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G.M. MULLIGAN RULE COULD BE TESTED IN CLEVELAND

It’s becoming almost a foregone conclusion that the Browns will part ways with coach Romeo Crennel, barring a dramatic turnaround by the 3-6 team.
But anything less than a playoff berth likely won’t be good enough to earn a fifth season on the job for Crennel, and even running the table might not get the Browns to January.
The bigger question, as we see it, is whether G.M. Phil Savage will get a chance to hire another head coach, or whether his accountability will include making the call on hiring Crennel.
Working against Savage, in our view, should be the manner in which he bungled the quarterback position after the 2007 season.  As pointed out in our current item for SportingNews.com, Savage should have known that Derek Anderson’s unexpectedly strong performance for most of last season resulted from the absence of any pressure whatsoever to retain the job.  No one expected Anderson to do anything other than hold a spot until Brady Quinn was ready; as a result, Anderson was able to play unburdened by the worries inherent to having something to lose.
Thus, Savage should have gotten what he could for Anderson in the offseason, and the Browns should have handed the job to Quinn.
 Still, in most NFL cities the conventional approach is that the G.M. gets to hire two head coaches (or, in Detroit, three) before the G.M. assumes a spot on the hot seat.  But Cleveland isn’t most cities, and with teams like the Dolphins and Falcons proving that the best way to improve a team is to work from the top down, owner Randy Lerner might decide to start from scratch, contract extension notwithstanding.
Especially if those former Browns players who have way too much influence over the operation of the team want to see both a new head coach and a new General Manager.

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36 Responses to “G.M. MULLIGAN RULE COULD BE TESTED IN CLEVELAND”
  1. Cjd says: Nov 9, 2008 5:26 PM

    You don’t trade a 10 game winner for an unproven 1st year player. It’s quite obvious it’s the defense on this team that suffers more than the offense, and the offense drops more than it’s fair share of passes…

  2. stugacz says: Nov 9, 2008 5:34 PM

    When you speak of Derek Anderson as a “one year wonder” don’t forget to include Braylon “Dropitbitch” Edwards, because many of Anderson’s incompletions are directly connected to that “complete bust”!

  3. kayC says: Nov 9, 2008 5:41 PM

    Cjd’s right. I’m not a Browns fan, but I don’t know if the blame for the Derek Anderson situation really falls on Cleveland’s management. QB is the most coveted position in the NFL, and when a team goes from 4-12 to 10-6 on the strength of its offense and QB play, what else do you expect them to do? Hindsight’s 20/20, and it certainly seems to be the case that Brady Quinn and not Derek Anderson is the answer, but I don’t fault Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel for not being clairvoyants.

  4. BuckFutter says: Nov 9, 2008 5:43 PM

    It’s easy to forget just how well Anderson played last year. Had they traded him, they’d look just as stupid as they do now if Quinn had flopped.

  5. mike quick says: Nov 9, 2008 5:46 PM

    Sorry, you don’t get rid of a 10 game winner-ever. Get a clue. Its so nice to have the benefit of hindsight.

  6. titans_fan says: Nov 9, 2008 6:09 PM

    Anderson isn’t that bad. He did decent despite the team taking a few steps backwards in the offseason (IMO). Anderson can’t defend passes and make ints. Anderson can’t tackle runners. That’s where the problems start, on defense.

  7. Riceloft says: Nov 9, 2008 6:12 PM

    I’m a Browns fan living in the Cleveland area, and I would’ve traded Anderson in a heartbeat. He played like shit down the stretch.
    As to the article above, Savage shouldn’t be held accountable for Crennel in my view. Savage was hired and within less than a week he, Lerner and team president John Collins were interviewing Head coaches. I remember in interviews at the time Savage was quoted as “just being along for the ride” or something to that effect as he was literally JUST hired at the same time.

  8. bavaro89 says: Nov 9, 2008 6:12 PM

    Time to start the Bill Cowher as the next Cleveland HC/GM rumors.

