Reporting Jeff Phelps
Without Robert Griffin III, who would have guessed the Redskins would have 430 yards in total offense? They did, and they won because of it. The Browns couldn’t stop any aspect of the Redskins offense — run or pass. Kirk Cousins played like a first round draft choice – 26 of 37, 329 yards and two touchdowns.
Brandon Weeden? Played like a 4th round draft choice (which Cousins was) – 21 of 35, 244 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Both INTs led to Redskin scores. The thing I keep thinking about with Weeden, and it’s not fair – but because he’s 29, I expect him to not play like a typical rookie quarterback. Again, not fair, I can’t get past it. At the very least, he needs to play at a higher level on a more consistent basis. I’ll bet new team president Joe Banner has similar thoughts.
If Trent Richardson is healthy, the Browns are in trouble. Eleven carries for 28 yards is not what a 3rd overall pick is supposed to do. I believe he’s hurt — Richardson said that very thing on “Baskin and Phelps” a week or so ago. He said look for a different, better player next season, when he’s 100% healthy. I sure hope so.
However… the play of Richardson and Weeden could be a huge factor in whether or not Tom Heckert stays on as general manager. They were is signature picks — and if Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner decide they aren’t performing at a level that justifies their draft position, Heckert is done. Again, I think Richardson is a keeper, once he gets healthy. Weeden? Still not sure.
The Browns defense had a tough game, period. Perhaps they were due for a tough one, but it sure came at a lousy time. The D didn’t get a lot of help from the offense, but it still needs to do its job better than it didd today. Especially against an inexperienced rookie quarterback.
Pat Shurmur’s odds of staying on as the Browns head coach next season just dropped significantly. This was the best chance for a win in the last three games. Also the last home game. The three game winning streak comes to an end, and with Denver and Pittsburgh still to play, a three game losing streak to end the season is a real possibility. That would make a change at head coach a very easy sell for Joe Banner.
Personally, I’d like to see Shurmur stay. I’ve seen enough progress – both from Pat and the team – to justify another year. My gut tells me both Shumur and Heckert will be replaced. I’ve just had the feeling since the day Banner was hired that he has his own agenda, and that his prerogative. He was hired to run the team. But to dismiss the progress and good work of the current folks just to put your own vision in place is a gamble. Depending on how this season closes, and who may be brought in, it could also set a terrible tone for the new ownership.=