Teams like the Browns could suffer the most if there’s a lengthy lockout

You have to appreciate Browns’ new coach Pat Shurmur trying to stay focused and positive in difficult times for NFL teams.

Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Colt McCoy is seen on the sidelines as the Brows play the Baltimore Ravens at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

While recently speaking to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Shurmur said that even though the Browns are one of a handful of teams that have changed coaches, they won’t suffer more hardships than any other team during a lockout.

“Whatever happens, 32 teams will be in the same situation. I’m not worried about it,” he said. “I feel as though we’ve hired some great teachers and the systems we’re going to teach and employ are proven. I trust and am confident that we’ll get it done.”

What is Shurmur supposed to say? That the Browns are screwed? They’re doomed if a lockout goes into September and he can’t meet with his players? That the Browns shouldn’t even bother playing if there does happen to be a season next year?

No, he’s not going to make excuses for himself or his team, nor is he going to cast any doubt in his first couple of months on the job. That would be extremely unwise and it would make him appear weak.

That said, I couldn’t disagree with him more. Teams like the Browns, Panthers, Broncos and 49ers are at a distinct disadvantage because they changed coaching staffs and are implementing new schemes. Sure, every team will be affected in some ways by a lockout, but Aaron Rodgers already knows how to run Mike McCarthy’s offense. The Steelers’ defenders already know their responsibilities in Dick LeBeau’s zone blitz scheme. Imagine running a five-hour marathon and you have to start an hour behind everyone. You could catch up, but it’ll be difficult and that’s what teams like the Browns, Panthers, Broncos and 49ers face if the lockout lasts months.

In that same article by the Plain Dealer, it’s mentioned that the Browns were one of several teams reminded this week by the NFL that players are not supposed to “meet” with coaches or be given playbooks during this time. Thus, Shurmur can’t even give his extremely young quarterback Colt McCoy his freaking playbook.

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Antonio Cromartie tells Matt Hasselbeck that he would smash his face in

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck runs off the field after losing to the Chicago Bears in the NFC divisional playoff at Soldier Field in Chicago on January 16, 2011. The Bears won 35-24. UPI/Brian Kersey

Ah, Twitter. Where athletes without internal filters can get into trouble using 140 words or less.

Earlier this week, Jets’ cornerback Antonio Cromartie bashed the NFL and player’s union for the lack of progress in the CBA negotiations. Several players, including Ray Lewis and Darnell Dockett, took issue with what Cromartie had to say and publicly supported the union.

Seahawks’ quarterback Matt Hasselbeck took things a step further by taking a cheap shot at Cromartie’s intelligence by tweeting: “Somebody ask Cromartie if he knows what CBA stands for.”

According to ESPN, the tweet was later removed but not before Cromartie found out about it. The cornerback’s response was nothing short of, well, something Antonio Cromartie would say.

“hey Matt if u have something to then say it be a man about it. Don’t erase it. I will smash ur face in.”

Realizing he said something stupid and knowing full well that the corner would in fact smash his face in, Hasselbeck quickly issued an apology to Cromartie on Twitter using the standard, “Hey man, I was just kidding about what I said earlier!” excuse.

“Sorry for the joke man. No hard feelings,” a tweet from his account said. “DB’s & QB’s have a hard time getting along I guess sometimes. lol.”

Not phased by what any of his NFL mates had to say about his comments earlier this week, Cromartie also defended himself against Lewis and Dockett.

“I don’t give a who about Ray Lewis or [Darnell Dockett] talking about what I said,” Cromartie said in a message posted on his Twitter account, according to the New York Daily News.

“There’s 10’s of thousand ppl who will lose jobs. They taking our healthcare away and for players that have surgery can’t even get rehab once March 3rd gets here.”

What’s interesting is that most fans would agree with Cromartie’s take on the situation. There needs to be less banter and more progress so that we have football next season. But the players don’t need one of their own bashing their union when they’re trying to show a united front. It definitely doesn’t help their cause when one player is telling another that he would smash his face in.

What a mess.

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