The Owl: Different Directions

Some owls migrate, so you could be excused if you thought our Owl went south like the Browns 2006 season (ouch). This bird has been pretty busy as the Browns season has dragged on, but returns today to talk about the changes in Berea. Our feathered friend is not sure how everything went down, but one possibility is a real concern...

Everybody wants to know whether Maurice Carthon was fired or if he truly resigned as Romeo Crennel told a roomful of reporters Tuesday afternoon. So do I, but in the end it doesn't matter.

This latest chapter of the expansion Browns is over, just as the Carmen Policy chapter is behind us, the Chris Palmer-Dwight Clark chapter and the Butch Davis-Pete Garcia chapter are history.

The sad thing is, though, those chapters really haven't ended just because the villains in them are gone. It's like dying while in debt; it might be lights out for the spender, but the bills get passed on to the kids.

But here is what I find most intriguing about Carthon leaving/being forced to leave as offensive coordinator. I do not believe Carthon quit because from what I know of him he is not a quitter. And I believe Crennel wanted to retain him - not because Carthon is a friend but because head coaches are usually blindly loyal to their assistants.

If the call to fire Carthon came from owner Randy Lerner, fine. It's Lerner's team and he can do as he wishes, as long as he keeps it here.

I have a problem, though, if Savage made the decision to dump Carthon.

I am not saying Carthon might have become Don Coryell or Lindy Infante with a little more experience. Some of his play-calling was baffling. My old kindergarten teacher would still be smart enough to have Kellen Winslow in the lineup on third down and she's been dead for seven years.

The reason I have a problem with Savage over-stepping Crennel goes back to the end of last season when Savage was almost fired. Remember who went to bat for him? It was Romeo Crennel.

The head coach and general manager don't always have to agree on which player to draft, who should be signed in free agency, who should be cut or who should start. Anybody who has been around football long enough would tell you it's better if they don't always agree, because a dictatorship on any level is dangerous.

But when the coach and general manager go to the owner they should be in agreement. They should watch out for each other. Distrust develops when they do not, and that will hurt a team more than stupid calls by an offensive coordinator would.

None of this is to say Carthon was a good offensive coordinator. He wasn't. Jeff Davidson can't do any worse, and if he succeeds the Browns will know who their offensive coordinator is next season. With 10 games left he won't have enough time to catch a general manager's eye as a head coach next year. Having Davidson call plays these last 10 games will make for a smooth transition for next year.

The power play Savage exercised, if that is what led to Monday's coup, is my only problem with this affair.

The Browns are not going to the playoffs this season. They've had too many key injuries, the offensive line is bad no matter who is calling the plays and the defense, good as it is, still does a rotten job of taking the ball away.

I don't see how changing offensive coordinators will make Dennis ‘Butterfingers' Northcutt hold onto the ball. It won't keep Charlie Frye on his feet and it won't make Charlie Frye any more experienced.

On Tuesday Crennel uttered an ominous warning when he said ‘This probably might get worse before it gets better.'

If so, this is no time for Crennel and Savage to be staring in opposite directions. Ironically, that is exactly what they are doing on the cover of the 2006 pocket schedule.

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