Bengals 30, Browns 0
Divisional record: 0-4
Sunday was a sad day for the Cleveland Browns. And it wasn't just the final score.
Sunday, it became painfully obvious that Romeo Crennel isn't going to make it happen.
Crennel might last the final five games of the season, but unless there is a dramatic shift of team fortune, chances are high he will either be fired or resign after the season.
Everything about Crennel's demeanor in recent weeks says "I didn't sign on for this." For a while, I've been thinking that Crennel is too old, too set in his ways and not energetic enough to perform the drastic turnaround the Browns need. Sunday cemented it for me.
This was a team broken by last week's loss to the Steelers, and it appears that they did nothing to attempt to rebound against another divisional opponent. It looks like they simply accepted being the lamb to the slaughter. That is a horrible attitude to take, and I think the genesis of the attitude, whether intentional or not, is Crennel.
Fifty-seven, Crennel's age upon being hired in January 2005, is a bit old to be getting your first taste of head coaching under any circumstance. In the Browns' case, it's almost impossible for an aging, battle-hardened coach to turn this team around on the downhill side of his career.
I like Crennel. I like his no-nonsense approach. I think he knows a great deal about coaching football. I do not think he's a buffoon. I simply think he's not the right man for the job.
Talentwise, there is no reason why the Browns should not be at least a .500 club on the rise. They have playmakers on both sides of the ball. I think time will show the last three Browns drafts to have been productive. But, as I have written before, more than half the battle is believing you can be a good team. Based on Crennel's demeanor and some of his comments in recent weeks, it looks like he's doing anything but rallying his troops around a common goal.
If the coach is running out of steam, what do you expect the players to do?
If the Browns and Crennel were both honest with themselves and each other, they'd make an amicable split the day after the season ends. Crennel would get a defensive coordinator job elsewhere, and the Browns would hire a younger head coach who has the vision and energy to turn this thing around.
Up next: Kansas City, Sunday, 1 p.m. at Cleveland Browns Stadium