Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Browns

Johnny Manziel, former Heisman Trophy Winner who is now competing for the quarterback job with the Cleveland Browns, should have a great season! Anytime an NFL player receives counseling regarding issues they may be harboring, their game almost automatically improves. In Johnny’s case, he spent more than 10 weeks this year in an alcohol treatment center and if that center is anything like AA, he should show remarkable improvement in his game. For starters, when an athlete goes through that type of therapy it improves his ability to focus. It also enhances his feelings of self-worth. So if Johnny stays committed to staying away from booze, watch for the Browns to make it into the playoffs.


According to the Springfield (MO) News-Leader: “The Cleveland Browns came within a touchdown of knocking off the Chiefs and could have been closer had it not been for several miscues by Cleveland Receiver Davone Bess. Bess fumbled a fourth-quarter punt with Cleveland down 20-17 with about 7 minutes left in the game and had a number of drops as a wide-out, including on fourth-and-7 with 2:01 left to play.” So one has to wonder why Bess, who normally can be counted on for top performance, had such a miserable game? If you ask almost any NFL coach he’ll probably say something like, “Heck, those things happen” – but I disagree. I believe there’s a reason those things happen. And the reasons can almost always be traced to what may have taken place in Bess’ personal life the night before the game. And in 90% of the cases involving NFL players, they are most likely to lose their focus because of their relationship with a member of the opposite sex. But it could also be financial problems. Or an issue with an assistant coach. Whatever the reason, Bess should have been encouraged before game time to talk about his problems and issues, either in a support group environment with other team members, or with his coach. But in many cases, NFL players are hesitant to talk about their “feelings” and “personal issues” because ever since they were toddlers most of them have been programmed to keep their feelings bottled up inside themselves because it wasn’t manly to talk about them.

Most NFL coaches know that with today’s athletes the idea of “It’s my way or the highway” just doesn’t work. Marty Schottenheimer found that out late in his career. And from my perspective, the reason why the Kansas City Chiefs are dropping balls (10 were dropped against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday) is because they are bottling up their feelings regarding how they feel about Coach Haley and his coaching style (getting in their face and yelling at them) but they’re afraid to speak up since it could result in their getting benched or even being cut from the team, as one player recently was. As I’ve often said, when players withhold their feelings it’s a form of lying that demeans them and lowers their self-esteem, creating psychological baggage that negatively affects their ability to focus. These are the players who are most susceptible to making mental errors during competition. Coach Haley obviously doesn’t have a feedback system in place so that players can let him know how they feel about certain team-related issues. And until he does, the Chiefs are in for more dismal seasons in the future. Casey Stengel put it best: “Most games are lost, not won.” The Chiefs are losing their games; their opponents aren’t winning them. And it’s not the players’ fault. It’s the coaches.

THE CLEVELAND BROWNS (1-7) SHOULD BEAT THE BALTIMORE RAVENS (4-4) MONDAY NIGHT!  Even though the Browns are an 11-point underdog, they should beat the Ravens…IF…Browns head coach Eric Mangini calls a team meeting to discuss running back Jamal Lewis’ comments to the press that Mangini was “working the team too hard.” By allowing a team to provide feed-back to the coaching staff, players unload psychological baggage and at the same time enhance their feelings of self-worth. The result will be that they will perform close to their skill levels. In Jamal Lewis’ case, if he is healthy and plays, he should have a 100-yard game. What also will help the Browns is the fact that Ravens LB Ray Lewis is constantly in the face of his teammates which, from my perspective, doesn’t sit well with them but most are afraid speak up since they fear him.

Post Game Note:  Good first half but then everything went awry.  Coach Mangini must not have held that team meeting.  And I also feel relatively certain he doesn’t understand the importance of tapping into his players’ belief systems.  What they believe to be true is true for them, regardless of what the coach thinks.  I would not be surprised if Coach Mangini doesn’t finish out the season, unless he backs off and eases up on the intensity of team practices leading up to game time.  Since posting this they’ve won three straight games so he must be doing something regarding acknowledging team feelings and issues.

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