  9. shadylampz says: Nov 9, 2008 6:13 PM

    Will people stop saying “Derek Anderson is a 10 game winner?” Derek Anderson IS NOT A 10 game winner. He was a 6 game LOSER that prevented us from getting to the playoffs in a must win game against Cincy.
    All of you D.A. appologists out there are idiots because Q.B. ratings don’t lie, and D.A.’s QB rating is not even above 70!
    To win in this league you need two things: A top 10 QB and a top ten Defense. That simple. Well at least we have a top 10 QB now.
    All a head coach has to do is clock management and manage challenges. So for that, RAC should be fired. The Defensive cordinator too.
    Enough Said.

  10. empty13 says: Nov 9, 2008 6:26 PM

    cleveland sure has more talent than they did a few years ago. so i suggest savage stays and if anyone goes, crennel goes.
    of course that still doesnt keep ownership from bringing a consultant in to help savage make a better choice for the next head coach.

  11. jasar13 says: Nov 9, 2008 6:50 PM

    My Ravens got rid of a Superbowl winning QB and look what happened to them the next year.
    This is not all Anderson’s fault. Braylon is not exactly helping him this year.

  12. raidermot says: Nov 9, 2008 6:52 PM

    “and with teams like the Dolphins and Falcons proving that the best way to improve a team is to work from the top down,”
    A sad truth for those of us who are a Raiders fan. The top down is horrible and getting worse.
    *sigh*

  13. filbertkiwi71 says: Nov 9, 2008 7:08 PM

    Quinn has played one decent game against a pathetic Bronco defense. It is way too early to tell if he is a franchise QB or not. Give him the same number of games played as Anderson, and then we will have a better idea of what the Browns have for QB’s.

  14. Elaw6 says: Nov 9, 2008 7:11 PM

    You DO get rid of a ten game winner especially when it was a FLUKE TEN GAMES WON. If Anderson is so deserving of starting, why didn’t he get his team into the playoffs? It all starts last season when they collapsed. The Browns were just as over-hyped as the Vikings and Cowboys prior to the start of the season. Send him to Detroit, Chicago, or KC.

  15. ScooterPie says: Nov 9, 2008 7:25 PM

    Yes, it’s all so obvious now. Ridiculous.

  16. BuckFutter says: Nov 9, 2008 7:32 PM

    “shadylampz says:
    To win in this league you need two things: A top 10 QB and a top ten Defense. That simple. Well at least we have a top 10 QB now.”
    For a QB to be good he has to have receivers who can catch, a line that can keep the defense off him, and usually a running game that can help keep pressure off the passing game. I haven’t watched enough of Cleveland this season to say they don’t have any of those three, but a great QB is rarely a great QB without a support system.
    And to say Brady Quinn is a top 10 QB is completely retarded. Now, I haven’t seen enough of your posts to say that YOU are completely retarded…..

  17. andfitch82 says: Nov 9, 2008 7:42 PM

    In commenting to the article above, I don’t think Savage should be on his way out. Savage has done a nice job with the scouts and front office. The Browns are in a better place then they were 3 years ago (Believe it or not) because for the first time we have “depth.” at some positions.
    Romeo is a lot like a Wade Phillips, the guy is a genius, but the team as a whole isn’t led by him. They respect the man, but he couldn’t light a fire under anyone’s “butt.”

  18. dingomandingo says: Nov 9, 2008 8:05 PM

    What about brian billick for the rest of the season? he might whip them into shape.

  19. rolama says: Nov 9, 2008 8:19 PM

    Remember- Just last season, his talented duo,(PS and CR) thought Charlie Fye had the talent to be their starting QB. Again, Cleveland
    wastes draft picks / cash due to the inability to evaluate talent
    The loss of draft picks that Savage traded away will haunt Believeland for a long time.

  20. johnnie walker says: Nov 9, 2008 8:29 PM

    YOU PLAY TO LOSE THE GAME!!!

