Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

NFL gets it right with Browns

The Cleveland Browns will not be disciplined by the NFL for their handling of quarterback Colt McCoy’s concussion.So after all the hand wringing, the cries from some Browns fans using McCoy’s injury as a call for coach Pat Shurmur’s job, the proclamations that the Browns will pay for what they did, the NFL told us what we knew from the start:

While the team obviously mismanaged the situation, the Browns did not intentionally ignore an injured player and put him back in the game.

Rather than punish the Browns for no reason, or simply for a public relations move, the NFL decided to further strengthen its efforts to help teams and players deal with head injuries by deciding that certified athletic trainers will be stationed at games starting this weekend to monitor players for possible concussions.

“We believe these are positive steps in enhancing overall player safety, and the Browns fully support any measures that can help the medical staffs at games,” Browns vice president of media relations Neal Gulkis told The Beacon Journal.

No surprise that there is one person in all of this who still doesn’t get it – Pittsburgh’s James Harrison.

“Something should be done to them, I would think,” Harrison told NFL.com. “I don’t know. I got a game, what should they get? I guess he’s a little shorter, who knows? I don’t know. When it came down to it, my helmet hit his. Oh well.”

Oh well, indeed.

***

Two interesting notes, one good, one bad, at Pro Football Focus, first on defensive end Jayme Mitchell:

You may not have realized this, but Jayme Mitchell (-4.7) actually played 53 snaps against the Cardinals. A Cardinals team that features Levi Brown, the lowest rated left tackle in our Pass Blocking Efficiency ranking heading into the week. So Mitchell, who had two sacks against Jake Long earlier in the year (just how injured was Long?) may have expected to turn around his slumping season. He didn’t. In fact he didn’t even make a contribution on the stat sheet as Brown swallowed him up in the pass game, and Jeff King had fun moving him about in the run game. I hate to say such definitively negative things but Mitchell is hands down the worst starting defensive end in the league. It’s frankly ridiculous the Browns thought that Mitchell, who managed ten snaps last year as a Viking, could hold up to the heavy workload they’ve expected of him.

The Browns only gave up a seventh-round pick for Mitchell. This year is all about finding out who can play and who can’t; if Mitchell can’t cut it the Browns didn’t really lose anything.

Then there is this on Shawn Lauvao:

I didn’t expect to be writing such positive things about Shawn Lauvao (+4.5) given he had a match up with Darnell Dockett. However Lauvao, who did have some help dealing with him in the passing game, more than held his own and comprehensively won their battle in the run game, using Docketts’ desire to get up field against him. The Browns right guard will look back at his best performance as being one where he started exceptionally well, managing to take out two Cardinals defenders with a cut block on Clevelands’ second offensive play.

If Lauvao and Jason Pinkston can continue to improve, the Browns offensive line starts to look a little bit better for next season and, while they still need to draft lineman to build depth, this could allow them to focus on other areas of need come April.

***

It’s not all bad news for the defensive line, as Cold Hard Football Facts points out:

The defense at least continued to show some promise for the future. The rookie defensive end Sheard added two sacks to his team-high total, which is now at 7.5 sacks. With both him and defensive tackle Phil Taylor playing every game and combining for 68 solo tackles and 11.5 sacks, the defensive line continues to show signs that it can become a force for years to come with a few more improvements.

With Sheard, Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin all under the age of 25, the Browns are finally building a defensive line that can keep opposing quarterbacks up at night.

(Photo by The Associated Press)

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