Roll Up the Sleeves, Boys!

By Michael Reghi

Alright, football speaking, the philosophies are now completely in sync in Berea. As I watched Mike Holmgren, Tom Heckert, and first time NFL head coach, Pat Shumur interact in his introductory Cleveland gathering, I began, as I always do, to be division dominant in my thoughts….as in the AFC North. Dominated for the past decade by Pittsburgh and Baltimore, with a splash of Cincinnati, I watched Pat Shurmur, his entire football playing and coaching life having been spent on the offensive side of the ball, and found it intriguing they spoke of ushering in a style that those stout Pittsburgh and Baltimore defenses would have to react to. Translation? The Browns pass game must start to attack and challenge defenses more consistently. Will it make Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Cincinnati stand up and take notice? Stay tuned.

I can’t tell you Pat Shurmur’s going to be the next John Harbaugh or Mike Tomlin, position coaches and coordinator types that get head coaching opportunities and immediately are playoff bound. Do know the trend around the NFL is going in that direction, younger coaches getting their first opportunity to make their mark. Shurmur begins the process with Colt McCoy, who’s skill-set, accuracy, delivering the football from a moving pocket, an giving receivers an opportunity to rack up yards after the catch, are tailor-made to the style Holmgren needs to see in Cleveland. They maintain the running game needs to remain a staple. It always has been in West Coast offenses.

Most of you will feel better if he surrounds himself with veteran coordinators, both sides of the ball. I sense that will happen. Although Shurmur wasn’t bashful about saying he will call the plays. Might not be a heavily experienced offensive coordinator, however. Defensively, a return to the 4-3, with a veteran former head coach, long time coordinator, like a Dick Jauron seems plausible.

You should understand that Tom Heckert, delivering Shurmur his 53 man roster, and Holmgren will be heavily leaned on by Shurmur. That’s a positive thing. Now it’s simply football, bottom line, putting a roster together, and coaching it to reach the heights all Browns fans are counting on them to deliver.

Many of you have, and will continue to question Holmgren and Heckert, on their ability to make the proper head coaching hire. It is the first time either one of them have traveled this road. Reality says wins and losses, and how many in the next 2-3 years will determine the outcome of that question.

Now, that is out of the way. Let’s put on the hard hats, men, carry your lunch buckets, continue to upgrade this roster, implement the aggressive, attacking offense, and start the process of being playoff worthy. Not an easy task, yet, this is the part that Holmgren and Heckert have shown great success in. Green Bay and Philadelphia proves that. Add Cleveland to the mix, and you’ll have answered all the critics, yes, even with the ‘first time, unproven’ head coaching selection.

Did you take advantage of ‘Reg’s Gems’ last weekend as the NFL Playoffs began? Went 3-1, with New Orleans being the only road loser. Gave you Baltimore, the New York Jets, and Green Bay all as OUTRIGHT road winners. Take the 3-1 and run to the window to collect! Hope you did. The ‘Gems’ just keep on coming.

Baltimore and Pittsburgh will be more of the same for these 2 squads. They play 1-4 point games, usually decided by a field goal. Baltimore getting 3 and a half? Oh yes I like those points! Take the Ravens, who have a solid shot of continuing what they do, and who they are…win on the road in the playoffs.

Saturday night, most are pointing out how Atlanta, and tremendously gifted young qb Matt Ryan dominate at home, and they do. Know what? Green Bay’s defense is up to the task. Might be the most impressive ‘d’ in the NFL still playing. I like Green Bay to keep rolling on the road. Be a believer! Pack getting 2-2 and a half, to move on to the NFC Championship game.

Sunday is a bit more problematic with the numbers involved. Both Chicago and New England are prohibitive favorites at home. Bears giving Seattle 10, while New England coughs up 9 to the Jets. Big numbers this deep into the playoffs. Usually, would just take the points and play it out. Not sure here. One of the games seem to be destined for the blowout. Which one?

I can’t get behind Jay Cutler and the Bears to blowout anyone. While Seattle is very shaky on the road, I will take the 10, as I expect Pete Carroll and Matt Hasselbeck to find a way to stay in the game. Seattle to cover the ten, probably not have enough to win outright.

Brady and Belichick giving 9 to a very solid New York Jets squad, who if they run the football with the type of commanding presence they did in Indianapolis last weekend, they’ll be there in the 4th quarter. Can they? And, after giving up 45 to Brady and friends early December, can they find ways to disrupt the Brady offensive flow, that has seen the Pats put up 31 points or more, in each and everyone of their last 8 games! Amazing! Can’t see that trend reversing. I would normally take the 9 in a playoff game and like it. Not here. Brady and the Pats to win, and cover..think 31-17.

They’re you have it. Take 3 dogs…Baltimore, Green Bay, and Seattle. Ravens and Pack to win outright, ‘Hawks to keep it tight. Lay the 9 and watch Brady and the Pats roll strong at home.

Remember. 3-1 with three outright road winners last weekend! Enjoy the games!

 

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2 Comments

  1. great read reg. I always love your blogs and your shows. and i still think that kenny was a little harsh saying the eric mangini had to sell his house. he seems like good people to me and we like good people in cleveland he just cant coach the browns as our head coach anymore. and i am ok with that.

    Its time fore the shurmur era to begin and i hope that with everyone on the same page the browns finaly start to see and show that consitency that needs tobe around for them to be a long time contender.

    ron

  2. “Did you take advantage of ‘Reg’s Gems’ last weekend as the NFL Playoffs began? Went 3-1,”

    “Remember. 3-1 with three outright road winners last weekend! Enjoy the games!”

    How’s that record look now? Don’t hurt yourself tooting your own horn.


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