  21. clevefan1 says: Nov 9, 2008 8:31 PM

    I said before the season started that DA sucked. I was hoping that some team would sign him as an RFA and give the Browns their 1st and 3rd picks. In hindsight, I look pretty damned smart. However, I’m not going to blame Savage for this decision. Savage structured DA’s contract so that it was, in effect, rewarding him for his 1 good year while at the same time, it gave the Browns the chance to trade him if Quinn was the better QB. It was a smart move at the time the deal was made because the Browns knew they had 2 good QBs and, in this league with all of the injuries, teams need a good backup(DA might well end up playing again before season’s end because of this). DA’s contract is hardly the worst move that Savage has made as GM. I’d rank his top 3 bad moves in this order(all with the benefit of hindsight obviously):
    1. Passing on Ngata to take Wimbley.
    2. Trading Faine to the Saints to sign Bentley as an FA.
    3. Hiring RAC
    But his 3 best moves, IMO, outweigh those bad ones:
    1. Signing Josh Cribbs as an undrafted FA.
    2. Pulling DA out of the Ravens trash pile.
    3. Getting Frank Haley from Philly for a 7th round pick.
    I think the jury’s still out on the gem he might have found in Alex Hall but, he is looking like quite the steal as a 7th round pick right now. And, I definitely feel like Savage, hands down, got the better of the Shaun Rogers / Leigh Bodden trade. Ok, I guess saying he is smarter than Matt Millen isn’t really saying much. But, I do feel like, overall, the talent on the Browns is better now than it has been at any time since the Brown’s expansion season in 1999. Savage’s strength has always been his ability to evaluate young talent. I feel like he’s in the upper range of NFL GM’s in that category. But, he definitely needs to work on his public relations skills and his free agent talent evaluation.
    I’d be willing to give him a mulligan but, Romeo is in way over his head. He has no idea how to manage a game. He kicks FGs when the situation calls for a TD. He sticks with players and coordinators who suck way too long. And, he has no clue how to motivate players. He was hired because he was supposed to be some kind of defensive genius. But, his defenses have consistantly sucked every year he’s been with the Browns. I think it’s become painfully obvious that RAC’s success in New England can be directly attributed to Belichick. I think alot of people tend to forget that RAC was also the Brown’s DC in Cleveland before he went to NE. And, his defense sucked then too. I have never, ever been impressed with him; I don’t even think he was a good DC much less a head coach. RAC needs to go.

  22. vincelombardi says: Nov 9, 2008 8:53 PM

    shadylampz, you need THREE, you mentioned the first two, the third would be a competent coach, or one who at least has a freakin clue! the whole organization SUCKS from top to bottom. best thing to happen would be for lerner to sale the team and let someone who wants to win take the ownership mantle.

  23. JoeSixPack says: Nov 9, 2008 9:10 PM

    Is Romeo really that bad of a coach? I’ll defer to Cleveland fans as to whether he just makes bad calls.
    Aside from that, don’t blame the guy for not making a silk purse from a sows ear. Blame the guy who keeps brining in the swine to play football.

  24. BleedBrown says: Nov 9, 2008 11:19 PM

    There are far too many DA apologists on here
    DA successes can be attributed to a few factors:
    -We played 1 +.500 team last year
    -No one knew how to game plan against DA until after we played Cincy and after that his numbers greatly fell off
    -Overachieving receivers
    DA is not the only one to blame but he is certainly 1 or 2 in the hierarchy of the Browns demise. He has made terrible decisions as a QB. Stares down receivers, underthrown/poorly thrown passes, game management, and not being able to maintain a drive. Now his receivers have let him down this year as well so its not squarely on his shoulders.
    Crennel is unable to motivate or maintain order among his team. There is no fire, no heart which is why we as Clevelanders are screaming for the Chin as he possesses that trait. Is he the answer? Probably not. Crennel is also to blame for sticking with DA for so long that it has all but left us out of the playoff picture. It is his job to field the best players every game and he was not doing that with a lot of players, not just DA.
    The defense should be so much better especially with a defensive coach. So many players are playing below their potential namely Wimbley who had such a solid rookie year and has since fallen off and even lost a step. The defense runs a 3-4 but doesn’t have the LB corps to allow that scheme to run correctly. Davis is always out of position, McGinest is late for the glue factory, D’Qwell Jackson is impressive, Alex hall is a stud so far and Beau Bell is a question mark. The secondary would probably benefit from better play from the front 7 but when theirs no pass rush it’s a lot easier to get beat.
    So I feel that Crennel has lost control of the team and it’s just too far gone to fix and it’s (sadly) time to move on. Savage to me is too valuable to lose, especially with his eye for talent. Randy Lerner is no loser and won’t let this go on much longer. He turned around his soccer team and I have to believe he will turn this around as well.

