Posted on: November 25, 2008 3:36 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2008 3:58 pm
Cleveland Browns owner Randy Learner addressed some of his concerns regarding Phil Savage, Romeo Crennel, and the state of the team.
Learner said many interesting things - some good and some bad. Here are his statements and the possible implications behind their meanings...
Learner: "I will take issues and concerns and criticisms very seriously and think them through and evaluate them in January."
Analysis: Whose issues, concerns and criticisms is Learner referring to? The fans. Randy Learner cares deeply what the fans think. Learner isn't dumb. He is in the business of making money, and the Cleveland Browns fans are the ones that fuel that engine. All issues relating to the Browns will be dealt with in January, so Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage will keep their jobs until the season is over.
Learner: "I think that Phil recruits as aggressively as anybody could ask a guy to do and as thoroughly as anybody could ask a guy to do. I think we've been a beneficiary of those skills and that determination and commitment."
Analysis: Phil Savage's job will most likely be secure at the end of the season. Learner expressed his understanding of Savage's tremendous hard work and attributes as a general manager. Savage has done a good job putting this team together, and Learner's compliment seems to indicate Savage is not part of the problem. The use of the word "commitment" is key in suggesting the Browns will retain Phil Savage.
Learner: "I care about the team."
Analysis: "I care about the money."
Learner: "When I reflect on that concern and criticism, it's a byproduct of the management approach I've chosen. If you're going to give people authority and hold them responsible and ultimately accountable for their performance, you've got to get out of the way. Especially when they have unique skills you don't have like picking players and coaching."
Analysis: We are fortunate as Browns fans to have an owner who understands exactly what his role is in the organization. Learner is right - he doesn't have the unique skills of picking players or coaching the team. Leaving the football to the football people is exactly what the owner of any NFL team should do. Learner's reference to accountability of performance is a direct shot at Romeo Crennel. Unlike Savage, Crennel's performance is measured by something as tangible as a win/loss record. As many have already imagined, Romeo Crennel is in deep trouble.
Learner: I'm not prepared to throw in the towel at 46 and suggest I can't get the job done. On the other hand, I don't want to live in some delusional bubble somewhere."
Analysis: Learner will continue to do his best to bring a championship to the Browns. The team isn't going anywhere. The reference to the delusional bubble means Learner has an idea of what's being said about his football team as well as his approach as a "hands off" owner.
Learner: Sunday's home loss to the Texans was "sickening"
Analysis: Yikes! That's certainly a strong choice of words for such an anemic offensive output. Learner could be referencing Crennel's decision to bench Brady Quinn and play Derek Anderson in the fourth quarter. There has been speculation Learner has always liked Quinn - and played a role in Quinn's promotion as a starter. If this is the case, Romeo Crennel may be already be gone.
Learner: "What happened? How do you go 10-6, play good football, have the NFL generally excited, get six prime-time appearances...how does that happen and you struggle this way?"
Analysis: Randy Learner has the football intelligence of a casual fan. He is only able see the result of what has happened, and most likely will make decisions based off that. From his point of view it's easy to understand where he's coming from. The Browns won 10 games, improved along the defensive line (which he can clearly see with Shaun Rogers' play), and seemed likely to improve once more. What Learner does not understand is the Browns played a soft schedule last year, fell victim to injuries, and played a significantly more difficult schedule this year.
Learner expressed concern with the credibility issues that arose from the e-mail and Winslow situations, as well as the organization's image on a national scale.
Analysis: Randy cares about public perception more than anything else. His previous comment about the NFL being "generally excited" and getting "six prime-time appearances" reaffirm that. Public opinion and perception indicated the Browns should start Brady Quinn and look what happened. Now, public perception states the Browns should fire Savage and Crennel. Sadly, I can already see whom Learner may target...
I'm glad Randy Learner spoke up regarding the state of his franchise. While I disagree with some of the sentiment he echoed, I do appreciate him being forthright with the media. If I had to make a prediction on what this means for Browns' management, I'd imagine...
Phil Savage has a 70% chance of staying in 2009.
Romeo Crennel has an 15% chance of staying in 2009.
...and for what it's worth, Bill Cowher has a 30% chance of coming to the Browns in 2009.
Posted on: November 9, 2008 8:00 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2008 5:52 pm
My Fellow Browns fans,
Over the past few weeks, there has been a growing sentiment within this fanbase to see Coach Crennel fired and replaced by former Steelers' coach Bill Cowher. This pro-Cowher movement is not only detrimental to the team, but it is degrading to our organization and needs to stop now.
There are two sides to this fundamentally flawed idea: Cowher must come and Romeo must go. In order to fully address the matter, I will attempt to explain the flawed logic running through both sides of the argument.
