Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Weak, Very Weak

There's a right way and a wrong way to do most anything. There's also the Cleveland Browns way, which is often somewhere between the two.

We can't say, for example, that it was wrong for Head Coach Romeo Crennel, ostensibly the leader and public face of the Browns, to take responsibility for Carthon's departure. But what didn't make it quite right was the fact that it ding ring particularly true nor did it make much sense.

At Crennel's press conference yesterday, he insisted that Maurice Carthon had, ahem, resigned. Crennel claimed that Carthon came forward, offered his resignation and that Crennel decided "to do what I thought was best for the Browns and the Browns organization, I decided to accept his resignation."

The reason it doesn't ring true is the same reason it doesn't make sense. And if we're wrong on both counts, then Crennel unintentionally revealed exactly why his own days are numbered. If Crennel really felt it was in the best interest of the Browns and their organization to let Carthon quit, why would it not have been in those same best interests to fire Crennel two weeks ago? The more likely view is that it played out just as Jim Donovan, who officially works for the Browns, reported it on Monday: Owner Randy Lerner and General Manager Phil Savage forced Crennel's hand.

Yesterday's press conference was about making Crennel look like a leader and in that, the Browns failed miserably. If Crennel's story is actually true, it makes him look indecisive and unable to pull a trigger on a gun that was cocked weeks ago. But if Crennel's story is not true (and that's where the smart money is), he looks ridiculous trying to spin a story with more holes in it than the offensive line. But in either case, the impact on the fans and the Browns is the same: Crennel looks less like a head coach today than at any point in his short tenure and that can't be good news.

The other reason that Crennel looks weak in all of this is that in turning over Carthon's old job to Jeff Davidson, Crennel also announced that Davidson will be calling the plays. In other words, Crennel's one week foray into paying attention to the offensive is over. In other words, Crennel knew he had a serious problem with Carthon but deliberately chose not to meaningfully address it until still another game and another week was lost.

Crennel cannot possibly survive the mess he's created. The only real question is whether Savage will find a legitimate head coach or again roll the dice on another life long assistant. Given the Browns history in that regard, the choice should be easy.

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