I still like Romeo Crennel.
I think one day he'll make a fine NFL head coach.
I'd like to point out Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan -- both surefire Hall of Famers -- each were fired in their first stint as head coach, and each looked a little overwhelmed during those tenures.
I'd also like to point out Crennel has a similar pedigree to those two coaches: He learned under a Hall-of-Fame coach (Belichick), and like Belichick just needs a little more time to mature.
With that being said, however, Romeo must go.
And not just Romeo, but a whole heap of Browns personnel: offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, wide reciver Donte Stallworth, quarterback Derek Anderson, and a myriad of other players and coaches.
This isn't all on Romeo. He's not the one who gave Donte Stallworth the heart of the Tin Man. He's not the one who signed Derek Anderson to an absurd contract when Brady Quinn had the pedigree, talent and right price tag to run this team. He's not the one dropping passes, like Braylon Edwards, or missing tackle after tackle, like the entire defense.
But he certainly has his shortcomings. He has worse time management skills than Rip Van Winkle. And furthermore, there's been constant turmoil (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3693966) in the locker room this season, which falls on him.
Don't get me wrong: Every team has turmoil -- that's what happens when 55 guys from different backgrounds and upbringings play on one team. But good teams handle those spats inside the locker room, not in public.
But whether it's Kellen Winslow unhappy with management, or players "quitting" during a game, the Browns' foils have played out in the public forum this year. And these things only bring detriment and distraction to the team, which already had to play nearly perfect to compete in the very tough AFC.
So while I think Romeo Crennel will be a great head football coach in the future, I think now's the time to part ways.
I think the Browns still have a bright future. Phil Savage has a strong track record despite some recent missteps. He basically drafted the entire Super Bowl team in Baltimore, including Ray Lewis, Chris McAlister, Jamal Lewis, Ed Reed, Adalius Thomas, Todd Heap and other Pro Bowlers.
I think he did well landing Brady Quinn and Joe Thomas in the same draft. I think if you look at his whole body of work, he's worth keeping around.
But I also think the Browns need to pursue someone with a proven track record for their head coach, someone who will bring instant credibility to the locker room. Forget these hot-shot, up-and-coming coordinators that are a dime a dozen every year. Pursue Bill Cowher. Pursue Mike Holmgren. Pursue Rex Ryan, who always has one of the five best defenses in the NFL.
But whatever Cleveland does, Romeo must go. Derek Anderson must go, too. The Browns are in a 3rd-and-22, with no play in the playbook to recover. They need to punt, and just move on to the next chapter.