Thursday, September 11, 2008

Romeo Crennel Lost Me at "Field Goal"

Romeo Crennel is a very nice man. He is classy, up front and one of the most honest head coaches there is today. He is active in the community and a positive role model. I have always hoped that he would have success with the Browns for those reasons and many more. But he lost me when he called the field goal team onto the field for a field goal on 4th and 3 from inside the Dalls Cowboys’ 20 in a 28-7 game with 10:13 left.

That call accomplished one thing and only one thing. It made the score 28-10, nothing more, nothing less. It did not reduce the number of scores the Browns’ needed to tie the game, they still need three, two touchdowns and a field goal instead of three touchdowns. It provided no moral victory or change of momentum to the Browns’ favor. It gave them no better opportunity to win the game.

If anything it accomplished the exact opposite. It sent a message to the team, fans and especially the Cowboys that he felt the Browns could not get three yards nor win the game. It sent a message that making the score “look better” was more important than trying to win the game. Worst of all it showed that Crennel had no faith in his players to be able to compete with their opponent.

The decision to call for the field goal in that situation could only be the result of three lines of thinking:
+ Trying to minimize the margin of victory to save face
+ Lack of confidence in the team to succeed in that situation
+ Pure stupidity as it did not reduce the number of scores the team needed with little time left in the game

I am going to throw out the last possibility because I do not think Romeo Crennel is a stupid man. But because of the decision to kick the field goal in that situation I now think he is a bad head football coach. To quote Herm Edwards, “you play to win the game,” not to save face. If you don’t think your team is capable of succeeding in a situation it doesn’t excuse the fact that you should to try to win the game.

I have seen the Browns come out flat and un motivated too many times over Crennel’s tenure as head coach. I attributed some of it to the youth on the team and the time it takes to turn around a franchise. I wasn’t surprised when it happened yet again in Week 1 of 2008 versus the Cowboys, but I wasn’t happy about it either. The call to the field goal was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Romeo Crennel may be a very nice man but I no longer feel confident that the Browns will have any sort of sustained success during his tenure as head coach. Maybe he will see the error of his ways. Maybe he will improve and learn from his mistakes, but it has been four years and the same trends keep appearing. I can not say that I see that happening.
I, and every Browns fan, hope he proves me wrong. But until that happens, I for one will be praying that Randy Lerner takes a Brinks truck town to North Carolina and lures Bill Cowher out of retirement no matter what the cost.

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