  25. BleedBrown says: Nov 9, 2008 11:37 PM

    Is Romeo really that bad of a coach? I’ll defer to Cleveland fans as to whether he just makes bad calls.
    ———————————————————————
    No, but he fails to hold players responsible for poor play. He’s a good guy and seems to avoid the bad guy role. He has made questionable calls but that’s gonna happen, the issue is accountability as far as I’m concerned…Maybe some ego involved

  26. MaineMan says: Nov 10, 2008 12:34 AM

    Maybe Cleveland is overpaying now for DA to be a backup, but IF the team can be improved around them (defense, O-line, running game, coaching), it’ll be nice down the road to have both DA and Quinn.

  27. BodaZopha says: Nov 10, 2008 1:17 AM

    Hey Florio, you DO know that Crennel was essentially in place before Savage was even hired, right? Right?
    Nah, I didn’t think you did. Thanks for playing though.

  28. TDE says: Nov 10, 2008 9:37 AM

    BodaZopha you make a good point I do believe that Crennel was chosen by John Collins and Randy Lerner before Savage was hired. Given the fact that Lerner has since fired Collins, who was Savage’s boss, I doubt he will come forward and take the heat. Furthermore, the man who signs paychecks is never wrong. Hence, any way you slice it Savage is going to take the heat, if in fact the season continues to be a waste.
    Given that fact I still believe that Savage should keep his job solely on the fact that the jury is still out on the personnel moves he has made. Lets look at his first round draft picks…Edwards, Wimbley, Thomas and Quinn have all shown potential AT SOME POINT (watch some tape on Thomas’ play this year…). The point that I am trying to make is that Lerner must assume the dropoff from these “stars” is due to coaching, or lackthereof, and NOT bad personnel moves.
    Given that fact, if a new head coach is brought in who has some celebrity (e.i. cowher, billick) and these “stars” are still struggling THEN Savage will be on the hot seat.
    MY MAIN POINT IS THAT IN ORDER FOR THE BROWNS (RANDY LERNER) TO TRUELY DIAGNOSE THE PROBLEM HE HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO FIRE CRENNEL.

  29. NoWearMan says: Nov 10, 2008 10:57 AM

    Anyone who thinks DA is a decent starter IS NOT PAYING ATTENTION.
    That being said, I like Savage, I cant stand Romeo.
    Bring in the Chin and demote Phil.

  30. BriDawg29 says: Nov 10, 2008 11:09 AM

    Don’t forget that despite losing to the Bungholes in the last game of the 2007 season the Browns were within 1 Indianapolis Colts’ “laydown” in Week 17 of making the playoffs. We had to watch the Sunday night game to see if the Browns would make it to the show. Indy layed down at home against Tennessee and the Titans made it. That being said, if DA & crew would have taken care of business, it wouldn’t have mattered.
    Personally, I tend to like Savage, but he’s still learning. I’ve got some questions about how he’s handled recent events (like the Winslow situation, among others), but I’m willing to give him another shot.
    I also agree with a previous comment that pointed out Savage was hired RIGHT before Romeo was. In reality, I don’t believe he had much say-so in that whole process, because it happened so quickly, and he didn’t have any prior ties to Romeo.
    Until recently, I supported Romeo also, but now question my own judgement on that one. I like that he’s even keel, because fireballs rarely win Super Bowls, while level-headed guys seems to win most of them. At this point, something is drastically wrong, as guys like Jamal Lewis have started questioning other players’ effort. That’s a direct reflection on the coach and cannot continue.
    I’d like to see Savage hire a coach and see how the two can work together. It’s always seemed like the PS-RC relationship was a bit “forced”, to say the least.

