It bothers me a bit that Crennel hasn't been hired before now to be a head coach. He has had several interviews with other teams. What did the Browns see that other teams didn't? Did other teams not see Crennel's talent shine through because of Belichick's shadow? Did other teams just have more qualified candidates to choose from?
Crennel is fifty-seven years old. The average age of a head coach in the NFL is fifty. Out of the thirty-one coaches now in place only five would be older. They are Tom Coughlin (58), Joe Gibbs (62), Bill Parcells (61), Marty Schottenheimer (61) and Dick Vermeil (68). Coughlin has headed an NFL team for nine years and the others are legends. Only Schottenheimer and Coughlin haven't won or taken a team to a Super Bowl. Interestingly all of the coaches mentioned took time off from the pressures of coaching in the NFL.
Before the Browns hire Crennel, I hope they insist he have a physical. Crennel will probably receive a four to five year deal. That will make him sixty-one or sixty-two when he is in the last years of his contract. Those will be the years that the team should peak under his tenure. It is important that he is healthy enough to see the job through.
It concerns me that Crennel might decide to retire at the end of his contract. That would have the Browns once again searching for a head coach. Hopefully if that's the case, a Browns coordinator could step into the position. That would keep the team's strategies and identity in place. It is hard for me to imagine the Browns holding on to their fan base if they have to start all over with a new coaching philosophy in five years.
In looking at all the candidates the Browns have interviewed. Crennel may very well be the cream of the crop. If that is the case, he should get the job. But, is his best good enough to turn the Browns around?
I might just be paranoid. But, recent history dictates my paranoia. These are very anxious times.
Coaches pool drying up
Let's hope that the Steelers beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. That way the Browns can hire Romeo Crennel, if he is their guy, and he can get going on hiring his coaching staff.Usually at the end of the NFL season there are five to six teams that have head coach vacancies. As of now there is one, the Browns. Usually the pool of position coaches is much deeper than what the Browns will have to select from, when the new coach begins the hiring process. Because of that the Browns may not be able to get all the guys they want until next year.
After the coaching staff is in place and the schemes are decided, the new coach and Phil Savage can evaluate the existing players to determine the team's needs before free agency starts on March 2. I look for the Browns to be very active in free agency.
They will try to fill any remaining holes with their selections in April's NFL Draft. I am looking forward to this year's Draft. The Browns should grade out high with Savage running the show. I'm going to send the wife shopping, tune in ESPN and celebrate every pick.
Whatever happens over the next three months one thing is sure, the Browns will take on a new identity, and that is very exciting.
There are only three games left and the NFL season is officially over. That's when the slate is wiped clean and all teams are undefeated. It is a time when Browns fans can once again fantasize about reaching the Super Bowl. If you are a betting person the odds of the Browns winning Super Bowl XL will probably open up in Vegas at 5000 to 1.
Worth a shot
I can't believe Randy Lerner hasn't went to Titans owner Bud Adams with a wheelbarrow full of money and try to obtain Jeff Fisher as the Browns head guy. It has been reported that Fisher is not happy with his current situation with the Titans. He is a proven winner.
Jeff Walcoff even reported this fact in his story, "2004: By the numbers," which appeared on the Browns' Official Site.
The best team in the NFL since '99? No, it's not the Pats or Eagles or Colts. Despite a 5-11 season, the Tennessee Titans' 65-31 mark is the league's best since '99.
It is conceivable that the Browns may switch to the 3-4 defense next year. Both the Patriots and Steelers run the 3-4 as their core defense and they are competing in the AFC Championship Game. Ironically in the NFC Championship Game both Atlanta and Philadelphia use the 4-3 defense.