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Browns can't afford communication issues on offense

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Posted Nov. 11, 2012 @ 3:59 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

On the field, the Browns’ offense is inexperienced in some key spots, and sometimes painfully so. That Cleveland has sometimes lacked consistency on this side of the ball probably doesn’t come as a major surprise.

However, one unwelcome issue that popped up in the Week Nine loss to Baltimore was an unexpected one. 

On three different occasions, the Browns had to burn timeouts to avoid delay-of-game penalties. In those instances, it appeared the play wasn’t getting to QB Brandon Weeden fast enough. After the game, head coach Pat Shurmur chalked up the problems to "communication issues that need to get cleaned up."  

The next day, Shurmur described the play-calling process this way: “(Offensive coordinator) Brad (Childress) and I call the game. I send in the play to the quarterback, and then he calls the play in the huddle."

Shurmur elaborated further on how he works with Childress: “We talk about what the plays are going to be. We have them written down, we just don’t make them up as we go. Then there’s also getting different players in the game because we use multiple players. There’s a lot that goes on. That’s where we need to be better than we were (in Week Nine) in all of that and make sure it happens.” 

This much is certain: With so much riding on the next seven games for the Browns, a quicker delivery of the plays to Weeden is a must for an offense that has some experienced coaches leading that side of the ball. The play-calling communication problems that emerged in Week Nine follow in a line of curious game-management and game-administration issues that have marked Shurmur's tenure in Cleveland. 

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