Taylor: Circling The Browns

No matter what happens the rest of the way in 2008, the future path of the Browns is being set. Find out why, and what the future likely holds, in another exclusive report from the OBR's John Taylor...

There are a great many rumblings emanating from in and around Berea these days. Most, if not all, pertain to the fate of the current head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Romeo A. Crennel. Needless to say, the rumblings don't portend well for the likable but embattled sideline boss.

The word that's fast spreading around the league – based on numerous sources spoken to by The Orange & Brown Report – is that owner Randy Lerner has "all but decided" Crennel will be gone at the end of the season.

"These last two games (blowing leads of 14 and 13 points at home) were the final nails," to Crennel's coaching coffin, one league source said.

No sources within the Browns organization would confirm that Lerner has even contemplated a move at the head coaching position, let alone decided on making move, however.

If I were a betting man, though, I would bet that Lerner has a preliminary list of replacements at the ready. I would also bet the owner – or persons closely associated with the owner – has already sent out feelers to at least one member of that initial list.

"Based on how the season's gone, how Crennel's career (as a head coach in Cleveland) has gone, (Lerner) would be a fool to not have a Plan B or C or F. There are a lot of things that Randy Lerner is, but a fool isn't one of them," a source said.

-- By all accounts, Phil Savage's general managerial job seems safe – for the time being. While the record on the field has given the owner pause, it was the way the front office handled the whole Kellen Winslow fiasco that has him flustered.

"That was just a ridiculous situation. (Savage) took something minor and turned it into something bigger than it ever should've been. The way the whole thing was handled left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths, including some pretty important people (in the organization)," one source said.

Generally speaking, the owner seems satisfied with the talent Savage has procured, sources said, but would seemingly not be averse to bringing in a new coach who would not be compatible with the GM.

-- While it might – and we stress the word "might" – still be possible for Crennel to save his job by turning the season around starting a week from tonight, a Browns insider had an interesting take as to what exactly a turn-around might mean.

"This is a double-edged sword for (Crennel). If this season continues to go to hell, he could very well be gone. Or likely will be gone, whatever the case. If this season is turned around, with Brady Quinn under center, the microscope will be refocused on why the switch (from Derek Anderson to Quinn) wasn't made earlier. A wasted season that didn't necessarily have to be will not sit well with the owner."

-- For those who are concerned about the bottom falling out of DA's trade value due to his roller coaster play and subsequent benching, don't fret. Well, at least don't fret too much.

According to several front office-types, the quarterback still retains some trade value if the Browns decide to dump him in the offseason, although the return will likely not be nearly as much as was perceived even eight months ago.

"QBs with a rocket for an arm like will always have some type of value," one source said.

Earlier this year, the Browns may have been able to get a first and a third for Anderson; now they might – might – be able to steal a second-round pick if enough teams get involved in the process.

The Vikings and Rams would likely be the most interested parties in Anderson's services come 2009, with the Chiefs being an additional option pending the further development of Tyler Thigpen.

Again, this is all provided the Browns decide to deal Anderson this coming offseason. Such a decision, however, has yet to be made or set in stone.

-- While the applause for Jamal Lewis calling out unnamed teammates was deafening in most corners, one member close to the organization was in no mood to stand and join the ovation: "So, Kellen gets suspended for blasting the front office, then Jamal gets nothing for blasting players? I guess as long as you don't say anything bad about Phil, everybody else in the organization is fair game."

-- Suffice it to say, Brady Quinn impressed the Browns during the course of his first regular-season start this past Thursday night. Perhaps even more impressive to the club, though, was what he had to say behind closed doors afterward. The second-year QB told one member of the organization that he was "surprised at how slow the game was," said one source. "He'd heard all kinds of horror stories about how fast the game was the first time out, and he just didn't feel that way. That's something that was very good to hear."

-- During his Friday autopsy of Thursday night's season-killing collapse, Crennel alluded to changes personnel changes possibly being in the offing. Again this morning, Crennel acknowledged that such discussions have taken place and were still ongoing. One of the changes being discussed, The OBR has learned, is Seth McKinney replacing Rex Hadnot at right guard. That's provided, of course, Eric Steinbach would be healthy enough to resume his starting job next Monday night against the Bills.

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