All of the following quotes are from an NFL head coach, but only one is from Browns coach Pat Shurmur.
Can you guess which one?
- “I don’t think a sense of urgency or lack of a sense of urgency is the issue. I think fundamental football is, better blocking, better tackling.”
- “There are also a lot of things we need to work on, so that’s what we’re doing. But I’m telling you it’s not one person. It needs to be all of us pulling this thing together and doing our jobs a little bit better.”
- “You’re always trying to learn from these situations that you’re in. I think he’s ended game situations, in relation to the football, are things he has to get better at. He knows that and he’ll be the first one to say that. So we have to find a way for him to get better at that.”
- “In my opinion, this is a sport where you develop every day that you practice or every day that you meet and along the way as you’re developing, you need to win games so that’s the focus. We need to get better, we need to execute more efficiently and we need to put our guys in the right spots to do the right things and along the way we need to win.”
If you said the last quote is from Shurmur, take a bow.
But what about the rest?
The first quote is from Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, who’s 2-2 Steelers have lost both games they’ve played this year against good teams. (Sound familiar?)
The second is from Philadelphia’s Andy Reid, who’s seen the Eagles, the alleged “Dream Team,” get off to a 1-3 start.
The third is from Dallas’ Jason Garrett, who watched his Cowboys blow a 24-point third-quarter lead on Sunday against Detroit.
And let’s not forget New England who, because they have Tom Brady, are 3-1 despite being last in the league in yards allowed after giving up 504 yards to a Jason Campbell-led offense on Sunday.
The point of all this? (We’re sure we have a point here somewhere). Teams with far more talent than the Browns are struggling this year, so maybe things aren’t as dire as they appear to some.
It’s easy to put the blinders on when it comes to the Browns, but fans need to look around at the rest of the league to help keep things in perspective.
The Browns just hit the quarter-mark of the season with a 2-2 record. If they repeat that each quarter of the season, they end up 8-8 on the year, which many fans would have signed off on at the start of the year.
But this season isn’t about the final record. It’s about evaluating the talent on the team, figuring out which players fit best in Shumur’s West Coast offense and Dick Jauron’s 4-3, play fast think less, defense. And it’s about learning whether or not Colt McCoy is the quarterback who can take this team to the next level.
It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be frustrating – very frustrating – at times, and it’s not going to be fun. But there are also no shortcuts or quick fixes. The Browns have been down that road before and it just does not work.
Patience is hard to come by in our instant gratification society, and it’s a commodity that is severely lacking in many Browns fans. It seems like the Browns have been on the rebuilding merry-go-round since the late ’80s.
But patience is exactly what we need with this Browns team because things are tough all over.
Just take a look around the league.
(Photo by The Plain Dealer)