Levine: Bates and Robo's Fate

If Dolphins head coach Jim Bates can't shake the "interim" tag despite that team's turnaround, how can the Browns Terry Robiskie? Les Levine takes a look at the hopes of the Browns interim head coach, the Browns quarterback situation, and more...<BR><BR>

It is no secret that the Miami Dolphins want Nick Saban to become their new head coach.  Interim coach Jim Bates reportedly interviewed for the position the day after the Dolphins' incredible upset of the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.  But he has as much chance of getting that job as former Oakland Raider coach Art Shell has.

As much as Terry Robiskie wants to coach the Browns next year, that is never going to happen.  It is clear that a General Manager will be named before a coach is named.  Owner Randy Lerner would be the key to any slim hopes that Robiskie has, but there is no way that Lerner would force anybody on to the new GM.  The new GM wouldn't think of accepting the position unless he knew he could control the hiring, and the chances of Robiskie being that guy's top choice are almost non-existent.

Robiskie has the reputation of being a player's coach.  But you wouldn't know it from his comments after Sunday's loss to San Diego, and during his Monday press conference.  He showed up after the game with props, and I don't mean ‘props' for his players.  He brought a game ball to illustrate how important it is for a quarterback to take care of it.  He went out of his way to let Luke McCown know how unhappy he was with the QB's performance, mainly with the end zone interception on first and goal from the five, after the Browns recovered a mis-handled punt.  He also singled out Frisman Jackson on both occasions, for his misplay on the second half opening onside kick attempt.  Jackson thought he could make a play on the bobbled kick, but his job was the block the man out, and let a teammate make the recovery.  Just like Cavaliers coach Paul Silas, who publicly reprimanded Eric Snow, and didn't back down the next day by enforcing a one-game suspension, Robiskie was as adamant on the day after the game as he was immediately after it.  You would think that both coaches would have understood the frustrations of both players who were trying to make plays.

As a guy who thinks Butch Davis totally screwed up the Tim Couch situation, I never thought I'd say this, but the only chance the Browns have to beat Miami on Sunday night is if Kelly Holcomb gets the start.  I realize the temptation is there to see how McCown performs in good weather against a non-playoff team, but the franchise needs to have the team play well.  I can't imagine McCown being here next year, so there is no real need to continue to groom him.  And Holcomb has shown the ability to play well when at team doesn't fully prepare for him.  In addition, the Dolphins are in perfect position for a letdown, following their comeback win over the Patriots. 

If the Browns lose, they will assure themselves of the second pick in the draft.  Whether they have to give it up to get Ozzie Newsome or somebody else is yet to be determined.  Remember last year when Couch led the Browns to a meaningless win over Cincinnati, which dropped them down in the draft, leading to the draft-day trade to get Kellen Winslow, Jr.   I say it was meaningless for the Browns, but it did knock the Bengals out of the playoff picture.

After Sunday's loss to the Chargers, I had the opportunity to watch the Browns and Chargers assistant coaches waiting for the elevator to take them down to their respective locker rooms.  The contrast was interesting, to say the least.  Most of the assistants shook hands, while the Browns coaches wished their counterparts well in the upcoming playoffs.  The Chargers coaches, on the other hand, returned the good wishes by hoping they had good luck in seeking employment in the off-season.

‘More Sports & Les Levine' can be seen Monday through Friday from 6-7pm and 11pm-midnight on Adelphia Channel 15.  E-mail at msandll@aol.com or www.leslevine.com

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