Report: Sheldon Brown Loses Starting CB Job with Browns

According to ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi, CB Sheldon Brown has lost his starting job with the Browns-

Prior to Sunday’s game in Cincinnati, Brown had started 128 of his last 129 games. He did not start in Cincinnati because of a shoulder and neck injury. He’s able to play this week, but on Wednesday Brown told ESPNCleveland that he has been taken off the starting unit.

“I just come in in the nickel package,” he said.

Brown sat out all but one play in Cincinnati. In his place, second-year corner Buster Skrine had what even Skrine described as a rough afternoon. Nevertheless, the Browns apparently have decided that Skrine will improve only by getting more reps.

“Sometimes when you have young guys on the field you go through growing pains like that,” Brown said. “But I genuinely, in the bottom of my heart, I believe in the guys out there. And I know they’re going to get better. You can’t judge a guy off one effort. It’s not fair.”

According to the report, when Brown is on the field he will continue to play the outside position and won’t be assigned to cover the slot receiver. In essence, the move will just decrease the amount of plays that he is on the field by about a fourth.

[Related: Browns young secondary has potential despite rough day]

  • Garry_Owen

    Pay attention, everyone (I’d look at you, Seneca Wallace, but you’re thankfully not on this team anymore). This is how you grow “old” gracefully.

  • Clown Baby

    Wow, he took that well. Classy guy, considering the Browns are saying he’s not as good as the guys that got absolutely torched last week. It seems like a weird move considering Shurmer is coaching for his job (I am assuming) because you would think development would be secondary to putting the best guys on the field right now. I like it though since Skrine’s play is going to tell the Browns if they need to draft a CB early next year.

  • mgbode

    no doubt. handled well by all involved. by the coaching staff to keep alive his consecutive games played streak knowing they were going to need to take away his starter title the ensuing week (or already had planned on it).

    i have more respect for Mr. Brown today. well played by him.

  • Gren

    Sheldon Brown went from one of my least favorite players, to one of my favorites in one classy gesture.

  • SP78

    The anti-Romeo Crennel move.

  • Harv 21

    Old corners never die, they just depreciate to a nickel.

    Good move. Like Fujita, Brown’s play now suffers as the season progresses and this is the season to see how young corners develop. If this was truly Shurmur’s call, good for him for thinking long term while he’s halfway up the gallow steps.

    It’s kind of the opposite of Manny squeezing Hafner back in there after all is lost. Though given what his FO did to him, really can’t blame Manny for signaling his prospective future employers, “I played the best players that organization gave me.”

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Quite a surprising move… Skrine looked really awful last week, but then again Weeden already showed how huge of a leap can be made from one game to the next. Here’s hoping that Skrine’s hands were just really greasy from the pre-game meal and that’s why he couldn’t make a tackle.

    It should also be noted that the Browns are expected to play a ton of nickel defense this weekend as Buffalo uses mostly 3-receiver sets.

  • Harv 21

    Also like this move because it signals the veterans that there is competition for their starting spots. Guys like Fujita and Ben Watson will certainly see this and know that prior success does not guarantee future playing time or roster spots.

  • BenRM

    OH, I’m good at this game!

    For $500:
    “Things anyone with two brain cells could have told you should happen before the season started”

  • Garry_Owen

    Skrine was worse last week than Brown has ever been. Not saying he won’t eventually be better, but it’s not a clear $500 answer.

  • adam

    I think the coaching staff and front office is realizing this team will likely not surpass it’s record from last year. It’s a good mood playing the younger players and seeing what you really have. Maybe this time next year will be talking about brown playing safety. If the team can find some quality players with the youth movement by the end of the year I think that will be their best chance at retaining their jobs, If they can get the “potential” label I think that’s the coach and front office’s best chance at staying around. Personally, I would let Holmgren and Shurmer go and offer Gruden the job. Similar philosophies would help in transitioning to a new coach.

  • eldaveablo

    Well played by Shurm too (I can’t believe I just admitted that). I was actually pretty irritated that Shurm used a roster spot just to throw Brown a bone and keep his streak alive. If this was also a way of smoothing out the path to keeping Brown happy being “demoted”, it makes a lot more sense.

  • BenRM

    Being a starter on THIS team doesn’t mean that he’s good enough to be an NFL starting CB though, and everyone knew it. (or should have known it).

  • Derek

    Not sure about that. Granted S. Brown isn’t the same player when he was in Philly, but he is effective at knocking receivers off their route and usually has pretty decent coverage. I still think he can play in this league.

  • Garry_Owen

    I’m something of a Sheldon Brown apologist, so I can’t and won’t just accept that blanket declaration, however conventional and popular the sentiment seems to be.
    What is the evidence that he has not been an NFL-quality starting CB?
    And if such evidence exists (I believe that it is largely a mirage), then who should the Browns have started in his stead all this time?

  • Garry_Owen

    Absolutely. He’s never been the classic “shut-down” corner while with the Browns, but he’s a solid player. Furthermore, especially since Haden came here, he has had to defend against far more passes thrown his way than Haden or any other DBs (since he is almost always lined up against the #2 – and often the #1 – receiver). Folks love to point to the times when he gets burned, but all DBs (even Haden) get burned. Just playing the percentages, of course Brown is going to get burned more often than the other guys if more balls are thrown his way – but the raw data of these misplays is very deceptive in an evaluation of how well he plays, overall. In fact, I would argue that the number of times he has been burned is actually quite low in comparison with the number of plays that potentially come his way. (See the Cincinnati game last week.)

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I was thinking about Brown playing safety yesterday and trying to think of why it is that the coaching staff doesn’t think that he can play there. My best guess is that maybe it’s just the free safety position that they think is not a good fit for him. TJ Ward has strong safety locked up. The free safety really needs to have speed to make up ground when the ball is in the air and that’s not Brown’s strength. His skill set seems like it would fit strong safety better, where you play up on the line more often and help out in run defense. Likewise, I think Ward is currently playing in the safety position where he is a stronger asset.

  • cb sheldon brown speaks of a team guy and true leader and thats locker room,film room,and field leadership and amazing example on what team is about! great example for everyone!

  • Toddyus

    Is the general vitriol against Brown because of his age and the perception that he’s outlived his usefulness or is it directed at his career in whole? I ask only because I’ve long held the perception that Brown was a top caliber corner for a long time. He’s lost a step, but still pretty decent in my opinion. It’s very possible though, that I’m way off…

  • Garry_Owen

    Oh, and lest we forget, Sheldon Brown has on record one of the single greatest hits in NFL history.