According to varying reports, it's possible that Crennel may return next season as the defensive coordinator, whereas Savage might return in a scouting capacity. The fact that either could possibly return in any capacity evidences the problem with current Brown leadership. Cleaning house requires removing the "dirt." Hiding our dust under the rug doesn't solve anything - the problems caused by their lack of capabilities remain.
I know Crennel was supposedly a defensive mastermind while with the Patriots. But look at the Browns defense under his leadership:
- In 2005, the Browns were 16th in yds allowed per game and 11th in pts allowed.
- In 2006, the Browns were 27th in yds allowed per game and 22nd in pts allowed.
- In 2007, the Browns were 30th in yds allowed per game and 21st in pts allowed.
- This season, before the Steelers game, the Browns were 26th in yds allowed per game and 14t in pts allowed.
Now, moving Savage into a scouting position would make some sense if I thought for a moment that he would accept such a reduced role. Let's face it, GMs all have egos - large ones. They control a team's destiny, and in the end, believe that they know what's the best course for success. As stated in the ESPN article, "Savage has said that power is the reason he came to Cleveland three years ago from Baltimore, where he was the Ravens' director of player personnel." I don't think Savage would be able or willing to swallow his pride, sit back, and allow someone else to take this team where he couldn't get it.
That, coupled with some questionable decisions made by Savage himself this season (the Winslow debacle, the e-mail debacle, and the failure to address a 3rd WR) would lead me to believe that Savage will be shown the door as well in the coming weeks. While Savage has made some shrewd moves in bringing in Shaun Rogers and improving the offensive line, he has also mortgaged some of our future draft picks to acquire the likes of Beau Bell and Martin Rucker, neither of who even saw meaningful playing time this season (though I hold out hope for both them). Savage appears on the cusp of being a capable GM, but I'm tired of suffering through the learning pains with him.
While I don't fault Randy Lerner for considering all his options, the writing has been on the wall for awhile here. Both Crennel and Savage failed in their jobs to bring a winner to Cleveland. Last January, Lerner gave Crennel an extension through the 2011 season, worth nearly $12 million, to reward him for the team's surprise performance of last season. Crennel promptly showed us that the turn around happened in spite of him, not because him. It's time for the Browns to cut their losses, admit their mistake and move on in a new direction. Browns fans, say it in unison with me now, "There's always next year."