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- Romeo Crennel Offers Insight on Team's Future

Chris Pokorny January 1, 2007
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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Browns head coach Romeo Crennel delivered a press conference this morning to wrap up the season. Although two head coaches were fired (Dennis Green of the Cardinals and Jim Mora Jr. of the Falcons), take note that those coaches were fired after finishing their third seasons. Romeo will be entering his third season next season, and I believe that will be the final straw if he fails. Now, let's take a look at some notes from his conference, with the transcript quotes credited to Barry McBride of the OBR.

Positives from the 2006 Season:
"You look at the contribution Kamerion Wimbley made to the team. He was a rookie and I think he either tied or set the sack record for rookies and that was good for him as far as this team is concerned. Kellen Winslow was able to get the team record for receptions and I think that was a big accomplishment for him because he hasn't played in two years. Just to finish the season for him was an accomplishment. Its been two years since he's played and he was excited about finishing the season. He's looking forward to next season to try and improve and get better. I thought Dave Zastudil did a nice job for us this year. We brought him in and I thought he helped the team with what he was able to do. Just like yesterday when he put three kicks inside the 20-yard line. Joshua Cribbs has been a bright spot over the course of the year. He's been able to return and cover. D'Qwell Jackson was another rookie who came in and he was a nice surprise. He did a good job of being able to start basically from training camp and on. Those are all things we can build on. The depth of the defensive backfield gained valuable experience because of the injury situation. When we get our guys back, we are going to have much more experience which will benefit us. I think a guy like Lawrence Vickers who got some playing time began to grow into a football player. Leon Williams played special teams for most of the year, but then got some playing time. He represented himself very well and he gives us depth at the linebacker position. A lot of those things are positive that well feel good about going forward. We have to go forward because if we don't, were going backward. We really don't want to go backward. Even though the win-loss record says we went backward, I think progress has been made as far as the foundation being laid and beginning to operate the way we want to. As soon as we continue to add more quality players and our type of guys, you'll see that growth and development continue. It will turn into some victories for the Cleveland Browns and that's what were focused on."

I bet if Sean Jones would've finished the season as well as he started, his name would've been up their as well. Of all the players, I find it interesting that he cited Vickers. I don't know why, but it seems like Romeo really likes him. Could that be a sign that we will no longer be needing the services of Terrelle Smith next season? We may as well rid of Smith, considering we'd rather throw it to him in the flat for no gain rather than having him lead block for our running backs.

Teams QB Situation Next Season:
"Yes, I've said that all along. My stance hasn't changed, but that doesn't mean that we wouldn't bring someone in. I've said before that Charlie (Frye) is good enough to win with. I'm not backing off that statement. Every position gets evaluated and well see what happens." "Well, going into the offseason, I think that Charlie might have a leg-up, but its competition. Competition makes everyone better. I think (Derek) Anderson has done enough to show that he deserves a look."

I think the staff is still high enough on Frye, but will use Anderson's presence as that typical "needed competition" at the quarterback position we've come to know the past few years. Unfortunately, if we would've never made the silly decision to trade Trent Dilfer away for Ken Dorsey, we would've had our veteran backup still.

Excuse for Not Winning Yet:
"In 1999, this program started over. Two years after that in 2001 it started over. Four years after that, it started over again. I think everyone understands even though we don't like losing. I think people understand that we are starting from scratch to build a program. If we keep adding quality to the team like Kamerion Wimbley, D'Qwell Jackson or Lawrence Vickers then well build a good nucleus that will be competitive. That will begin to show on the win-loss column. Realistically, you can't expect that to happen over night. Last month, the film, We Are Marshall came out and as I watched the flyer from that movie, the program was eliminated because the players were all gone. That's what has happened with this team. All the players were gone and in 1999, (the franchise) was trying to put the players back. In two years, we had to start again and in four years we had to start again. You can get lucky starting over and have a winning team. It takes some time to build the team and get it the right way. Hopefully, we understand that here."

Unfortunately for Romeo, the "winning" is not coming, just as it didn't come with Chris Palmer. Palmer had an excuse, because he really was controlling an expansion team. Romeo took over a team in bad shape, but we were certainly "fixable" sooner than what's been displayed. Heck, even Butch Davis was able to field a team that made the playoffs, and it's not like that team was dominating or anything. And once again, Crennel cited Vickers. Did I miss something this whole season where Vickers showed that he is a core player? I know fullbacks are important, but I rarely even saw the guy in the game except on a few dumb pitch plays, and his infamous pass play.

Comparing Young Defensive/Offensive Sides:
"I think with the young kids we've added, we've added some quality. Travis Wilson is going to be a good player. He hasn't had the opportunities that Kamerion Wimbley or D'Qwell Jackson has had. They've proven that they can play and be productive, whereas Wilson still has to prove it. He made a play yesterday and he caught a ball the week before. There is some evidence that with the guys we are bringing in, we can build a nucleus. I think we have to get those guys on the other side of the ball more opportunities than we had. With Travis, we've had other guys at that position, so he didn't get as many reps. With D'Qwell Jackson, there wasn't anybody at that position who played there the year before. He stepped in and won the job. He got on the field and was able to prove that he can play in the NFL."

There goes at least a vote of confidence on Wilson, although we wouldn't know it based on his limited playing time. I see Wilson being our fourth receiver next season, with Braylon Edwards and Joe Jurevicius being the starters of course. I just have a feeling that the Browns will try to sign a veteran receiver in the offseason to play in the slot. Not a big-named guy, but someone who can play the position well enough.

Update on Gary Baxter:
"You would like to know, but you also know the type of injuries that you are dealing with. With injuries, its hard to know. I've said all along, the guys rehab, try to get better and when they are ready, they'll be there. I don't think you can put a timetable on these injuries. Take Gary Baxter, for example. He had both patellar tendons (injured). To expect him to be sprinting in March is probably a little unrealistic. The guy is up on a walker and walking ahead of schedule, so he tells me hell be back. Braylon (Edwards) was back ahead of schedule. With injuries, you cant predict the recovery time. Of course you'd like to know whether you'll have guys or not, but when you are dealing with injuries, I don't think you can say definitively that this guy is going to be back on this date. Wed like to have them back and when they get back, well be ready for them. When you don't know, you have to make contingency plans."

That's the only valid excuse we can make for the Browns somewhat - injuries. We didn't just lose key backup players, we lost some of our best starters on the team. The tandem of Gary Baxter and Daylon McCutcheon sounds like poetry compared to what we faced this year, while losing LeCharles Bentley right off the bat was obviously the biggest downfall of all.

Offseason Focuses:
"With our injury situation, I think we have to concentrate on the offensive line and the defensive backfield. We were depleted at both of those spots. The center, tackle, guard and corner spots are areas we have to look at."

Offensive line and defensive backfield. I would've enjoyed hearing offensive line and defensive line a little bit better, but what are you going to do. It's easy to say we can count on Baxter, McCutcheon, and Bodden being fine next season, but of the three, Bodden has the best chance at coming back at full strength. Dawgs By Nature is the best Browns blog around, so why not check it out?

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