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Grantland discusses Browns chances of climbing out of basement

The Cleveland Browns went 5-11 last year, so expectations for the team this year with actual game film a distant memory, are understandably tempered. Grantland decided to look at some of the basement dwellers to see which would have a chance to make that leap and potentially even make a playoff appearance. The Browns were listed fourth after the Lions, Eagles and Chiefs.

Most of the analysis and reasoning has to do with more Shurmur bashing from Barnwell.

The Browns weren’t as bad as you think! They were 5-11, but they had the point differential of a 6.2-win team and went 3-5 in one-touchdown games, probably owing to the bizarre in-game tactics of Pat Shurmur. Rob Chudzinski doesn’t have an elite pedigree, but it’s simply going to be hard to be worse than Shurmur.

It’s hard to argue with some of the logic and if it came to pass it would certainly confirm many of the conclusions that pretty much every Browns fan had come to with regard to Shurmur by the end of his second year as head coach.

You also might remember that Bill Barnwell went all-in on Shurmur after last year based on Shurmur’s decisions. He named Shurmur the worst coach of 2012.

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.

It’s instructive for Browns fans. If there was controversy about the removal of Eric Mangini because some Browns fans could see at least some of the positive qualities he possessed, Shurmur has to be the exact opposite. We’ll know pretty soon about Rob Chudzinski.

And we’ll also know pretty soon if there’s anything to the idea that the Browns could make that “worst-to-first”-like jump.

[Related: Public relations, fan experience, and winning aren’t mutually exclusive for the Browns]

  • Vindictive_Pat

    It’ll be interesting to see what Chud does when faced with the kind of decisions that Barnwell mentions in reference to Shurmur. I definitely think that Chud is a brighter offensive mind than Shurmur, but when it comes to game management I have absolutely no idea what to expect.

  • simond

    i agree that Chud > Shurmur. Also, Shurmur had Chilly as his OC. Chud has Norv Turner. IMO, Turner > Chilly.

  • mgbode

    I have a tough time with Barnwell because he is an absolute slave to what he considers “right decisions” and refuses to ever acknowledge any situations where they could be different.

    Also, point differential is an okay tool to use to look back at how good or bad teams were, but is absolutely terrible to use as a future season prediction device, which he has been doing all offseason.

    Anyways, yes, Shurmur made a ton of perplexing and some flat-out wrong decisions. If we use Barnwell’s metrics above, then it cost us 1 win (both the 3-5 in close games and 6.2 pythagorean formula suggest we underachieved by 1 win). So, we can thank Shurmur for Barkevious Mingo because we would have been selecting 9th or 10th had we performed to these expectations.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I don’t thank Shurmur for anything. The only person who made worse decisions was the guy who hired him.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I don’t think Chud will find those decisions as perplexing as Shurmur. That’s a huge positive.

  • imagine where we’d rank on this list if we had drafted a starter.

  • mgbode

    how would that have affected the 2012 pythagorean expectation or our record in close games?

    #Barnwell’d

  • Harv 21

    “Rob Chudzinski doesn’t have an elite pedigree, but it’s simply going to be hard to be worse than Shurmur.”

    Accurate. I’m so glad that the Pig Pen-like hovering cloud of game day incompetence has blown over. Chud just can’t be a worse game manager. Right?

  • LesFleursDuMal

    Remember, Shurmur had I think 2 years as an offensive coordinator before taking the helm in Cleveland. Chud has been around much longer so, hopefully, he’s better prepared. God I hope we can be somewhere close to .500.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’m glad you asked because I never ask that question myself!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Fifth behind the Buckeyes?

  • Wow

    Between Chud and Turner, I have a feeling the offense will be just fine.

  • saggy

    totally agree. and turnover diff? who cares????? maybe Buffalo had the 11 worst turnover guys in the history of the NFL – that shouldn’t mean they should regress to the “norm.”

    I gotta let everyone in on a little secret: for those who could PLAY – i mean, really play – there is no “norm”. advanced metrics are fine, but certain things make no sense (hello, fumble rate and medical rate. what is that?)

  • Archibald Butt

    I feel like it’s been every season since we came back that the Browns have been due for a turnaround because of our luck with one touchdown games the prior season.

  • Archibald Butt

    Hear that guys? We’re DUE. We have to regress to the mean eventually. Soon, there’ll be a year when we go undefeated and with 0 injuries at ALL.

  • Natedawg86

    No love for Mr Noodles?

  • Natedawg86

    We have been in so many close games the last few years. I think that is the start to making the transition from the basement to the penthouse. You can’t expect 3-4 more wins next season if you are blown out in most of you games the previous

  • Garry_Owen

    Worst to first, huh? I’ll gladly take worst to next-to-worst.

    Baby steps.

  • Steve

    Except fumble recovery rate does regress. No, not every time, but it’s been shown to be something that doesn’t correlated year to year. You get better predictions of it by regressing.

    Not sure what your medical rate is, I couldn’t find it in the article.