Romeo Must Go
As with any underachieving team, the head coach is the first person considered in the evaluation process. The 3-6 Browns failed to live up to this year's lofty expectations, and Crennel Bears the brunt of the responsibility for that. The NFL is all about production, and it's hard to justify retaining a coach who has been unsuccessful in 3 of the last 4 years. Despite what statistics and percentages say, they undoubtedly fail to tell the whole story about Romeo Crennel.
Romeo Crennel is a great head coach. His players believe in him and he has proven capable in getting the most out of this group. Fans have criticized Crennel for lacking passion and a "fiery disposition." If the Browns can remain as competitive as they have in recent weeks, I'll gladly take Crennel's stoic approach to any other coaches' method of motivation.
Along with Crennel's consistent approach, what the Cleveland Browns need at this critical stage of their development is continuity. With a promising young quarterback accompanied by a talented young defense, it becomes necessary to maintain the same group of coaches together to expediate growth at all positions. Changing schemes is taxing - especially on young players struggling to learn the system. By keeping the head coach in place, the Browns would subsequently keep their assistent and position coaches in place - maintaining the continuity so vital to the development of young talent.
Cowher Must Come
My appeal is one of pride and respect. Bringing in a coach who is the embodiment of all things Pittsburgh is the absolute last thing you want to see for the Cleveland Browns. How would it look on our organization if we turn to our most hated rival to become the face of this franchise? Additionally, how much pride would Browns' have in their team seeing Cowher schmooze it up with Steelers any time the two teams play?
Contrary to most, I have pride in this history and tradition of the Browns' franchise. The way Cowher came to be what he is was through years as the head coach in Pittsburgh. Coaches and players have had time to fine-tune their technique and knowledge within a system, and that is what made the Steelers into what they are today. For the Browns, it is necessary to have that same level of stability to keep this franchise heading in the right direction.
There are ramifications of Cowher coming to Cleveland. Offensive coach Rob Chudzinski is one of the most highly regarded young offensive minds in the NFL. Last year Chudzinski interviewed and turned down an offer from Baltimore to take over as head coach. With at least 4 coaching openings in the National Football League, it would put a tremendous amount of strain on Chudzinski - who certainly would be able to find a situation to his liking. Retaining Crennel would likely keep Chudzinski with the Browns - as the situation would be similar to what kept him here in the first place.
A plane uses 70% of its fuel while taking off. After years lying in a dormant state, the runway has cleared and this team is finally ready to take flight. It took a long time to get here, so why stop the plane and change pilots now ? The system is in place. The talent is there. The coaches are ready. All the Browns need to do is maintain their composure, finish the rest of this season, and get ready for an exciting ride in 2009.
Posted on: September 9, 2008 9:16 pm
Why I Hate the Pittsburgh Steelers
In honor of Steelers Week, I've decided to give a little insight as to exactly why I absolutely hate the Steelers and everything they stand for. There are so many reasons, that boiling it down to ten is difficult, but I've done my best. Here we go...
Number 10 - The Jaw
This man...this man really gets me. That smug smile of his, the arrogant way he went about business, gah! Bill Cower is the embodiment of all things Steeler. You know once... just once did I want to see the Brownies put this guy in his place. Back in Cowher's day - all those Pittsburgh teams did was pound the ball. They won by being physical and for that - Steeler fans felt like they had a very dominating team. Of course they used that opportunity to condescend us Browns for not being as 'physical', which sadly happened to be true. Cowher would use that power running game to milk the clock - relishing in every moment of this slow methodical torture. Thank you Bill Cowher - the mental anguish you and your darn Steelers inflicted upon me as a child make me hate you that much more.
Number 9 - Double Yoi!
As an aspiring journalist, I have the utmost respect for the career and lasting legacy of Myron Cope. However as a Browns fan, the man's broken English and nonsensical remarks were some of the most annoying aspects of past Steelers football. What the heck does "double yoi" even mean?!? You couldn't understand what the man said - and his biased broadcasting style along with the homerish commentary polluted our radio stations bye week after bye week. Cope is a legend - though he chose the wrong team to support which landed him on here on my list.
Number 8 - "It's all in the family"
Back in the day - when I was a wee Brown, Papacheeks took me to see a Browns' game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. The experience itself was awesome - seeing all the energized Browns in the stands cheering for the home team. Everybody looked so happy back then... until the game started. What I do remember about that particular game was that the Steelers completely dismantled us. Everyone went from smiles and cheers to frowns and boos. The team from Pittsburgh brought so much grief onto all those in the stadium that day that they had to be evil. How could one team bring so much sadness to our loyal and happy fans?
Number 7: Syringes behind the Curtain
The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s cheated. That's not to say the Browns or any other team of that era didn't, but the Steelers cheated better than anyone else. I hate the Steelers because their beloved history and Super Bowl rings came during a time in NFL football where players used performance enhancement drugs. All of their glorified heroes and legends took it in the butt - yet we still hold Franco, Lambert, and Green in such high regard. (As reference - Otto Graham isn't even mentioned with other great QBs) Moreover, the Steelers boast their 5 Super Bowl victories, and are widely acclaimed for being one of the more reputable franchises in history. The Browns hold 8 League Championships, yet many still consider them "The Mistake by the Lake."
