O Romeo, Where Art Thou?

You know it occurred to me that on this day where Bill Cowher, the longest tenured coach in the NFL has “stepped down”, that I discuss tenure in respect to the Cleveland Browns  head coaching position. Steelers coach Bill Cowher. (Getty Images) Jeff FisherNow the longest tenured coach in the NFL is Jeff Fisher of the Titans.  Jeff Fisher has been around so long he coached the team when they were the Houston Oilers. 

Romeo has just completed his 2nd season as coach of the Browns.  There are reasons he should be fired (like his 1-11 division record) and I think there are reasons why he should stay. 

Even those who support Romeo will only give him one more year to turn things around.  Three years and out is better than most get.  Art Shell got one year.  Denny Green only got three in Arizona after being the winningest NFL coach in the 1990’s.  Denny Green’s  life is defined by the 5 Fs: Faith, Family, Friends, Football, and Fishing.  Chris Palmer only got two years in Cleveland and Butch Davis “resigned” after 2 1/2 years.  If you listen to Cleveland sports talk the mentality is that if they give Romeo a third year it will only be one more and done.  This tells me they give him little chance of success in 2007. 

Why should Romeo go?  The primary reason is his record.  The results are just not there.  There are empty paid for seats at the stadium with no one buying peanuts, nachos, hotdogs and beer.  Romeo’s record stinks.  As mentioned above, he has lost 11 of 12 games to division rivals.  There is a lack of discipline in the locker room.  The inmates appear at times to be running the asylum.  Romeo appear out of touch.  He is 0 for 7 on coaches challenges this year.  There have been games where it appears that his players have quit on him (Cincy at home this year and Pittsburgh at home last Christmas Eve).  His offense finished 31st only ahead of Oakland and you see what happened to thier coach.   Romeo was slow (late) to pull the trigger on former offensive coordinator Mo Carthon when it was obvious to even the untrained observer that they could not get plays called in time, get the right players on the field or more importantly have a consistent identity to the offense.  (They still have no offensive identity) Romeo’s timing seems to be off. 

I feel that Romeo should be given one more year to right the ship.  However there have to be some changes made.  Romeo has final say over his coaches.  It is in his contract.  Marty Schotteheimer might still be coach in Cleveland  if he had not let his pride get in the way and bring in some experienced offensive coaches in 1988.  Marty did eventually learn he needed help and look what he has done in Kansas City (101-58-1).  I think San Diego and Marty will get his Super Bowl ring this year. 

Romeo needs help.  53 young men are a lot to handle.  Romeo needs an experienced offensive coordinator and coaching staff.  Romeo is a great defensive coach.  His record proves that.  Romeo needs to swallow his pride and bring in some help on the offense.  Maybe he needs a replay coach too.  Being strong minded is a good attribute for a coach, but don’t cut off your nose just to spite your face.  If you need help, ask for it.  Listen to your detractors and weigh what they say and receive that which makes sense. 

Why keep Romeo another year?  Many great coaches have gotten off to bad starts but have learned from their mistakes, made changes and found success.  Chuck Noll was 6-22 his first two years and did not have a winning season until year 4.  Bill Walsh was 8-24 his first two years as coach of the 49’s.  There is something to be said for stability.  There is some buy-in by his players.  His veterans say they want to play for and want to win for Romeo.  Typically the Browns have bounced back from stinker with good effort games even if they have not won them. 

Romeo must improve his communication.  Early on Romeo was candid and answered questions to the best of his ability.  He was transparent and genuine.  Now the media and the fans are tired of cliche’s and the same answers every week, that is we didn’t make plays when we had to, no one stepped up when needed, praising the special teams to distract attention from the obvious problems at hand, and in general just being vague or ambiguous.  Can we just get a straight answer around here?

The non-football operations have done a lot to improve the “football experience” in Cleveland.  They have upgraded the sound system, tinkered with the uniforms to make them seem more retro.  The send out surveys to see how the season ticket holders like the changes that have been made and what they want to see (cheerleaders? not!)  They have gotten rid of the silly promotions and silly non-football related activities.  Most Browns fans I know would rather attend a game in a broken down, urine soaked, pigeon infested fire trap of a stadium if only the team would put a representative product on the field. 

So if Romeo is willing to do some things different, surround himself with a brain trust and be more genuine and transparent, I say lets give him one more year and see if he can turn it around.  After all when all is said and done is still bottom line results that matter.  I must be off…

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1 Comment »

  1. sam Said:

    honestly, I don’t follow the NFL at all. I like watching college football, but that’s where it ends.


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