My fellow Brownies,
Its seems like just yesterday doesn't it? 1999, and our beloved Browns were coming back to town! We were elated, we pulled out all of our old Browns garb, bought up all of the new Browns garb, and were high-fiving complete strangers in the street in celebration to Cleveland's rightful and most deserved return to the National Football League.
It was a new beginning, a new future, and new ownership, free from the frugal stylings of Art "Plan B Free Agent" Modell. So much promise and optimism abound the city.
Fast-forward 10 years...and its back to the same old same old for this city, and this organization. Granted, this team spends money, I will give Randy Lerner that much. This team goes out and dumps money into free agent players like the Cleveland Browns are a glorified wasteland.
But still, the results are the same, losses. Loss after loss, week after week, year after year. "Wait Til Next Year", "Next year is our year!" Well, this columnist is terminally ill from hearing those phrases, and the Cleveland Browns have to make changes once and for all.
Fast-forward to the 2008 Cleveland Browns football team, and this team is in the same spot it began back in 1999. They have no clue, they have no identity, and they have no leadership. Tell me I'm wrong on this Browns fan...Tell me that I'm missing the "plan" that is set for this team.
Tell me that this team has a direction they are going, that every Sunday when they go and get their backsides handed to them, they go in with a offensive and defensive philosophy. Tell me that the Cleveland Browns are a (insert offensive philosophy here), and they are going to do (blank), every Sunday to you as an opponent.
I'd be willing to bet you my life savings, ($3.78), that you couldn't give me a concrete answer. Ten years back in the NFL, and the Browns still don't have an identity.
Who's to blame? Is it the players? The ownership? The hired management including the coaching staff? I think you could easily make a case for all of these phases of this organization being at blame.
When an organization such as our Cleveland Browns is this bad, for this long, I think everyone takes a piece of the criticism. But who is at the root of the problem?
To answer that I would assert that it isn't who, but where? The front office. That is where this organization is clueless, and that is where this organization needs overhauled, and it starts with Phil Savage.
Let me start by saying I like Phil Savage. He has done some things to really try and improve this organization. And I think he has brought in a couple of tremendous young players, (Joe Thomas, Josh Cribbs), and a couple of solid free agent additions in Eric Steinbach and Shaun Rogers.
But Braylon Edwards is allergic to catching the football, Kamerion Wimbley hasn't done anything since his rookie season, opposing running backs still bank on a 100-yard effort against this Browns run defense, and this team still balls up into the fetal position every time the games on the line. This team should be past this stage of growth.
Most of my fellow Brownsbackers have placed the blame at the doorstep of Head Coach, Romeo Crennel. I would agree with you to an extent. But I would then ask you who hired him? Phil Savage. This is Phil Savage's guy, this was the man that he trusted to win with the talent that he surrounded him with, and Romeo hasn't done it.
Timeouts left on the board, field goals in the fourth quarter when you're down 17 points, a team that continuously seems to play without energy and urgency, and a defense that is incredibly been inept considering their head coach was an alleged defensive guru upon being hired.
Not to mention that pesky "team direction" question I posed earlier in this article...hmm. Oh I also forgot to mention the contract extension that Crennel got following his first and only winning season last year.
But the bottom line is that Phil Savage needs to gracefully exit Cleveland I-71, and Randy Lerner needs to make sure Romeo Crennel is with Savage for the trip. Because whether it is fair or not, Phil Savage chose to place his legacy as the General Manager in Cleveland on the coaching abilities of Romeo Crennel.
And Romeo Crennel hasn't demonstrated the ability to motivate, teach, and get the maximum potential out of the talent on this team. 23-34 and looking at another Top 10 draft pick isn't cutting it anymore in this town, and these fans deserve better.
That said, Browns fans, brace yourselves for the following statement...It's time to assess which players are a part of the future of this organization, who we're moving forward with, and then we have to start rebuilding again! Yay...another five-year plan!
Memo to the Browns' ownership from Cleveland Browns fans...
-Figure out what your identity as an organization is going to be. Pittsburgh knows it, and that's why we are their doormat on our two annual meeting every year. The New York Giants know who they are, and that's why they won a Super Bowl and continue to hammer teams week in and week out.
-Get a plan, and search for front office management that see that plan together, and are all together working toward that plan.
-It's time to bring in a PROVEN COACH, and no I don't mean an unsuccessful retread like Norv Turner. I'm talking about a proven, winner, at the NFL head coaching level.
Somebody that will grab this team by the "Browns", and provide leadership, discipline, and also believe in the direction that the front office is providing. This team needs to refocus, a new voice, and a new attitude.
-To the Cleveland Browns organization, its time to stop the excuses. Those days ended about four years after the expansion. Randy Lerner, get your organization, organized, and give this town a winner. Because these fans passion and loyalty to this team most certainly warrants it.