Browns, Headlines

Browns players aren’t happy with comments made by coaches, front office

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are just two days off an (im)perfect 0-16 season. They have won just one game in the last two seasons, thanks to a blocked field goal. All of this losing should be enough turmoil for a single organization in the NFL, right? Not if you’re the Cleveland Browns.

Following Sunday’s loss in Pittsburgh, one that cemented the Browns’ 0-16 record, cornerback Jason McCourty talked about the comments made that involved he and his teammates, according to cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.

“The talent in this locker room is not the talent to go win a Super Bowl this year, but this locker room is far more talented than 0-16,” McCourty said. “I’m kind of tired of hearing so many people say, even within the organization, is we don’t have the guys or we need more guys. Let’s work with the guys we do have and find ways to win games.”

Since 1999, there have been plenty of head coaches, members of the front office, and even quarterbacks who have been with the Browns, but the front office and coaches who have been with the team the past two seasons may have put on the biggest clown show, both on and off the field. Whether it’s head coach Hue Jackson, members of the front office, or new general manager John Dorsey, plenty of comments have been made about the talent on the team. Even owner Jimmy Haslam backed up the statements made by Dorsey. After some coaches and members of the front office somewhat threw shots at the players, it seems as though the players, especially McCourty, are fighting back.

Last month, Jackson said that not many others would have not only not stayed with the Browns for two years, but not done better than he did. Meanwhile, in his first week on the job, Dorsey made sure to mention that the previous regime didn’t draft, sign, or trade for many “real players”, which includes plenty of players currently on the team. That didn’t sit well with many of the Browns.

McCourty, who was signed last May, has been one of the most vocal leaders on the team in his first season in Cleveland. Now that the season is over, it seems as though he wants to stick up for he and his teammates. His comments continued into Monday as well. While not specifically mentioning any names, it seems as though McCourty threw shots at the naysayers, while continuing to state that the Browns had the talent to win at least a few games this season.

“I think it’s bugged probably everyone in this locker room,” he said. “When you’re one of the guys on the team who’s playing your heart out and you are putting everything into it – obviously, we are not getting the result we want, which is very apparent but still you are giving everything you have – you don’t want to hear about what you don’t have.

“You want to make the best of what you do have. I think that is just the bond that is built in this locker room of I want to win for (DL) Danny (Shelton); Danny wants to win for me; I want to win for JT (DB Jamar Taylor). You don’t really care what you don’t have. You are just trying to figure out what we do have in this locker room, how do we go out there on Sunday and figure out how to win this game. As a player, you just hate to hear that from anywhere.”

After the veteran cornerback ripped on the comments that were made by the front office and some of the coaches, do-it-all running back and slot receiver Duke Johnson supported McCourty.

“100 percent,” he said. “I love J-Mac.”

“It does. It does,” he said. “But we’re all professionals and I hope everyone learns how to take people’s comments with a grain of salt and move on. It doesn’t bother me, but it may bother some people to the point where it upsets them. Nah, we definitely had way more talent. At the end of the day we still had more talent than what our record showed.”

While there isn’t enough talent on the current roster to be legitimate playoff contenders, McCourty acknowledged that there’s enough so that the problems can be blamed on the system, not the lack of talent.

“I would just assume when it’s been this bad for two years probably a lot of things do (change),” he said. “You can’t keep doing the same thing and think you’re going to get different results. That’s the definition of insanity. Obviously there’s a lot of things that aren’t right.”

With an offseason that includes the Browns having $118 million in cap space and plenty of draft capital, including the first-overall and fourth pick in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, Cleveland has plenty of options to improve their team this season. Then again, it may not matter if the coaches and members of the front office continue to belittle their players, so much so that free agents and even draft picks may not want to play for the Browns.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it seems as though the coaches and front office, including the owner, have dug themselves into an even bigger hole.

  • BenRM

    Wait? So when the coach insults his players in the media each week, they take offense?

    YOU DON’T SAY?!

  • Skulb

    I get that it bugs them to hear this unnecessary nonsense from the front office and the useless head coach. But players who have just gone 0-16, or even 1-31, are usually extremely lucky to still have a job the next season. Fair or not, the players won’t escape blame here. It’s their locker room and their losing culture as well. Not just Haslam’s or Jackson’s.

  • hetz

    Keeping Jackson on the payroll is rewarding failure, and you will get what you pay for.

  • RGB

    You are who your record says you are.
    But, the FO doesn’t need to lord over the players as if they have zero culpability is this debacle.

  • JM85

    Could you imagine playing for a coach or owner that makes comments like that? Especially a coach who is 1-31.

  • Casual_Kenny_Reigns

    This past season was 100% the fault of the coaches. I honestly think any high school coach in the country could have gotten a few wins.

    Blaming the guys who go out there and sacrifice their bodies is the problem. The team should be protective of their players; not throwing them under the bus.

  • Garry_Owen

    “When you’re one of the guys on the team who’s playing your heart out and you are putting everything into it”

    Herein lies the problem, and all the proof necessary that it’s primarily a roster issue. If the players are “putting everything into it” and coming up 0-16, then their “everything” is simply not enough. No offense intended, because my “everything,” even in my prime, would only equate to a miniscule fraction of their talent, but, as the kids say, “it is what it is.” The Browns need better players. Period. Sorry, McCourty.

  • tsm

    I understand the backlash from the players regarding the comments made by Hue and the FO. However, they are the ones who failed to make just a few big plays in the games that were close at the end. Regardless of the poor coaching, an accurat throw here, a pick there, a sack, or some other big play would have resulted in at least a few wins. Heck, most high school WR would have caught the ball that Coleman dropped.

