Blog Entry

Romeo Must...Stay?

Posted on: December 12, 2008 2:16 am
Edited on: December 12, 2008 2:59 am
By now, you'd be hard-pressed to find a Browns fan who hasn't called for Romeo Crennel's immediate removal as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. With all the speculation floating around nowadays, it seems like a forgone conclusion a coaching change will be made.

This begs the question: would the Browns be justified in firing Romeo Crennel after this season?

On the surface, Crennel does not possess the tangible characteristics of a winning football coach. In his four year tenure with the Browns, Romeo has guided the Browns to a cumulative 23-37 (.383%) record. The Browns have been inconsistent since his arrival, and they failed to establish an identity on both sides of the ball. Crennel's teams have yet to defeat the hated Pittsburgh Steelers, and have posted a 4-18 (.182%) mark against the AFC North. On record alone, it is difficult to justify retaining such a head coach.

As with everything in life, there is more than meets the eye.

The first two years of Romeo's stay in Cleveland were spent installing his system and coaching staff. The previous regime left Crennel a roster void of talent and direction. Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel had little to work with and were asked to be competitive against established division rivals who have had years to perfect their respective schemes.

When GM Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel arrived in Cleveland, Savage asked Clevelanders to be patient with the Browns. He estimated it would take a full three years to make the change from pretender to contender. Between changing the Cleveland Browns' culture, removing ineffective players, and converting to a 3-4 scheme, it would be extremely difficult to evaluate Crennel's prowess in his first two years as Cleveland Browns' head coach.

The third year was definitely a charm.

While falling short of the postseason, the 2007 Cleveland Browns exceeded expectations and won 10 games - 6 more than the year before. Cleveland established a vertical passing attack all the while coining the phrase "tall ball" along the way. True to what Savage and Crennel said, the Browns had turned into a respectable team at the end of their third year.

This season has been particularly frustrating for the Browns and their fans, as the hope surrounding the team fell to the ground faster than a completion through Braylon Edwards' hands. Injuries ravished Cleveland's offense and defense. Inconsistency from those healthy enough to participate cost the team close victories. The team's strength of schedule (.595) was easily the most difficult in recent memory. Despite this, 4 of their 9 losses were by 4 points or fewer. This could easily be an 8-5 football team.

Cleveland Browns TE Kellen Winslow has symbolized everything wrong
with the 2008 Browns: health, inconsistency, and controversy.

So that brings us to Romeo Crennel. Crennel has been criticized for everything from his wins to his waistline. There are several misconceptions about the current Cleveland coach, and it's only fair to address them.

Myth #1: Romeo Crennel is a poor game manager.

False. As reported by the Plain Dealer's Toni Grossi, so much of what we see on gameday is not directly related to Romeo Crennel. The timeouts for example are the responsibility of T.J. McCreight - the Browns' Director of Player Personnel. McCreight is the man directly in Romeo's headset, whispering sweet timeout talk into his ear. Crennel only handles situational management. Kicking field goals and attempting 4th down conversions, for example, are his responsibilities alone.

Myth #2: Romeo Crennel never challenges plays.

False. Like many coaches in the NFL, Romeo Crennel leaves the decision to challenge plays up to his coaching team in the booth. Since they have the luxury of watching instant replays, they give Romeo the green light on which plays to challenge.

Myth #3: Romeo Crennel isn't fiery enough!

False. During Shaun Smith's weekly appearance on The Browns' Redzone, he clarified this misconception. Smith said Romeo Crennel often yells behind closed doors in addition to lecturing along the sidelines on gameday. Since the cameras are primarily focused on the game action, it is impossible to monitor Romeo's demeanor throughout the course of the game. Browns Beat Reporter Mary Kay Cabot also agreed - professing she too has noticed Crennel verbally reprimand players. Smith said since fans only see Crennel on a limited basis, they have developed a misconception about not only him as a coach, but how he handles players in general.

Cleveland Browns fans have been tormented for the past 20 years with bad football. After a surprise 2007 season, the need for instant gratification is at an all-time high. Due to extenuating circumstances, it may fair to write the season off and give Romeo Crennel a fair shot at redemption with the players and scheme he and Phil Savage put in place.
Category: NFL

Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2008 3:34 pm

Romeo Must...Stay?

A head coach has other responsibilities, and Crennel has proven capable in those areas.

Care to share just 1 of them?

The argument on discipline is a two-way street. While the coaches bear responsibility for the team, the onus is on the players to execute what is taught to them in practice.

When players continue to false start and jump offsides the Onus is on the coach. The staff needs to pay more attention to detail and ram it in the players head. The not going for it on 4th when it is painfully obvious that is what they need to do also falls on the HC. The calling a TO to see if he needs to challenge a call that is obviously not gonna get overturned and costing the team 2 TO falls on RAC. The inability to effectively run a 2 minute warning falls on RAC and so does keeping DA in their and watching him throw footballs like he thinks he's skipping rocks for 8 or 9 games also falls on RAC.

