Cleveland Browns 2012- Winners and Losers

I thought today we would eschew the typical gameday winners and losers piece, and just move to a season long winners and losers. Beware of low hanging fruit. Let’s try to be a little insightful or creative with these.

WINNER: Mitchell Schwartz. The second round RT played every snap of every game his rookie season I believe, and was effective doing it. There was a learning curve to the job of course, but Schwartz was up to the challenge and performed well as the season progressed. I challenge anyone not on the Schwartz bandwagon to recall the parade of fail the Browns have had at RT the last ten years.

WINNER: Defensive Line Depth. The one thing that Rubin and Taylor’s injuries did was allow the team to see what they had in rookies John Hughes and Billy Winn. While they may not be on Rubin’s or Taylor’s level, they are certainly NFL players capable of filling in and giving good reps during games.

LOSER: The secondary. It started with Haden’s suspension. Add in injuries and sub-par performances and I think the Browns have a major problem on their hands. Sheldon Brown will not be back. The Browns were counting on Patterson to step in and take that CB spot opposite Haden eventually. He’s gone. Usama Young is not the answer at FS. Eric Haag probably isn’t either. Buster Skrine had some good moments, but some awful ones too. What seemed like a position of strength in camp turned out to be a position of need heading into the off-season.

WINNER: Chris Tabor, Special Teams Coach. Brad Seely is a heck of a ST coach. Tabor has the Browns’ units firing on all cylinders again. The Browns averaged 5 yards more per kick return than their opponents and 4 yards more per punt.  That isn’t to say improvements can’t be made. Hodges’ punting took a step back this season, and the Browns need to something about penalties on kick returns. That’s your homework assignment coach.

OK, your turn. Give us something good…

  • Harv 21

    Winner: Greg Little. The physical and sure-handed receiver we saw yesterday is not the one we saw early in this season or last, and appears ready to fulfill his promise.

    Winner: Heckert. His last draft was maybe his best and his updated resume will get him what he wants. This is the only FO loss I have mourned since Accorsi left.

    Loser: Cribbs, based on his post-game statements. Still delusional about being a receiver. Whoever he plays for next year better buy ear plugs.

    Lose: Joe Haden. stop calling him “future all-pro” until he takes responsibility, channels his talent and is named one.. He needs to play at a high level every game and stop the off-field garbage. Time to grow up, Joe. You’re better than this.

    Loser: Brandon Jackson. One game in a 2-year contract, in your prime? Dude.

  • BenRM

    LOSERS: Everyone who lost their job today. I feel for them, but I do think it was necessary to continue moving in the right direction.

    WINNER(S): The WR corps finally looks like it’s in a healthy place. There’s room for improvement, obviously, but I think they are the best they’ve been in a number of years.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Winner: Young LBs. They stepped up and did a decent job.
    Winner: John Greco. Really did a great job filling in for Pinkston.
    Winner: Josh Gordon, Greg Little. Gordon – wow. Little – fantastic improvement.
    Winner/Loser: Joe Haden. We all realize he’s awesome, especially after this year. But he’s got to take responsibility for himself and keep at it if he wants to be the best.
    Winner: Tom Heckert. I don’t think anyone can deny the good job he did here. He may have lost his job, but he’ll get another fast.
    Winner: Phil Taylor (and Ahytba Rubin). As nice a job as the young backups did, when Taylor and Rubin are out there together it’s another world. Wow.
    Winner: Browns’ fans of 2014 (hopefully). For the first time in maybe 20 years, this team has depth and hope.
    Loser: Browns’ fans of 2012. We were finally competitive, but… ugh.

  • KillerNut

    Loser: Chris Tabor. Every return I fully expected a flag. Luckily he won’t be retained by the next HC

    Loser: Brandon Weeden: because none of his coaches saw he was better from Shotgun throwing deep, and he never got them to adjust.

    Winner: Josh McDaniels, because Shurmer was so bad that by default he looks like a competent replacement.

    Winner(s): Eagles, Bengals, Bills, Ravens, Giants, Colts, Ravens, Cowboys, Redskins, Broncos, and Steelers

  • Winner: DQ. Thought it was risky giving him that contract. He’s now played in 32 straight games.

    Winner: Phil Dawson. He had an incredible year.

    Winner: Little/Gordon. Both exceeded expectations – esp Gordon. Little made discernible improvements (mostly in catching) from the beginning of the season.

