Pat Shurmur “awarded” Worst Coach, Most Useless Challenge

On the heels of the Greater Cleveland Sports awards, it seems like a good time to see what the rest of awards season brings. Grantland’s resident NFL coaching critic Bill Barnwell has taken down Pat Shurmur all season, and now that it is in the books, he’s deemed Pat Shurmur’s challenge from a week eight game against the Chargers to be the “Most Useless.”

On the first play of a San Diego drive from their own 18-yard line, the Chargers picked up six yards on a pass to Robert Meachem. Shurmur saw something on replay and decided to throw his challenge flag. The play was overturned, turning an insurmountable second-and-4 into a dominant position of second-and-10. With about 46 minutes of challengeable action left to go, it’s hard to figure that Shurmur got good value for one of his two opportunities to throw the challenge flag without worrying about losing the flag for the rest of the game. As I wrote at the time, “It’s like being granted two wishes and using one of them to have a genie take out the trash for you.”

Not to ruin the whole charade, but Barnwell has also named Pat Shurmur the worst coach of the year. The man that the Eagles will be counting on to coordinate their Chip Kelly-fueled offense next year1  is most likely harshing at least some of the mellow that was achieved with the coup of landing Chip Kelly.

Sometimes the words we write on these pages can be questioned because the perspective is so close to home, but when you start reading national people with no Dawg in the fight, even if you agree with some of what they have to say, it’s noteworthy, I think.

It’s not that Shurmur made one bad decision in one particular aspect of the game in 2012; it’s that he made obviously wrong calls in so many different spots. He failed to go for two up 15-10 in the fourth quarter in Week 1 and it cost him the game in a 17-16 loss. He used a timeout before punting on fourth-and-1 from the Indianapolis 41-yard line with 6:38 left in a close game and ended up having to go for it on fourth-and-6 later on. He called nine pass plays on third/fourth-and-short in one Ravens game alone.

If Shurmur had developed his young talent into successful players, you would excuse his play-calling blunders. Instead, Shurmur failed to develop either Colt McCoy or Brandon Weeden into anything resembling an NFL-caliber starter, ran an injured Trent Richardson into the line for no gain for most of the season, and left the Cleveland organization with a lot of young players who have failed to reach anything resembling their potential.

There’s more there of course, and I recommend you read it, but if you wondered if Browns fans were just too hypercritical of Pat Shurmur in his time here, I think it’s pretty plain to see that the lack of coaching quality really truly does go beyond the won/loss record. It truly wasn’t you. It was Shurmur himself.

Here’s hoping this same thing isn’t written about Chud a year from now.

[Related WFNY Podcast – 2013-01-25 – Cleveland Frowns in a two-part podcast]

  1. Bob LaMonte is a wizard, apparently. []

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I didn’t follow Barnwell but it sounds like he’s someone I would have enjoyed! Funny how so many other people can agree on Pat Shurmur’s coaching ability after the fact though isn’t it?

  • JK

    Disagree with player progressions: Think about Little, Gordon, Weeden, etc Week 1 to the end of the season. Huge difference.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    Slow clap…

    Seriously…when I look back at (and am reminded of) the incredibly terrible decisions he routinely made on game day, feel better and better about Chud. If we’re questioning Chud’s game management to the same degree in a year, I will be shocked, because Shurmur didn’t have the game management ability of a 12-year-old playing Madden.

    That punt on 4th and 1 in Indy territory was possibly the most rage-inducing moment of the season. I believe at the time I made a Top Gun reference…

    Sundown: “Take the shot Mav!”
    Maverick: “It’s no good.”
    Sundown: “What do you mean it’s no good!?! It doesn’t look any better than THAT!!!”

    It took Andy Reid, notorious game mis-manager, a career to rack up the number of blunders Shurmur made in just two seasons. Oh well…at least Philly fans are so used to coaching ineptitude that they won’t even question 9 throws on 3rd and short in one game. Sheesh…

  • C-Bus Kevin

    I agree that those players progressed, but I think it was in spite of Shurmur, and I think the proof of that will be visible this season with Norv calling the plays.

  • boomhauertjs

    You left out the best line:

    “It’s possible that Shurmur could be a better offensive coordinator than a head coach, but only because it’s hard to imagine anybody being a worse head coach.”

    Actually, we had a worse coach. His name was Romeo and he somehow got another coaching job.

  • MrCleaveland

    If Chip Kelly had taken the Cleveland job, do you think he would have wanted Shurmur as his OC? Of course not. Which makes you wonder why Kelly chose Shurmur for Philly OC gig. It’s odd, no?

  • kriptac

    Rooney Rule Romeo

  • eldaveablo

    Pretty easy to agree after the fact. So, not funny.

  • TSR3000

    Romeo won 10 games.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Only thing funnier then Shurmur’s hiring was his supposed coaching.

  • humboldt

    Pat Shurmur won the worst coach of the year award?! Makes me wonder if Bill Barnwell is employed by Bob Lamont…

  • Big Z

    I give Shurmur one year in Philly.

  • Natedawg86

    Had we won that game, and potentially snuck into playoffs, would Shurmur still be here? Now that would have really set us back. In retrospect, I am glad (today) that he punted there.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    I’m glad too. But holy cow…snuck into the playoffs? In hindsight, there was no risk of that happening.

  • Natedawg86

    What about this one:
    “You have to assume that the Eagles are hoping whatever skills Shurmur showed in St. Louis coaching Sam Bradford come out again with Nick Foles in Philadelphia.” Shurmur coached Bradford for a year.
    Bradford 16-18-15-3500-76.5
    Weeden 15-14-17-3385-72.6
    What skill did Shurmur show coaching Bradford again? I am confused

  • mgbode

    at least he’s better than McDaniels?

  • Wheel

    Thank you, Mike Holmgren. Now get back to sipping those beverages with the little umbrellas.

  • Henry Brown

    Because nobody else wanted the job

  • Natedawg86

    We were in the playoff talks with 3 weeks left in the season.Granted, Cin, Pit and NYJ had to each go 1-2, and we had to win all 3, but Cin played Bal, Phi, Pit; Pit played Dal, Cin, Cle, and NYJ lost the last 3.