What more needs to be said? RAC is a horrible head coach. Just because a guy is media friendly and by all assumtions is a good guy does not mean he should have the bar lowered for him. The only continuity he will bring to us is the consistency of falling short in a close ball game. RAC sucks as HC and I don't see what anyone can possibly see in him.

Since: Jun 30, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2008 11:40 am

Romeo Must...Stay?

While public opinion is important, it should not be a deciding factor in any form of management. In a perfect world all football decisions should be made in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately things do not work this way, and the result is knee-jerk reactions to public outcry.

That's how Phil Savage kept his job in 2006.
That's how Brady Quinn found his in 2008.

What's good for the Browns is good for the fans. If Learner is concerned whether retaining Romeo Crennel sends the wrong message to the fans, we already have bigger problems than finding the right coach.

The argument on discipline is a two-way street. While the coaches bear responsibility for the team, the onus is on the players to execute what is taught to them in practice. Situations such as the two minute drill are a result of practice and can be pinned directly on the coaching staff. There is no excuse for such mismanagement.

Firing Romeo Crennel based on timeout or situational management is unjustified. A head coach has other responsibilities, and Crennel has proven capable in those areas.

Continuity is the most important element of building a successful franchise. If an organization lacks stability at the foundation, everything else around it will crumble. The Browns need to make changes after this season, but how many or the extent remains to be seen.

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: December 13, 2008 12:54 am

Romeo Must...Stay?

When looking at team initiated coaching changes in the NFL there is always one common denominator; is the team meeting expectations? While this may be unfair in certain circumstances it seems to be the way it is. While the expectations for the Browns this season were maybe set too high by the fans, media and the NFL (6 primetime games?), they haven't even been close to met. I look at the Marty Shottenheimer firing in San Diego, he was primarily let go because they couldn't get to the big dance (I know there was also a rift between him and the GM, but the "official reason" for his release was not getting the team to win the big game). If the Browns retain Romeo for next season, I think it is giving the fans the wrong message. It's sending the message that we did not think we were a playoff team this year. I know that it seems unfair to some, especially considering our brutal schedule, but that unfortunately is the way it works. Will I be upset if we decide to let Romeo go? I'll feel bad for the big guy, but I understand that this is the way the NFL works.  

Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: December 12, 2008 11:08 pm

Romeo Must...Stay?

Cheeks any head coach bears the responsibility to call the time out opportune times. Even if he does for whatever reason have some guy telling him when he needs to call a TO and that guy fails to notify RAC of that most basic thing he needs to go ahead and call the TO on his own accord. I mean if every fan in the stadium can  tell he needed to call a TO and RAC has to wait for a guy to tell him to call it that says to me he is even more under qualified for his job title than I initially thought.

Another thing when a team is as disorganized in the 2 minute warning and as undisciplined with committing stupid penalties as this team that also speaks volumes about the HC. When you get penalties because your playing aggressive you can live with that, but when you play passively and commit ridiculus penalties those are killers.

I'm sorry I know you like the guy. I'm sure he affably likeable but I'd like him much better if he were coaching in say Pittsburgh than here. He is unqualified for the job and needs to go. I hate starting over as much as you do but it is obvious that's what's gonna happen. RAC will never be a good HC so why waste another you verifying what is painfully obvious? We need to fire him and for a change make a good decision on a HC(preferably an experienced) so that we can finally build the continuity you speak of.

I also am starting to think maybe SAS is right we should start fresh at the GM spot too. Phil has brought in decent talent but I think he also has brought much more disgrace to the franchise than say even a TO has done in...well everywhere he's been. I mean this guy is supposed to a high level representative of the organization and he's out their inciting turmoil and in fighting, that's not to mention the cursing out fans in e-mail.

Since: Nov 21, 2007
Posted on: December 12, 2008 3:15 pm

Romeo Must...Stay?

Remember one thing.....romeo called a time out earlier in the year becasue he wasnt sure if wanted to challenge a play, so he used a timeout to think about!!!!!!! we lost the challenge too causing another TO.....Honestly, if I was in charge, he would have been relaesed the next a.m.    These mistakes were a staple throughout this season......RAC is stubborn and his refusal to play younger players killed this team and has hampered next seasons progress already...His mistakes this year are unforgiveable!!!!

Since: Feb 25, 2008
Posted on: December 12, 2008 11:26 am

Romeo Must...Stay?

Well Said. I would like to see Romeo get one more year. We know the offense has the talent to score. They need to produce when the chance is there. The defense had question marks coming into the season. The schedule was tough. 8 games vs. playoff teams from last season. Mistakes on the field that the coach cannot control. All the hype of what the Browns should do this season= LOCKERROOM PIN-UPS FOR OTHER TEAMS. Cheeks you're right a play here or there and we could be talking playoffs. If we keep getting new regimes every 3-4 years we will never be nothing more than a Nfl farm team. Romeo has over 35 years in the league,You don't stay around for that long if you don't know the game. Give Him One More Year.

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