  • CtownDAWGpound

    WINNERS: The Cleveland Browns Fanbase! We finally have an owner that cares about the team. I couldn’t stand it whenever I would hear Lerner would miss a game because he was to busy with his soccer team! I also love that he wears his emotions on his sleeve, sounds like something a fan would do. I can’t wait to see the talked about game time experience.Here’s a suggestion , let the DAWGPOUND return to the DAWGPOUND! minus the drunken fights. Oh and NO EMBLEMS and NO CHEERLEADERS!

  • bridgecrosser

    Losers: Sheard, TJ Ward – neither took the step to fringe pro-bowler on a team needing top shelf talent.

    Winners: Gordon and Little have turned corner will anchor the WR core for 5-10 years

    Losers: Marecic – confounding failure of a NFL player; His removal from punt team also resulted in better protection and increased punt distance; That is rarely noted;

    Loser: Richardson; Showed potential but also taking way too many major hits under his pads; Going to be a fragile Freddie if he doesnt adapt to NFL game but avoiding major shots and needs to hit the hole and not tap dance; At this point, showed major potential but not #3 in the draft worthiness IMO.

    Winners: Hughes/Winn as noted above;

    Winners: the LB amalgam has potential and demonstrated why you dont waste high picks on LBs. (did cost us a win in PHI game though).

    Winner: Phil Dawson, the greatest Browns kicker of my lifetime; Hodges settled in nicely after a few shaky weeks and benefitted from improved blocking unit; Yount excelled too.

    Loser: Lavaou and Pinkston – league average at best despite a ton of reps

  • BenRM

    I don’t think we should kill Joe yet. It was his first suspension (that I can remember). Hopefully, he learns from it. If it’s an issue that reappears, I’ll be happy to pile on with everyone else.

  • TheRobot57

    Can’t disagree with any of these, really. I’d say whomever the next GM is will be a winner. Should be an easy time drafting players with much fewer holes in major areas.

  • Harv 21

    I should have included Ward as well, since he can’t be an enforcer as envisioned when his low pass-coverage IQ keeps him from instilling any fear in the secondary. Think I’m just tired of criticizing a guy who’s skills are static and is what he is.

  • Everyone is a winner after this season’s end, even the presumptive losers:
    Winner: Marecic. Someday, he can tell his grandkids that he actually played in the NFL, AND he was drafted in the 4th round. I hope they believe him.
    Winner: Shurmur. He won’t have to suffer through his press conferences questioning his ponderous decision-making, play calling and game management anymore (nor will we).
    Winner: Heckert. He won’t have to sweat out the Darth Vadar like breathing of Banner lurking over his shoulder. He will land on his feet just fine elsewhere.

    Winner: Holmgren. He can go get fat(ter) on some beach somewhere, sipping mai tais and hope no one tries to push him back into the ocean.

  • Roosevelt

    Losers: The Fanbase. We have a new owner whose second notable move was getting rid of our first bright spot in fourteen years. (I mean Heckert, not Shurmur).

  • Roosevelt

    Since it seems pretty clear that the Browns are going to be tearing down the team and rebuilding YET AGAIN the only winners are individuals who raised their stock vis a vis the rest of the league. That means Gordon, Little, Haden and Heckert, who will all be able to land wherever they want, and Hardesty, who had one foot out of the NFL and might catch on somewhere on a trial basis. Sheard, Taylor, Rubin, Ward, etc. might catch on somewhere as warm bodies and/or rotation players, but teams tend to prefer their own, so the new regime almost by definition renders them losers. Everyone else are losers, including Richardson, who might last another couple years for a new coach who really wanted a speed back, Weeden and Colt, who will be lucky to compete for a backup job somewhere, and Thomas, who will be put through this yet again.


  • BenRM

    wait, are you suggestion the roster is going to be gutted?

  • Kildawg

    Winners: Joe Thomas and Phil Dawson. Pro-Bowl. Enough said.
    Winners: Richardson, Gordon, and Schwartz. These rookies had solid seasons and should be even better next year.

    Loser: Pat Shurmur. Good luck on that coaching market.

  • Roosevelt

    When the first big move is getting rid of a GM whom the consensus is did a good job, and the talk of a new coach does not include any mention of someone who runs anything similar to what the Browns were running, it’s the inevitable conclusion.

