Cleveland Browns: A few things to think about before you fire Romeo Crennel

, Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 12:59 PM Comments (3)

Smiling Romeo CrennelIs it really his fault? Can you really blame Romeo for not winning more games with this roster? I’m sure there are plenty of Browns fans out there that say, “I could win 4 games coaching that team.” But the truth is, there are only a few coaches in the league that actually could win 4 games [through week 15] with this Cleveland Browns roster. Jeff Fisher, Andy Ried, Tom Coughlin, and Bill Belichick. Yeah, Bill Belichick, remember him? We’ll come back to him later.The Browns don’t need a new coach, they need new personnel. And that’s not Romeo Crennel’s fault. He’s done the best anyone could have hoped for with the players he’s got.

What the Browns need first is someone in the front office to step up and take some responsibility. Even if they don’t believe they deserve to go, they need to fall on their sword. Because unless they believe that they’ve put together a team capable of winning a championship, then they haven’t done their job, and they’re just as at fault as Romeo and all of the players.

I would wear a mask too if I was a Browns fan.

I would wear a mask too if I was a Browns fan.

I’m talking about any of these guys, Bob Kain – Vice Chairman, Lewis Merletti – Senior Vice President, Phil Savage – Senior Vice President/General Manager, Bill Rees – Player Personnel/Special Projects, T. J. McCreight – Director of Player Personnel, Trip MacCracken – Director of Football Administration and Steve Sabo – Director of Pro Personnel. Just like all of the automobile and banking executives, these guys need to step up and be accountable.

Look at the Chiefs for example. They’re a great, historic, admirable and beloved franchise that has fallen on some hard times lately, just like the Browns have. And even though there may be some coaching and roster changes in the off-season, today their management had the stones to step up and say, Herm isn’t the only one at fault here. We need to be accountable and make a change.’ And so the great Carl Peterson, Chiefs president, CEO and general manager, fell on his sword for the good of the team. Did he deserve to go? No. Were the Kansas City fans calling for his firing? Of course not. But he and chairman of the board, Clark Hunt stood up like men and did what needed to be done.

Next they need some new talent. Look at the teams that are great and have been great recently in the NFL. They all have a few player types in common. They all have quarterbacks that can manage games, and not loose games for them, like Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Kerry Collins. These guys don’t have the biggest arms, they weren’t stars in college and they’re not the fastest player on the team. But they’re going to make smart plays when the game is on the line. The top teams all have an an elite wide-receiver, a wing man that is usually a speed guy, and a tight end that is an offensive threat. Look at Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Ben Watson or Hines Ward, Santanio Holmes and Heath Miller or Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. They also have a punishing running-back that can break big gains like a Willie Parker, Joseph Addai and Edgerrin James before him and Laurence Maroney before he got hurt.

On the other side of the ball these teams have defensive lines that get the job done, linebackers that are household names and quick secondaries with one guy that hits like a linebacker. The Patriots, Steelers, Titans, and Giants all have defensive lines that give opposing teams fits. You don’t know all their names, but they get the job done. Mike Vrabel, Teddi Bruschi, Adalius Thomas, Larry Foote, James Harrison, James Farrior, Antonio Pierce, Gary Bracket, Freddie Keiaho and Keith Bullock. We all know their names, what team they play for and how they’re all over the field wreaking havoc. Then there are the wrecking balls like Troy Polamalu, Bob Sanders, Rodney Harrison. Guys that every opposing receiver knows exactly where they are at all times.

If they can keep his ego in check, he could make things happen for Cleveland.

If they can keep his ego in check, he could make things happen for Cleveland.

Now with all that in mind, the Browns really aren’t that far off. They have Brady Quinn who I think can be an intelligent game manager for them. They’ve got Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow, when he’s healthy. And Shaun Rogers is a good anchor to start on their line with. But Willie McGinnist, Andra Davis and D’Qwell Jackson are not going to strike fear in the hearts of anyone. Who is there to fear in the secondary? Donte Stallworth seems to only make a brief appearance every couple of months, and is Syndric Steptoe really the answer? Jamal Lewis may still be able to punish opponents on occasion, but not even he believes he can still break off big runs. The Browns need some new blood.

The other thing they need to worry about is egos. They’re not going to become elite if they have to manage a bunch of egos. Most teams can handle one ego like a Randy Moss or a Plaxico Burress. But the Browns may have three in Brady Quinn, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow.

So to start, the Browns need to go and get some help in the draft. Scoop up a top-tier safety in the first round, a new anchor for the secondary. In the second round look for a rusher that put up big numbers at a small school like a Tim Hightower, Chris Johnson. Willie Parker, Laurence Maroney and Joseph Addai attended North Carolina, Minnesota and Louisiana State respectively. Not exactly powerhouses. Then make a trade for a wing man wide receiver. Maybe Seattle or Philadelphia would be willing to trade away some of their speed at wide receiver for future draft picks.

Finally, the Browns need to learn from their mistakes. Long, long ago, the Browns had a guy by the name of Marty Shottenheimer who bestowed the Browns with a 44 and 27 (62%) regular-season record as well as four playoff appearances, three Division titles, and two trips to the AFC Championship Game as their head coach. All that before departing for the historic, successful franchise of Kansas City where his performance was also historic, successful and admirable. Then there was that Bill Belichick guy (I told you we’d come back to Bill), remember him? Well he used to be the Browns head coach, and he led them to a 36 and 44 record (45%) including their most recent playoff win in 1994 before he was fired and then went on to win a few Superbowls with that New England team you may have heard of. Then the Browns employed a string of coaches you’d never heard of before and will never hear of again like Chris Palmer (1999–2000), Butch Davis (2001–2004) and Terry Robiskie (2004 Interim). Which leads us to the current coach, Romeo Crennel, who as of this post has accumulated a 24 and 38 record (38.7%) as the Browns head coach. Maybe, instead of letting good coaches go, the Browns might want to hold onto the good ones until they get a solid roster. Then they can see what these coaches are really capable of.

So for the Browns fans and front office, take a long, objective look at your franchise. And really ask yourself if Romeo is the root of the problem, or just the scape-goat for all of the other problems.

Thumbs DownThumbs Up (No Ratings Yet)