Derek Anderson, Romeo Crennel Need to Go

Scott MilesSenior Analyst IOctober 20, 2008

Let’s cut to the chase: Derek Anderson needs to be benched, Romeo Crennel needs to be fired, and Phil Savage needs a wake-up call.

In Sunday’s 14-11 loss at Washington, Anderson put forth one of the most pitiful performances of a starting NFL quarterback that I can recall. Yes, Braylon Edwards dropping some passes and some questionable play calls hurt him.

But you HAVE to complete a short swing pass to your running back. You CAN’T fire a screen pass 10 feet behind your wide receiver. You CAN’T continue to leave your receivers out to dry, like he did with Josh Cribbs, throwing to him late and setting him up to get drilled. (It was Kellen Winslow several weeks ago when Ray Lewis nearly decapitated him.)

At one point, Anderson had completed 5-of-22 passes. Most of the incompletions weren’t even close to his intended receiver. The Plain Dealer pointed out that Anderson threw eight passes to Winslow, and only one was completed. The other seven weren’t in the same hemisphere.

The biggest thing that concerns me is that the chemistry and rhythm Anderson and Edwards had last year has evaporated. The two aren’t on the same page, the same book, or even in the same library. Anderson’s final poor throw, when he couldn’t connect with Edwards around the Redskins’ 10-yard line, cost us a shot to send the game to overtime, if not to take an outright lead.

A lot of fans were ready to run Anderson out of town following his poor showings down the stretch of last season. I thought he was ready to take the next step forward, as last year essentially served as his rookie year, his first real chance to play.

But now that we’re seven weeks and six games into the 2008 season, it has become clear that Anderson never progressed.

After a nearly flawless performance against the defending Super Bowl champions, he never looked confident once just six days later. If anything, a quarterback needs to be confident in his abilities, that he can and will go out and complete that next pass.

You don’t get that sense from Anderson. That’s disconcerting, and that’s why Brady Quinn should start this week. It can’t get any worse, right?

Now, for Romeo Crennel…

I can honestly say that he might be the worst coach in any league right now. I’m talking NFL, CFL, AFL—if there were a professional football league in Antarctica, I’d put my money on the penguins being able to out-coach him.

How many more dumb penalties must this team commit? How many more timeouts will we waste with the plays not coming in on time? Those are signs of a team ill-prepared to play.

Then, factor in his terrible decision to go for it Sunday on a 4th-and-goal, instead of kicking a field goal, which would have made it a 14-6 (ONE POSSESSION!) game with over five minutes left. You have to get points in that situation. You absolutely, positively MUST get points.

And what happens? Anderson has his 14th pass batted down at the line of scrimmage, we turn it over on downs, and find ourselves down TWO possessions with five minutes left.

That’s just dumb. It makes no sense to me.

Crennel set the tone for the season, and the offense, in week one against Dallas by trotting out Phil Dawson on fourth-and-short to kick a field goal with the Browns trailing 28-7 in the fourth quarter. Not only did the field goal keep us down three possessions, it also belied a lack of confidence in the offense to succeed.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons wrote that he looks at Crennel on the sideline and thinks Romeo is picturing the Subway “Five Dollar Footlong” commercial.

I think Bill Simmons is correct. Not once have I looked at Crennel and thought, “Yup, this is a coach who can lead a team to a Super Bowl title.” And so, Romeo must go.

Finally, Phil Savage needs a kick in the seat of his pants.

He has made some wonderful personnel decisions and enabled the team to go 10-6 last year. He has pieced together a defense that is exceeding everyone’s expectations, and stuck to his guns in believing that Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald could be successful starters at corner this season.

But Phil, you can’t check on Winslow ONCE while he’s in the hospital? Really? Your Pro Bowl tight end, who has continually played through injury and matured since he’s gotten to the league?

You have to take care of these guys. And Winslow, battling his second staph infection, is not being taken care of. This is a serious health issue—five other Browns players have had staph infections in the past four years, including Edwards, Joe Jurevicius, and LeCharles Bentley.

Free agents aren’t going to want to sign with the Browns if they think they’re going to contract a staph infection anytime they get hurt. They also won’t want to sign with Cleveland if they don’t believe the front office is looking out for their best interests.

These are three situations that need to be rectified, and soon. The organization has already lost too much ground in 2008, and 2009 will be no different if no changes are made.