  • Jaker

    Winner: WRs under contract. Little may not have had the big numbers, but he got much better at catching with his hands and showed some real promise. Gordon looked great and should post 1000 yards next season as our #1 WR. Benjamin has some real big play potential and would be very good as a WR3 and returner. Cooper? Well he hasn’t showed much, but I think he should be given a shot.

    Losers: Contract year WRs. Cribbs was turnover prone and may be done. Massy can’t stay healthy, he might be done. And this was the wrong year for Norwood to miss most of the season, at best he’s our 53rd man.

    Winner: OLine. Thomas and Mack had Pro Bowl seasons. Schwartz showed he was worth a second rounder and is our first legit RT in YEARS (remember how bad this was?). Greco looked great in his opportunities, Pinkston and SL had their moments. Overall, I like our OLine a lot.

    Winner: DT. An awesome amount of depth and production. Have to stay healthy, but we got some players here.

    Loser: CB depth. No surprise here. Skrine was put in impossible situations, Brown may be best served at FS if he is retained, and Patterson got cut at the time we needed him most. We need to add a legit starter opposite of our star in the making, Joe Haden.

    Winners: TE depth. We should resign Watson, because he was very dependable all season long. Cameron needs more plays, because he could be a real player. Smith showed he has value at multiple spots on this team.

    Loser: Owen Marecic. He had every opportunity. Heckert’s worst pick.

    Winner: RBs. Get Trent healthy. Now.

  • King Me

    Both Banner and Haslam have raved about the young core of guys we have. It’s obvious we have talent, and they’re not gonna blow up a team that would have been in the playoff race if a few close games would have gone our way.

  • Roosevelt

    They’ve also both been all over the map on other things. 1. If they’re so high on the core of young talent, why fire Heckert? 2. If they haven’t decided on a head coach, why not say they’ll look for one who is used to a similar system? 3. If they have a list of guys, wouldn’t they already know what the system that is likely to be implemented is?
    To the extent they think there’s a core of guys, it’s the guys who will play their positions no matter what the system is. Perhaps Thomas, Schwartz and Haden will be around, because LTs, OLs and CBs do pretty much the same thing everywhere. But linemen, linebackers, RBs, and even WRs are more up in the air. Although I concede that RB and WR might translate better, and I also noticed that spending a bunch of picks on an elite RB didn’t motivate Shurmur to use him either so it’s not necessarily worse than it was.

  • Jay

    This post made me smile.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    1. I am starting to think Heckert was let go because of the whole “final say on the roster” thing that was written into his contract. That’s just not the system Haslam and Banner want in place here. They want the coach to have that final say, and Heckert would rather be fired (and paid out) than give that up. Therefore, you can be happy with the picks Heckert made and still let him go.

    2. It’s becoming pretty obvious nowadays that the most successful coaches mold themselves to their players, not the other way around. They just need to find the best leader of men available.

    Maybe I’m wrong, and we’ll see a total overhaul of personnel, but given Haslam’s experience with the steady management of the Steelers, I just don’t see that happening. When a new owner of any business steps in, they generally replace middle management…not the regular employees.

  • Roosevelt

    Banner expressly denied the final say on the roster thing in the press conference, although Heckert seems to have made the claim.
    It’s true that the better coaches accommodate the players they have, but thus far that’s been limited to expanding a playbook to incorporate read options or similar. Whether a fun n gun coach will adopt three yards and a cloud of dust is yet to be seen.
    And while it’s true that Haslam’s and Banner’s experience was with stability, and you can add to that the positive things they said about the roster, their stability was because they’ve been good forever, not because they believe in stability for its own sake.


    Wouldn’t it be great if we could instead finally hire a coach who adapts to the players he has instead of gutting everything or trying to pound a square peg into a round hole?

  • humboldt


  • Kildawg

    Pinkston did miss most of the year due to a blood clot in his lung, but looked good when he was playing. Lauvao needs serious competition at RG and it will come from Greco (who filled in admirably) and Miller (more experience will help him as well).

  • Kildawg

    Must not have paid attention because the first thing Haslam did when he bought the team (besides have Banner as his right hand man) was to add cheerleaders. Agree that we should remain the only NFL team to not have a logo on the helmet (although Brownie and the orange pants need to make a comeback).

  • CtownDAWGpound

    Dammit! yeah missed that one,the only teams that need cheerleaders are the ones that don’t have loyal fan bases. I for one know when to cheer! I.E. When a member of my team gets “dirty” against a dirty team!