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Old 11-09-2008, 08:24 PM   #79
SouthStndJunkie
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G.M. MULLIGAN RULE COULD BE TESTED IN CLEVELAND

Posted by Mike Florio on November 9, 2008, 5:12 p.m.

It’s becoming almost a foregone conclusion that the Browns will part ways with coach Romeo Crennel, barring a dramatic turnaround by the 3-6 team.

But anything less than a playoff berth likely won’t be good enough to earn a fifth season on the job for Crennel, and even running the table might not get the Browns to January.

The bigger question, as we see it, is whether G.M. Phil Savage will get a chance to hire another head coach, or whether his accountability will include making the call on hiring Crennel.

Working against Savage, in our view, should be the manner in which he bungled the quarterback position after the 2007 season. As pointed out in our current item for SportingNews.com, Savage should have known that Derek Anderson’s unexpectedly strong performance for most of last season resulted from the absence of any pressure whatsoever to retain the job. No one expected Anderson to do anything other than hold a spot until Brady Quinn was ready; as a result, Anderson was able to play unburdened by the worries inherent to having something to lose.

Thus, Savage should have gotten what he could for Anderson in the offseason, and the Browns should have handed the job to Quinn.

Still, in most NFL cities the conventional approach is that the G.M. gets to hire two head coaches (or, in Detroit, three) before the G.M. assumes a spot on the hot seat. But Cleveland isn’t most cities, and with teams like the Dolphins and Falcons proving that the best way to improve a team is to work from the top down, owner Randy Lerner might decide to start from scratch, contract extension notwithstanding.

Especially if those former Browns players who have way too much influence over the operation of the team want to see both a new head coach and a new General Manager.
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