Passan: A Sure Cure for Cleveland

Rich knows a man to cure the Browns offensive problems, and he can be here within the week...

Memo to Phil Savage and Randy Lerner: Quick, get on the phone right now to Mike Martz's agent and get Martz's name on a contract.

Your football team needs some imagination, some creativity on offense and Martz, one of the National Football League's most imaginative and creative offensive minds, is available.

Now that the doofuses up in Detroit wouldn't satisfy Martz' financial demands for a $1.5 million-a-year contract as offensive coordinator, it's time to leap. It's time to get an offensive mind here that will excite the fans.

Even more important, it will excite the players. With a little help from Savage, who must fill a couple of holes on the offensive line, there's no reason to believe a Mike Martz can't be anything except an upgrade from what the Browns have now on offense. A significant upgrade.

Is Martz worth a mil and a half a season? You bet. For what he can do for this offense, you're damn right he's worth it.

There is no question that Charlie Frye can become a very good quarterback under Martz. And with Martz' intricate passing game involving Braylon Edwards, Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow Jr., I can see opposing teams changing their defensive strategies.

Reuben Droughns proved he's a tough runner and, with a little bit of help, can become the pass-catching running back Martz loves.

On the debit side, sure, Martz took over a terrific St. Louis Rams team from Dick Vermeil after they won the 2000 Super Bowl and morphed it into mediocrity. But that was as a head coach.

Turn this man loose exclusively on an offense and he'll make you forget all about the Chris Palmers and Maurice Carthons and Terry Robiskies. The man is close to genius status when it comes to offensive football.

His greatest achievement was taking Kurt Warner, who had been stocking shelves at a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, super market before becoming an Arena Football League star, and turning him into Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

The Rams, struggling to become respectable under Vermeil, became the "Greatest Show on Turf" under Martz's tutelage. With Warner throwing the ball to Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt and Marshall Faulk gouging holes in opposing teams' defenses, they were virtually unstoppable.

And when Warner went down with an injury, untried Marc Bulger stepped right in and the offense didn't miss a beat.

The Rams, with Martz as their guiding light, became the offensive scourge of the NFL, recording three straight seasons of 500 or more points. No team in the history of the NFL has ever done that.

Another argument Martz detractors can use: He was successful with a team that played indoors, where the elements do not factor in the end product. Can his offense style, which is predicated on speed and quickness, be successful outdoors in Cleveland?

If a guy like Lindy Infante, an offensive genius in his own right, can come in here and turn the mid-1980s Browns into an offensive juggernaut, then the answer is a resounding yes.

If there was one aspect of the Browns that disappointed last season, it was clearly the offense. And you can point the fingers of blame at the players just so much.

The guilty digits should be aimed directly at the offensive coordinator. OK, so Carthon was a neophyte at calling plays. But he wasn't exactly an apprentice at putting together a playbook.

He was Bill Parcells' offensive coordinator in Dallas, but did not call the plays during games. An offensive coordinator who doesn't call plays. What does that tell you?

After a season with the Browns, we now see why Parcells fitted Carthon with a straitjacket on game days. His stodgy and unimaginative game plans were the fly in the Browns' offensive ointment in 2005.

And now, there appears to be a solution to those offensive problems. If only Romeo Crennel had the stones to pull the plug on Carthon and take on Martz.

Martz has a huge ego and could be considered a threat to any coach who takes him on. I'm guessing Crennel can put aside his ego (which appears well under control, anyway) as long as the results are positive.

If I'm not mistaken, Crennel wants to win games. He wants to elevate the Browns to contending status. As it stands right now, he doesn't have the coaching ammunition to accomplish that. Hiring Martz puts him a huge step closer to achieving his goal.

Besides, I don't know if I can take another year of Carthon.

So do it before the Lions change their mind. Make that call now and get Mike Martz to Cleveland.

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