What We're Hearing

Once again, The OBR has picked up on some low-pitch chatter emanating from in and around Berea, including snippets on the future of Charlie, Grantham's non-hiring and another asistant potentially leaving the staff. So click on the pic. It's fun. And cool. And stuff.

During an interview a week ago this past Monday on WTAM, general manager Phil Savage, after yet again praising Charlie Frye's intangibles, was asked what positions would be targeted in the 2007 draft. While not showing his hand as to the positions of need, he stated that the tight end and safety positions were set. Interestingly enough, he didn't mention the QB position as being set in relation to the draft.

In the Ask the Insiders forum on Sunday, a question was asked regarding what the Browns think of Frye. In part, my answer was that there are more than a few in the organization who are concerned about Frye's lack of progress in a lot of areas, and regression in others.

At his usual Monday press conference, head coach Romeo Crennel refused to fully commit to Frye as his QB for 2007 and beyond.

Today, Savage once again seemed to back off committing to Frye as the future at the position and left open the very real possibility that at least one QB will be brought in to challenge Frye in '07.

Why, seemingly all of the sudden, are there chinks in Frye's armor?

According to persons in the know, this is not a sudden shift in organizational thinking. It's not as if everyone in the organization suddenly bolted upright in bed one night and simultaneously exclaimed "Are we sure about Charlie's future as a starter?"

No, it's simply an ongoing process that is just now beginning to come to the surface and be seen in a public light.

As early as the fifth or six game of the season, one source said, the concerns began to be raised by some inside the inner sanctum of Berea. The team has been looking--and hoping--for signs of progress from Frye. As of yet, they have gotten precious little of that. That has led to questions regarding his viability as a long-term answer from even his most staunchest of supporters.

Or, as another source put it: "You can bet the house that you won't see both (Ken) Dorsey and (Derek) Anderson on the roster in 2007. He will be given a challenger. That mistake won't be made again."

For the better part of a month, The OBR had reported that Browns defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was the frontrunner--or a co-frontrunner--to replace John L. Smith at Michigan State.

On Monday, the University announced that Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Mark Dantonio had been named to the post.

So, how exactly did Grantham go from the leader of the pack to also-ran?

According to two sources, the MSU braintrust was concerned over Grantham's long-term commitment to the University and that he would use the school as a stepping stone for what they believe he truly covets, which is a head-coaching gig in the NFL.

"If (Grantham) could have convinced (the search committee and board of trustees) that he was going to be here for the long haul, he would've had the job," one source told The OBR. "Everyone involved came away with the impression that he wanted too much to be (an NFL head coach) at some point down the not-too-distant road, and the school didn't want to put themselves in another 'search-mode' a couple of years down the road. (MSU) just couldn't get reasonable assurances from Todd that he wouldn't look to bolt for the NFL."

After failing to get the any reasonable assurances from Grantham, MSU ramped up their talks with Dantonio, who is a life-long college coach and has no known NFL aspirations.

Grantham, on the other hand, had his name came up as a potential candidate for at least two NFL openings at the end of last season, and will likely be mentioned heavily again following the 2006 season.

Just to address a couple of additional rumors involving Grantham:

1.) He did not take his name out of the running for the Michigan State job. Unless, of course, you consider his lack of an iron-clad promise to MSU as taking himself out of the running.

2.) He was never a serious candidate for the Iowa State job; therefore, he wasn't "snubbed" or "passed over".

3.) He is NOT a candidate for the Alabama opening created by the firing of Mike Shula.

Speaking of Browns assistant coaches, there are rumblings that defensive backs coach Mel Tucker is on the short list of candidates to replace Dantonio at the University of Cincinnati. Tucker, a Cleveland native who served on Jim Tressel's staff earlier this decade, has done a tremendous job this season after losing his top three cornerbacks for the majority of the season.

If he can coach up Ralph Brown, he can certainly coach up a bunch of Bearcats. Or statues of Bearcats for that matter.

I mean, think about it: he turned the human torch with a shredded matador's cape into a somewhat, kind-of-serviceable CB. Forget Cincinnati; he needs to be in the nation's capital "coaching up" the current administration's Iraq war strategists.

If it were up to owner Randy Lerner, wide receiver Braylon Edwards would be suspended for one game for both his sideline tirade on Sunday and his comments earlier in the week regarding Brian Russell and the red zone offense. However, Lerner will allow Crennel to make the decision on what, if any, punishment is meted out to the receiver and stand behind his coach. At least for now.

Two names to keep an eye on and an ear out for once early March rolls around: Adalius Thomas and Robaire Smith. For now, we'll label it as a knowledgeable educated guess.

In closing...

If the players are indeed as behind RAC as they have publicly stated this week, here's a piece of advice: play your asses off these next five games because if you don't, and this team implodes, you will cost your beloved head coach his job. Regardless and irrespective of the "vote of confidence" given by the general manager 31 days and 5 games before the end of the season.

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