-Library.com/Contemporary/ and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.
He edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/. Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his sports show Monday-Thursday 6-7:30 PM EST on or http://mooheadradio.com/2.5/?page_id=21. You can catch any interviews you missed on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.