Number 6: "My steel rod will never bend."
Steely McBeam. Wow. Honestly, I never thought that a mascot could be more obnoxious than an organization - but I was wrong. Is this some kind of sick joke? What kind of twisted audience is Steely McBeam even appealing to? His protruding chin, cheesy smile, and that gimmick steel-worker costume make me hate this franchise even more. NFL teams do not need mascots - and McBeam proves that statement right in every single way.
Number 5: $108 Million Undeserved Dollars
Things came too easy for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Shortly after he was drafted, Big Ben "lead" Pittsburgh to the AFC Championship game. The year after, he "won" the Super Bowl and became the youngest quarterback ever to "lead" his team to the Super Bowl. The Steelers eventually rolled huge barrels of cash at the man - and declared him their franchise quarterback. As a Browns' fan, you have to understand my jealously here. Franchise quarterbacks are supposed to take years to find :( Making the transition or passing the touch isn't supposed to be as seamless as the Steelers made it. Ben's a good QB, but anyone the Browns use as comparison will never have the immediate success and accolades as Roethlisberger did.
Number 4: The Reason I Will Never Watch Fox Sports
Arguably the most hated Steeler of all-time, Terry Bradshaw is in a class of his own. Fortunately I never had the chance to watch any of his games on a first-hand basis - but from what I hear the man is pure steel evil. The most recent incarnation of this Bradshaw appears on the FOX Sports NFL pre-game show. This version of Terrible Terry provides enough for me to realize how big a jerk he must of been in his day. His game analysis is slanted, his mock hair piece - disgusting, and his honestly I find his homeristic commentary to a national audience sickening. The only good BADshaw has provided me with was that beautiful, marvelous, erotic, sensational, wonderful, glorious play in 1976 where Turkey Jones masterfully suplexed Bradshaw - drilling him head-first into solid ground.
Number 3: Steeler Fans
I say this with caution, because I have met some Steelers fans here on Sportsline that turn out to be decent people. On an individual basis, I suppose some of them are okay, but as a group - forgettaboutit. Pittsburgh Steelers fans' are the football equivalent to baseball's Boston Red Sox fans. They flood your stadium (wherever you are), talk trash the entire game, and then go back home only to do it again the next time the teams meet. There's something slightly different about Steeler fans though, which will be revealed on this list in a couple spots. Going back to the Steeler fans traveling well, it doesn't stop at football games. Even here, in the middle of Ohio, there are hundreds of people clad in the world's most obnoxious colors - walking around campus just to irritate the heavily Browns/Bengals crowd. Disgusting.
Number 2: Make it Stop! Make it Stop! Make it Stop!
Since the turn of the new millennium, the Steelers are 15-2 against the Browns - having won a series' record 9 games in a row. Go back 10 more years to 1990 and the Steelers are 25-7 against us. TWENTY-FIVE AND FREAKING SEVEN! This is madness! I can only take so much abuse and punishment for goodness sake! Browns fans can only live in the past for so long. A season or so ago, I remember Joey Porter coming out and saying that "Browns/Steelers isn't a rivalry anymore." Isn't a rivalry - are you kidding me?!? It's almost to the point where people are ashamed of being Browns' fans in context of Steelers. The last time the Browns made a statement in the rivalry was September 10th, 1989 - where the Browns won in Pittsburgh 51-0. I was two years old. This generation of Browns fans has nothing to hang our hats on - and as a result have lost some of the pride that made this competition what it is.
Number 1: The Terrible Towel
He ran ninety -three
Like a bat out of hell
And no one could see
How he rambled so well
"it was easy," said Andy
And he flashed a crooked smile
"I was snapped on the fanny
By the Terrible Towel!"
It is this crowned piece of trash that infuriates me more than anything else about the Pittsburgh Steelers. Whether it's at Cleveland Browns Stadium, Ketchup Field, or any other place in the NFL - this cheap gimmick is the flagship symbol of the entire Evil Empire. Wherever the Steelers go - so do Steelers fans, and Steelers fan travel with these "poo-poo rags" with them - stinking up any stadium with the misfortune of hosting them.
On a family vacation to Baltimore, we had the unfortunate experience of stopping in Pittsburgh. After navigating through that backwards city, we came across a shop that sold those terrible Towels. I bought one in hopes of burning it once the Browns beat the Steelers.
THAT WAS NEARLY 5 YEARS AGO!
I don't know what else to say. The bottom line is the Cleveland Browns need to end this humiliation at the hands of our arrogant rivals. Winning 10 games in a row is unprecedented, and would put a black mark on Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel's entire operation. It's about time to win a game. With the nation focusing on us, we need a strong showing from everyone just to save face.