During the regular season, the mantra is: A win is a win is a win.
During the preseason, the mantra is: It’s just preseason.
While the Cleveland Browns may have won their first exhibition game of the year on the field, what Browns fans were subjected to in the first half can not be described in any positive terms.
The team looked sloppy and three front line players went down with injuries. The Browns kept getting beat up front, to the side, behind, and maybe even underground. Trying to put a positive spin on this game is really tough, even if you are trying to be objective.
Then there is head coach Pat Shurmur.
I’ll need a minute to rub my temples in frustration.
I’m pretty much ignoring the second half of the game because it featured fourth and fifth-stringers being evaluated for roster depth. The winning score essentially is meaningless given when most of the Browns scoring happened.
That being said, there is one play worth mentioning.
That would be in the third quarter when Shurmur trotted out his BACKUP kicker to make a 47-yard field goal. Read that last sentence again and let it sink in.
Why, in a completely meaningless game, would you send out your backup kicker to attempt a field goal with inherently low odds. Why wouldn’t you, you know, say, evaluate your talent on the field and see how they handle a risky fourth down situation. This might provide a lot of useful information when it’s time to make roster cuts.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.
Back in the first half, when there was more useful information to be gleaned, Shurmur looked like he had picked up right where he left off last year. This means he wandered the sideline looking at times confused, at times constipated, and at times completely overwhelmed. These are looks you really do not want to see on the face of your head coach in ANY game, much less a game in preseason.
I have my over/under on Shurmur getting fired set at Week 13, but the people who might take the over on that rapidly dwindled after Friday night’s game.
Running down the rest of the bullet points, quarterback Brandon Weeden looked like a rookie. No one should get too excited either way for the guy. He really should have played the entire first half.
The running game was dead on arrival with the woes of the offensive line. Once again, this is to be expected, but it was disappointing the coaching staff just didn’t appear to have the team ready to play. The starters looked out-classed from the first snap.
The defense is the defense. It wasn’t very good last year and benefited stat-wise from teams just shutting it down in the second half. With injuries mounting, this is about what Cleveland fans can expect to see in 2012.
We can hope it improves, but don’t hold your breath.
Finally, a word on wide out Mohamed Massaquoi. After reportedly suffering another concussion his very first play, Massaquoi tweeted after the game that he was fine and nobody should get upset.
However, the point has passed where you just brush something like this off, as Massaquoi has never been the same player since Steelers linebacker James Harrison almost decapitated him in 2010.
With three documented concussions in two years, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Massaquoi rapidly is approaching a “point of no return” with head injuries.
New Owner Jimmy Haslem may be rethinking what he’s going to do with this team after last night’s game, and if it means more housecleaning earlier than anticipated . . . well, it’s not like this team can do much worse.