  • humboldt

    But you would acknowledge that better schemes would help maximize the talent that’s there, right? I mean, putting our first-round safety 40 yards downfield every play was really a “disruptive innovation” and all, and it was great having a QB throwing downfield 75% of the time, but we – uh – didn’t win a game. I probably watched 3 games this year, but even I got worn down by these unchanging patterns in the way the “poor roster” was deployed.

    Ultimately, I don’t have a horse in the race — I’m actually grateful to the Browns for giving me a golden ticket to drift from NFL fandom — but the coach did a pathetic job with a pathetic roster, and it doesn’t seem to make much sense to over-allocate blame in any one direction over another

  • humboldt

    I don’t know that I’d say 100% but I generally agree with the spirit of protecting the players who put themselves on the line for long-term damage.

    It’s an interesting exercise to think about how many wins recent former Browns coaches would have had with this roster (including Belichek). I don’t think there’s one coach who couldn’t have schemed and willed his way to at least a couple victories with this team.

  • mgbode

    Yeah, it is the players and the coaches…

    One example: If we don’t have two atrocious special team plays on Sunday, good chance we pull off that victory, for instance. Would Mangini have allowed Tabor to bumble STs through two seasons like he has under Hue?

  • mgbode

    What if you play your CBs 10 yards off the ball, then complain your No. 1 overall pick doesn’t have time to get to the QB because they are throwing in the least amount of time after snap in the NFL (just taking those 5 yards like candy)?

  • Garry_Owen

    Over-allocating of blame appears to be the new inalienable right of the Browns fan, so I’ll stick to my assessment, regardless of its accuracy or provability. I have rights, Humboldt, and you can pry my over-allocating of blame from my cold, dead fingers.

    As with all things, I’m sure it’s more complicated than a binary solution. I’ll readily admit that. But here’s where I come out on the thing: I have no idea if there are better coaching options (I have a fairly low opinion of NFL coaching talent to begin with), and I suspect there are not better options; but I am quite confident that there are better players available than what we currently have. In trying to determine which is the better, and least destructive route to take, I will at this point take a roster replacement over a coaching replacement every day and AT LEAST twice on Sunday (when those players play).

  • Garry_Owen

    What if your CBs are not actually talented enough to play in cover 1 or cover 0 consistently and safely?

    Or, better yet:

    What if you’re not actually trying too hard to win with your defensive schemes?

  • mgbode

    If you’re not trying to win, then don’t throw the players under the bus. Heck, don’t throw the players under the bus anyway because even if they are garbage, you want to convince other players to sign here who will check on how you treat your players.

  • Garry_Owen

    So I’ll go with Option 1. They’re just not talented enough. It hurts if you’re that “not talented enough guy,” but sometimes the truth hurts. And if I’m better than the “not talented enough guy” and a free agent and you tell me that you want me to replace that “not talented enough guy,” I’m signing on. It’ll cost you, but the owner has the money.

  • Garry_Owen

    Also, it’s all business. And “bus” is the first part of business. Sometimes you drive it; sometimes you get thrown under it.

  • Bulldogs_3

    43 days til pitchers and catchers report

  • architrance

    Fun facts:

    The Browns have won only 21 games over teams that finished the season with a winning record over 19 YEARS.

    If the Browns fail to win 4 games next year, they will set the all time record for worst 5 year stretch of NFL football (they’re currently tied for worst 5 year stretch with the 2007-2011 St. Louis Rams)

  • architrance

    Oooh – I’d say they have a worse record than the famed NFL Rochester Jeffersons from 1922-25 they went 0-21-2. (that was a real team!)

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  • Bido

    100% Correct! By the way, for those who blame coaching, I guess Hue and his staff coached their 2016 first round wide receiver to drop a pop warner pass on fourth down against the Steelers. Plays like that are how you go 0-16. Crowell tripping over his own lineman on third and two against the Packers when you’re trying to run the clock is how you go 0-16.

  • mgbode

    http://waitingfornextyear.com/2017/12/wfny-browns-bears-week-16-precap/

    It is everyone’s fault. When you can write the recap before the game because the coaching is so predictable… not a good thing.

  • WFNY_DP

    The Rochester Jeffersons appear to be…

    …movin’ on up.

  • architrance

    Seriously. The fish don’t fry in the kitchen.

    It’s so strange looking at the early NFL origins. There were 3 different and unrelated Cleveland Indians franchises that played in the NFL.

  • Brandon

    After all, head coach Hue Jackson has spoken highly of Crowell and fellow running back Duke Johnson Jr., saying in March that “those two guys are as good as I’ve seen in a while. Their talent is extreme.”

    So after practice Wednesday, Jackson didn’t hesitate when asked whether or not Crowell — who said he’d like to rush for 1,000 yards in 2016 — would be able to meet such a standard.

    “Absolutely. Only 1,000? Why not more?” Jackson said with a wide smile.

    “I like Crow. Crow’s done some good things. I think he’s a very talented player. We just have to get a rhythm and play football the way we know we can and I think we’re looking forward to it. He is, Duke is, I think our linemen are.

    September, 2016

    Hue is incapable of sticking with his own “game plans”. He is way over his head, he is also incapable of admitting this.

    Hopefully, hiring an offensive coordinator will help him out. You can be a Dumb Guy, and be a good head coach, but if you’re a Dumb Guy, you’re not going to be able to multi-task. Being a Dumb Guy, Hue is just never going to be able to handle training, playcalling, clock management, challenges, press, etc.

    I am all for keeping him, as long as he has been humbled and “allows” Haslam to hire other positions. He never should have been given the respect to not have an O.C. in the first place. Freaking Mike Tomlin was hired, and the previous coordinators stayed. And he’s a Smart Guy. And actually talented.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi HETZ … he is also being paid for putting up with cruel & unusual punishment.