  31. clevemike says: Nov 10, 2008 11:13 AM

    Phil did NOT hire Romeo. Back in 2004/5, as the Patriots were winning their third Super Bowl in 5 years, the Browns hired Phil. At this point, Randy Lerner and John Collins went on a coaching search. Phil was the third wheel in the decision making process…….

  32. clevefan1 says: Nov 10, 2008 12:09 PM

    “Romeo Crennel represents everything that is great about the game of football,” said Browns senior vice-president and general manager Phil Savage. “We are extremely proud and honoured to make him the next head coach.” – from this article dated February 23, 2005
    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/story/2005/02/08/crennel050208.html
    Savage also gave RAC a 2 year extension after last year.

  33. shadylampz says: Nov 10, 2008 2:18 PM

    Some guy who’s screen name is “Buckfutter” is calling me retarded? Go back to my posts from last year. I stated D.A. was no good even right after some very solid wins and I’ve never swayed from that possition.
    I’ve seen enough QB’s that came through Cleveland to know this guy is a BUM.
    And I can confidently state that Quinn will be concidered an elite QB based on the numbers he put up with a HORRIBLE Notre Dame team and watching hours of film on this guy.
    I think BUCKFUTTER is probably Derek Anderson’s mommy. Get over it lady, your son really sucks!

  34. shadylampz says: Nov 10, 2008 2:20 PM

    scooterpie,
    It was obvious right after that Cincy game that knocked us out of the playoffs. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure Derek Anderson is not going to take you to the promise land.

  35. BriDawg29 says: Nov 10, 2008 5:46 PM

    Browns hire Savage as GM
    Tony Grossi
    Plain Dealer Reporter 4:36 p.m.
    The Browns will introduce Phil Savage as their general manager on Thursday if a contract can be worked out with his agent tonight.
    Owner Randy Lerner and President John Collins spent the day in Lerner’s home on Long Island, N.Y., talking with Savage in detail about the work ahead in reconstructing the Browns’ football operation.
    Lerner and Collins originally interviewed Savage in Baltimore on Monday, and then returned on Tuesday after interviewing head coach candidate Brad Childress in Philadelphia.
    http://www.majorwager.com/forums/mess-hall/30486-browns-hire-phil-savage.html
    *****************************************
    Lerner & Collins (the team PRESIDENT) at the time, were already interviewing head coaching candidates BEFORE Savage was hired. Crennel couldn’t have been hired until AFTER the Patriots’ season was over – and they won the Super Bowl.
    Here’s are the first two paragraphs of the article you linked to, Clevefan1:
    ” As the New England Patriots paraded the streets of Boston, the architect of their champion defence was introduced as the 11th head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
    Romeo Crennel, 57, accepted the job Sunday night, shortly after New England’s 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX at Jacksonville.”
    So, Romeo wasn’t HIRED on 2/23, that’s the date that the article you linked to was last UPDATED. Rome was hired right after the SUper Bowl, meanng Savage had little meaningful dialogue with him and no common organizational history to go by.
    I believe that it was primarily Lerner & Collins’ call with a “Rubber Stamp” by Savage. Romeo IS NOT Savage’s coach.

  36. clevefan1 says: Nov 11, 2008 10:43 AM

    I couldn’t remember the exact details surrounding Romeo’s hiring but, I just remembered that Phil had already been hired. I’m glad you refreshed my memory because that does make me feel better knowing that Savage didn’t really get to decide. I do remember that there really weren’t many good head coaching candidates to chose from at the time so, even tho RAC has proven to suck as a head coach, he was likely the best option at the time.
    Phil’s decision to extend RAC 2 years was a pretty bone-headed call tho. I think it had alot to do with the fact that he was coming off of a 10-6 season and Parcell’s was looking to hire a coach for the ‘Phins. Given RAC & Parcell’s history, I’m sure RAC was very high on Bill’s list so, Phil felt like he needed to extend him or risk losing him.

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