Ah Thanksgiving, the holiday where we all sit back, enjoy some food, and reflect on what we're thankful for.
Me, I'm thankful the Browns don't play on Thanksgiving day, so I don't have to worry about keeping that food down. I'm thankful that, with five weeks left in the season, I'm not required to devote full attention and energy to whatever kind of inconsistency and ineptitude is put on display every Sunday by this team.
And I'm certainly thankful that, with Brady Quinn officially out for the season, the planning for another next year can begin now.
The big announcement in Cleveland yesterday was Brady Quinn being sidelined for the rest of the year because of too much damage done to his finger.
However, even bigger was the statement made by coach Romeo Crennel saying Quinn would be the starter heading into 2009.
This leaves many fans wondering, since we know who's going to start behind the center, who else will be on the Berea practice field when camp begins next summer?
Here are a few names who, if they aren't officially on the way out, need to be on the hot seat...
We'll start with the no-brainer. He's gone, and last Sunday had to ice it.
The update on the damage of Quinn's finger would've added some sense to Crennel pulling him midway through the third quarter of the Texans game...had that been the sole reason the move was made. But the truth is Crennel pulled Quinn to "provide a spark."
I may be mistaken, but wasn't this the exact same reasoning he used when claiming why Quinn was made the starter in the first place? Just exactly how many "sparks" does Crennel plan to create with this "now you're in, now you're not" routine?
This recent display of how not to coach is sure to be the icing on Crennel's going-away cake, the rest of which includes terrible clock management and his oh-so-famous "I don't care what the score is, we're in field goal range, kick it," habit.
The only downside to Crennel's inevitable ousting is the fact that the players love him and play for him. Granted, a 4-7 record after easily the most embarrassing game of the season doesn't scream, "WE LOVE YOU COACH," but having a coach the players like is a good piece to a team.
But the players also need to realize this is a business, and people are paying to see you play for this coach, and we're not getting much reward for our dollar. If you claim you're going to play hard for the head coach, you have to understand that we expect you to, if not win, at least make it look like you're trying. And this is not what we're getting.
I can only hope the Browns scrap the first-year coach routine, as we need someone who has been there before and can utilize our talent, and Crennel is certainly not that man.
Earlier in the year, Savage brought in free-agent after free-agent and was being lauded as one of the best GM's in the league.
Then Kellen Winslow got staph infection and Savage never talked to him. Then he cursed out a fan in an email. And he gave a total of about 38-seconds combined when it came to addressing the media about these situations.
If the f-bomb email didn't seal Savage's fate, it certainly put him on notice. And why not? How can you expect to curse out a fan and not wonder, "Hm, you think this guy will make a big deal out of that?"
This and the Winslow controversy show how Savage may be in the wrong position. I appreciate his desire to try and find the right talent for this team, but these ordeals make the Browns organization look like a joke (as if it needed more fuel for that fire). How can you not check in on one of your most talented players when every sports-news source in the country is talking about how he is in the hospital? How hard is it to pick up the phone for a simple, "Hey Kellen, doin' alright?"
Along with this, Savage has been more reclusive than owner Randy Lerner this season, going off on scouting trips while his team endures week after week of poor play and locker room issues. A GM has to be there to answer questions about his team, especially in a season when there are plenty to be asked.
Instead, Savage hides, popping his head in once to say "my bad" about the Winslow situation, then forcing Crennel to handle the media in dealing with the email issue. While I'm not a fan of Crennel's coaching, making him handle the heat for one of the biggest bonehead moves in GM history is just cold.
What's sad is how easily these issues could've been avoided. Imagine how much less controversy we'd have if Savage checked up on his tight end and just ignored angry emails.
But no, that's not how it went, and I think Savage should head out because his mental slips are bringing more shame to the organization (I was going to put a curse word in there, but I deleted it...see how simple that was).
Speaking of "once good, now bad" issues with the team, what in the world happened to Chudzinski?
Last year, the Browns offense was ranked in the top ten, and while we were playing bad teams, there was still reason to believe in Chud's ability to run a team. Heck, he was being considered a potential head coaching candidate throughout the NFL before resigning with the Browns.
Now, one game of offensive dominance is followed by poor play-calling, lack of creativity, and a very angry Jamal Lewis.
Where did it all go wrong? I can't even to begin to explain the details behind this head-scratcher. Apparently, Chudzinski spent all last week working on the running game in order to attack Houston's defense on the ground. This, of course, explains why Lewis only received ten carries, even though he averaged over five yards-per-carry and was looking great.
See Chud, what happens is, when a team is preparing to play you, they study your game film to see what your tendencies are. And the appropriate response is to adjust the game plan so they can't figure out the schemes, not just go with the flow and beat a dead horse with the same old plays.
Chudzinski has the weapons needed for success, he just doesn't know what to do with them. If he had a loaded gun, he'd probably try to stab someone with it.
During Quinn's first game, the plan seemed perfect for his quarterback style; short routes, screens, and utilizing the tight ends. Against Buffalo and Houston, the game-plans just seemed confused and mismanaged. Some good plays would be called (and would work), followed by a series of play-calls that had to have been labeled "How to Go Three-and-Out."
Another issue is how certain players are eliminated from the game-plan when they shouldn't be. How long did it take for Winslow to finally get more than three looks? And I know Donte' Stallworth has been unreliable due to injuries, but when he is on the field, it seems like Chudzinski has something against him. Stallworth is lucky to have one pass thrown over his head and out of bounds, because other than that he's our token eleventh man. Yes, he gets injured a lot, but he's someone you have to utilize when he's on the field. He does have some talent, we just never see it.
After this season, anything that can be remotely referred to as "inconsistant" needs to be dealt with, and Chud is certainly under that category. We need to find an offensive coordinator who knows how to use the talent which is presented to him, and for some odd reason, Chudzinski can't do that anymore.
I'm still not positive on this one since the defensive issues seem to be more talent-based (and by talent I mean a severe lack of).
One thing that bugs me though is how Tucker struggles to use the talent he does have (am I getting repetitive?). Despite slumping numbers, Kamerion Wimbley is good. However, he's rarely sent in to blitz. Instead, Tucker uses Wimbley's speed by having him work in coverage schemes, with blitzes happening once or twice a game. The result of this is just one interception in eleven games (of course, this shouldn't really count since it was a tipped ball that was gift-wrapped to the point that Phil Dawson could've picked it off).
Tucker also puts the wrong people in the wrong positions. Slow linebackers Andra Davis and Willie McGinest are in way too much, and their lack of speed is obvious to everyone, especially the opposing offense. And when there's no pass rush because of this, his young and inexperienced secondary gets burned when they have to cover receivers who have enough time to run eight different routes.
Again, this may be a mix of both poor decision making and lack of talent, but I still think this is a position that needs to be looked at as well.
Either way, expect a lot of overhaul this offseason for the Browns. And if there isn't, expect a drop in game attendance and a chorus of boos when Crennel waltzes out of the Berea training complex next summer.