Passan: Romeo Must Go

The veteran Browns observer feels that the Browns head coach isn't the leader the team needs...

It is time to take a look at the coaching situation with the Cleveland Browns.  It's a look that can lead to only one conclusion.

Romeo Crennel has got to go. Makes no difference how many years he's got left on his contract. He's got to go. He has lost his team. The nadir has been reached.

It is apparent the players, for the most part, have stopped listening to him and his coaching staff.

How else can one explain the Browns' embarrassingly sad performance Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals in front of the home fans? There is no excuse for that exercise in futility.

This wasn't just a case of the Bengals steamrollering the Browns with superior talent. This was a case of a team, with a few exceptions, not putting forth a maximum effort for its coach.

All the elements for a competitive game were there. Division opponent. The hated in-state rival. A chance to avenge an earlier loss in Cincinnati.

Reminiscent of the 41-0 Christmas Eve demolition by the Pittsburgh Steelers just 48 weeks ago, the loss to the Bengals had the aroma of a landfill.

The players were a disgrace to the throwback uniforms they wore.

Fans of this club deserve better. Much better.

They applauded when Crennel was named head coach in 2005. They saw his cache of championship rings and promptly anointed him the man to lead the franchise out of the wilderness.

Little did they know Crennel was just another of those coordinators much better at coordinating than leading an entire team.

He might be a terrific defensive coordinator, but doesn't have what it takes to be a head coach. There was a reason he was passed over by other teams.

Head coaching is a different animal, one that Crennel is not capable of taming. He's a good man, a decent man. But he's not cut from the bolt of head coaching cloth.

Too often, his teams range from ill-prepared to not prepared. Way too often.

There isn't one area at which this team excels.

It has no offense to speak of. The defense can't get off the field on third down. It can't run the ball or stop the run. And it keeps making the same mistakes.

For a brief period, the Browns led or were near the top of the National Football League in fewest penalties. A sign of discipline.

Not anymore. Not after 23 penalties for 202 yards in the last three games.

Since Crennel's arrival, Phil Savage's roster plundering has yielded a stronger team with better personnel. And yet, the Browns continue to play games like Sunday at CBS. If anything, they're backsliding.

Ask yourself just one question: Have the Browns shown any improvement this season? If the answer is yes, you are either not paying attention or are sycophantic in your emotional approach to the team.

The Browns just played game number 11 and were shut out by 30 points at home. If that's improvement, time to change the meaning of the word.

It was hoped Crennel would come in and establish some sort of credibility, some sort of respectability to a franchise that has been moribund, for the most part, since its return in 1999.

He hasn't come close.

He can't control the players in the locker room. He can't control them on the field. They are in disarray on all levels.

When the likes of Kellen Winslow Jr. and Braylon Edwards tee off publicly on the coaching staff, something is wrong.

Sunday's dustup between Edwards and Charlie Frye on the bench during the game should never have happened.

The inmates are taking over the asylum. They're fighting the wrong people. Themselves. And for that, Crennel must take the blame.

After Sunday's loss to the Bengals, he meekly said, "This is not what I expected. . . . It wasn't very pretty. We have to play better if we want to have a chance to win a game."

Coach Obvious strikes again.

Fact of the matter is this team is, by and large, ill-coached to play the game of football the way it's meant to be played.

No, the fault with this loss doesn't lie with Frye and his four interceptions. Or Edwards and his mouth. Or Hank Fraley. Or Andra Davis. Or Ted Washington. Or Ralph Jones.

In the buck-stops-here world we live in, only one person can be held responsible for what took place for three excruciating hours Sunday down by the lakefront. Only one person should step up, raise his hand and take the blame.

Anyone not named Crennel, put down your hand.

After 27 games and only nine victories as a head coach in the NFL, how much more will it take to convince Randy Lerner and Savage that a change at the top is in order?

How much more will it take to convince Lerner that his choice of Crennel was ill-advised?

The current situation has enraged many fans. Some of those fans on this Web site have proposed boycotting this Sunday's game at CBS against the Kansas City Chiefs. That's a bit rash and it is hoped that will not eventuate.

This city fought too long and too hard to get professional football back in Cleveland to do something as ignorant and thoughtless as that.

But the message somehow has to get through to Lerner and Savage that the fans are so fed up with his team, they take out their frustrations in uncommon ways.

The next step could be the dreaded enemy of all sports: Apathy.

Lost in all the hatred that has spewed forth from those fans the last couple of days is a message that Lerner should take to heart.

A poster on this site named curdawg99 wrote: "I love this team and hate the way they make me feel."

A perfect summation to an imperfect situation.

It's time to make people like curdawg99 feel better about the team they love.  Getting rid of Crennel would be a good start.


The OBR Top Stories