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An abysmal loss seals Crennel's fate, but he can't be Browns' lone fall guy, says Bud Shaw

by Bud Shaw/Plain Dealer Columnist

Sunday November 23, 2008, 7:40 PM

Brady Quinn's short leash was the decision of a coach on an even shorter one.


This was the game in general and benching Quinn the game decision in particular that dooms Romeo Crennel to follow in the faint footsteps of Chris Palmer and Butch Davis.


A half-empty stadium in the fourth quarter? Check.


Players questioning commitments so flimsy they didn't last from one series to the next? Yep.


The "runaway train" reference of the Palmer years? Crennel didn't say it in those exact words. More telling yet, he didn't really need to.





Romeo Crennel's urgent encouragement to his defense didn't stop Houston from dominating on offense throughout Sunday's game. Afterward, Crennel admitted he didn't have a grasp on whether the team would be ready from week to week.The carnage was on the scoreboard in a 16-6 loss to a Texans team that had been road kill everywhere else it traveled this season. The evidence bounced off the walls in locker room, where you expect to hear it at 4-7. But rather than squelch it, an unwitting coach admitted he doesn't know what to expect week to week in such key categories as effort and execution.

"If I knew the answer I'd definitely get it fixed," said Crennel, who, by rote, promised the Browns would stick together. Comforting, that.


The ho-hum, seen-it-before nature of another inexplicable loss at home is, in fact, what will cost Crennel his job. No one who knows him delights in that. And those who don't and have put their desires in writing -- a "Cowher09.com" banner was conspicuous in the wide open spaces of the second deck Sunday -- shouldn't kid themselves that a change will suddenly restore the organization to the prideful days of Paul Brown.


The problems here reach to higher offices than Crennel's. They go up the organizational ladder to where a miscast GM sits at the right hand of a reluctant owner. Quarterback Indecision '08 falls in lock step with other obvious mishaps.


Other than that, move along, folks. There's no dysfunction to see here.


The head coach is the one who directly affects 45 other people every Sunday, and these lackluster performances by Crennel's team condemn him in the end. Sage Rosenfels as Joe Montana? The only thing more damning than that is Kevin Walter as Jerry Rice.


The difference between Sunday and the Baltimore-Denver double barrel of gloom and doom is that Crennel lost the courage of his own convictions regarding his quarterbacks. Or he never really had any.


Did he think Quinn, who threw two interceptions, would never make a rookie mistake? What was it about Derek Anderson's work here over two seasons that suggested he could "spark" an offense out of the bullpen?


After muddying the conversation with a reference to Quinn's slightly fractured fingertip, Crennel said he made the switch in part because of Quinn's poor decisions and with the possibility of an Anderson "spark" in mind.


Quinn was understandably surprised. But he wasn't the only one.


"Well, yeah, being that he took all the snaps in practice all week and Derek didn't get any," said Jamal Lewis, who found that and so much more -- including only getting 10 carries -- confusing.


Anderson is a rhythm passer whose first quarters have more often than not been frigid affairs even in the warmest of temperatures. In a relief role, that's not exactly going to bring a sense of calm and purpose to a huddle.


All that's left now is the sense that the head coach lost more than a game Sunday.


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Been nice if RAC would have tried looking for a spark from the bench earlier in the year when DA was stinking up the joint for the uptenth time since the middle of last season, (the Cinci game to be exact).

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Apparently "Bud" forgot that DA has a bullpen come from behind win already on his resume.



Or maybe he remembered DA's past games of less then stellar performance. Live in the now, DA's chances of staying on this team next year is very very slim.

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Fixed that one for ya.


Actually Anderson will have a long and productive career as a backup, if not in Cleveland, then somewhere else. Obviously, the Browns are not going to pay him his $5 million roster bonus come March. It will be interesting to see what he can command on the open market.


Romeo has obviously lost "it" and the question can be raised if the ever had "it" in the first place. The Patriots just keep rolling along without Crennell, Weiss, Mangini, and Brady. Damn good indication who the real brains behind the operation are.


Savage ain't off the hook by a long shot. The Ravens sure don't seem to miss his scouting ability. His low round hits consist of Josh Cribbs and maybe Alex Hall. Wimbley is looking more and more like a one trick pony that's been figured out, and "Butterfingers" Braylon's case of bad hands were well documented before we ever drafted the guy. Ya, he gets credit for drafting Joe Thomas- a no brainer there, and trading up to get Quinn- but extending the totally worthless POS Andre Davis? In 20\20 hindsight, not tendering Anderson high and taking the picks is looking more and more like a major gaffe.


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