View Full Version : Browns owner puts Crennel, Savage on notice

11-25-2008, 10:38 PM
In rare interview, Lerner says he's committed to having winning franchise
Associated Press

Updated: November 25, 2008, 5:17 PM ET

BEREA, Ohio -- Sickened by the latest home loss in a soap opera-like season sliding away, Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner insisted he is as committed as ever to winning.

Sweeping change could be ahead for his disappointing-yet-talented team, but Lerner will wait until January before deciding on the future of coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Phil Savage.

During a rare interview Tuesday, the intensely private Lerner addressed a wide-range of topics, but steered clear of specific questions about Crennel or Savage, who are under fire with the Browns at 4-7 and out of the playoff picture one season after winning 10 games and sending six players to the Pro Bowl.

Lerner said he has not yet decided whether he'll bring back Crennel or Savage, whom he hired within a month in 2005.

The Browns are just 24-35 since their arrival and have yet to make the postseason. This season began with playoff expectations, but has disintegrated amid a series of embarrassing off-the-field distractions including tight end Kellen Winslow's disagreement with the club over his hospitalization for a staph infection and Savage's profane e-mail to a fan.

"I will take issues and concerns and criticisms very seriously and think through them and evaluate them in January," said Lerner, as puzzled as anyone by the Browns' dramatic dropoff. "That is at the core of the analysis. What happened? How do you go 10-6, play good football, have the NFL generally excited, get six prime-time appearances.

"How does all that happen and you struggle this way?"

Lerner rewarded Savage and Crennel with lucrative contract extensions following last season. However, he said financial considerations will have no bearing on their fates.

He also said the Browns have made no contact with former Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher, expected to be coveted by several NFL teams this winter.

Lerner was asked to describe his feelings as he watched thousands of fans pour out of Browns Stadium on Sunday in the final minutes of a 16-6 loss to Houston -- Cleveland's third defeat at home.

"Sickening," he said.

Lerner continually fended off questions about his plans for Crennel and Savage. But while he was careful not to criticize them, he didn't offer any endorsements either. He did vaguely outline his criteria for evaluating his GM, who was forced to apologize to a fan last week for the e-mail containing an expletive following Cleveland's game at Buffalo.

"You weigh strengths and weaknesses," he said. "I think that Phil recruits as aggressively as anybody could ever ask a guy to do and as thoroughly as anyone could ask a guy to do. I think we've been a beneficiary of those skills and that determination and commitment."

Lerner was troubled by the e-mail situation, but said he understands Savage's frustration at the Browns' startling fall after just missing the playoffs in 2007.

"I was embarrassed, probably not unlike Phil was embarrassed," Lerner said.

Savage hasn't always appeared comfortable in his role as Cleveland's top football executive. The former player personnel director in Baltimore is often on the road scouting college players and not at the Browns' facility to handle day-to-day administrative duties. Lerner was asked if Savage can handle the diversified job.

"I think you've got to cut the guy some slack," Lerner said. "I do think he is capable of doing his job."

Like his GM, the 46-year-old Lerner has been criticized for not seeming more involved with the daily operations of his franchise, which he inherited following his father's death in 2003. Lerner also owns Aston Villa of the English Premier League, leaving some to wonder about his loyalties.

"I feel fully engaged. I care totally about the team," said Lerner, who acknowledged his reclusiveness as a shortcoming. "When I reflect on that concern and criticism, it's probably 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."

Lerner has no plans to sell the franchise and denied a rumor he has been approached about a possible deal.

Fans can scream all they want. Lerner isn't leaving.

"It's a privilege beyond belief to be involved with a football team, especially your home town team and I'm not prepared to throw in the towel at 46 and suggest I can't get the job done," he said. "On the other hand, I don't want to live in some delusional bubble somewhere."

Lerner, too, has been faulted for not being able to hire the right people to run his team. It's a charge he dismissed by pointing to last season's successes.

"There are signs we've hired the right people without question," he said. "You go 10-6 and have six Pro Bowlers, you have signs of having the right people. However, I'll need to answer it in greater detail at the end of the season."

One of Lerner's biggest regrets during his tenure has been the Browns inability to establish an identity, something their rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, have had for decades.

"I find that very frustrating," Lerner said. "The Steelers from the 1930s to the 70s, maybe there wasn't much of an identity. But coach and group of players show up, memorable plays are made and a myth is born, a legend is born and an identity is born. The Rooneys were able to parlay that into another administration under Bill Cowher and kept it together for [37 years] with two coaches. I'm very envious of that."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

Well, Lerner, we've now kept it together for 39 years under 3 coaches, since Tomlin has re-established our identity as a team that can bash the Browns at will for a new generation. You have had 3 coaches since you returned to the league in 1999 after your 3 best seasons of 1996, 1997, and 1998 when Cleveland was mercifully out of football (actually, you could say 4 coaches if you count interim coach Terry Robiskie and 5 if you count whoever you plan to replace Jabba with next season).

11-25-2008, 11:24 PM
here comes Cowah

11-25-2008, 11:31 PM
Chadman has a theory on why the Browns have collapsed this season....

You build a 'team' through the draft- you get young, impressionable players that come in & learn the team's 'style' & their 'core beliefs'. They learn the in's & out's of the franchise & it's expectations. They develop a certain amount of love for the club- they become part of it's culture- something you learn, not buy.

The Browns were successful last year. This off season, they splashed big on FA's & trades for big name players from other teams.

They had a very small draft class.

The new FA's/trade aquired players have developed their own 'core beliefs' & 'culture' at other clubs. They come now to a team on the rise, a team developing it's own style, and because they already have a 'style' implemented from their previous clubs, they don't quite fit in. Being a "Brown' doesn't mean as much as it does to the rookie. So they are not playing quite as devoted to this franchise as say, the first year rookie.

The feel around the locker room changes.

The belief they gained last year slips a little.

A franchise that consistantly fails starts to doubt itself again.

And here you are at 4-7.

They should have built on last years success with a couple of FA's & drafted a bunch of good young players. Instead they chose to go all out & bring in guys that are after a fat paycheck.

This is why the Steelers CONSISTANTLY succeed.

They don't dive into FA & build through cash. They are smart- they promote one thing that can't be bought- a sense of belonging that can only come from being a part of something from the beginning of your learning process.

Chadman bets that 90% of players have a 'special something' for the team that drafted them.

You play harder & more committed if you have invested a part of your soul into the cause.

The Browns forgot that.

Bill Cowher would be the best thing that franchise could ever do.....but they'll blow it somehow.

stlrz d
11-25-2008, 11:58 PM
here comes Cowah

Whaddya wanna bet?

11-26-2008, 12:56 AM
(finger) Breaking News:

Sources: Quinn to miss rest of season

by Jay Glazer

Updated: November 25, 2008, 10:05 PM EST

There will be no more quarterback controversy in Cleveland this season.

Browns quarterback Brady Quinn is done for the year after doctors revealed that the break to his right index finger has gotten worse since he's tried to play through the injury, sources told FOXSports.com.

Team sources said that Quinn and the team made the decision together earlier today. Sources say that not only has the break in his right index finger worsened, but it is also starting to injure the tendons as well.

Derek Anderson will return as starter. Quinn met with renowned doctor James Andrews and the Browns brought in specialists as well.

A team source said that all agreed that Quinn needed to shut it down before the tendons tore from the bone.

stlrz d
11-26-2008, 08:35 AM
He should get a second opinion from Dr. Vinny Boom Bas. :D