You sure about that strategy, coach?
Generally, teams use that game as a “dress rehearsal” for the regular season, working the regulars as much as possible before letting them sit the final preseason game to avoid injury.
Only this year, for some odd scheduling reason, the Browns will also face the Eagles again in the season opener on Sept. 9.
Well, we have our answer, as coach Pat Shurmur said the Browns will use Thursday’s preseason game against Green Bay as the team’s chance to give the starters significant minutes.
“The guys that will line up as the ones will play half the game this week, and that’s typical of what happens in most of the third games,” he told The Beacon Journal. “So the uniqueness of our year is it’s Philadelphia (in the third preseason game and in) our opener. So the guys are lining up as the ones will play around a half this week.”
Yeah, about that.
We get that football coaches have a weird aversion to “giving away” secrets to the other team, think Eric Mangini and his silly refusal to talk about which quarterback would start for the Browns, fearing an advantage for the other team (as if any defensive coordinator ever stayed up late worrying about a Brian Daboll offense.)
But with the Browns having so many young players on offense – rookies Brandon Weeden, Mithchell Schwartz, Josh Gordon and Travis Benjamin, along with second-year players Greg Little, Jason Pinkston and Jordan Cameron – it seems like giving them as many reps as possible at game speed would be a better plan.
If the starters see heavy minutes against the Packers, then limited time against the Eagles and no time against the Bears on Aug. 30, that means the starters will have gone 24 days without significant action when they take the field for the Week 1 game against Philadelphia.
Shurmur should really stick to the traditional schedule and let the starters see real time against the Eagles in the preseason. If Philadelphia picks up something they can use against the Browns in Week 1, well that’s just part of doing business. Shurmur needs to take a big-picture outlook on this; it’s not as if the Browns are going to miss out on the playoffs if they lose the opener to Philadelphia.
Sorry coach, but you really need to rethink this before it is too late.
(Photo by ClevelandBrowns.com)