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News » Browns' GM not giving up on season

Browns' GM not giving up on season

Browns' GM not giving up on season
BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Browns general manager Phil Savage could have taken the easy way out and done something radical after Cleveland's disappointing 0-3 start.

He could have fired coach Romeo Crennel and/or dismissed the rest of Cleveland's staff. He could have traded embattled starting quarterback Derek Anderson. He could have quit.

Instead, while others were clamoring for major changes, Savage decided to dig in.

"I've talked to people around the league, people who have been in this business for a long time, coaches, front-office types, and you don't go blowing things up after a couple games," Savage said Monday. "We've had a dry spell for those first couple weeks, you're not going to be successful in this league doing that.

"It's not been any thought of changing quarterbacks, changing the coach, or any of that. That's not the thing to do at this juncture of the season. You just don't do that. You've got to give the people a chance to pull themselves out of the situation. We all put ourselves in this spot and we're the ones who have got to pull us out of it."

One day after the Browns (1-3) finally got their first win, 20-12 over the short-handed and equally inept Cincinnati Bengals, Savage discussed the state of his struggling team, which reached the season's first-quarter pole and its bye week hoping the darkest days of 2008 are behind.

Savage didn't offer excuses for the Browns, who have been ravaged by injuries since training camp. And although Crennel indicated that the club contemplated benching Anderson for Brady Quinn - last week and again on Sunday - Savage said the team has confidence Anderson, a Pro Bowler last season, will work his way through an early season slump.

"We feel like we have enough good players, enough people around him and that he's a good enough talent with his ability that we're going to pull out of this and have our best football out in front of us here with him as the quarterback," Savage said. "It's not just one thing. We have great confidence in D.A. I think the players in the locker room have confidence in D.A. If we were going to go by everything that outside people thought, be it the media, the fans, what have you, there would probably be half the things that were done would never have happened.

"You've got to believe in what you're doing and believe in the people you have. That's what we're trying to do and support D.A. in this cause."

Savage's comments seemed at odds with what Crennel said a week ago. Following Anderson's three-interception performance in a loss at Baltimore, Crennel said the club would evaluate every position, including quarterback, and that Quinn would get more repetitions with the starting offense.

When Crennel announced he was sticking with Anderson, he refused to give specific reasons for his decision.

Savage met with Crennel several times but never got the impression the coach would turn the offense over to Quinn.

"I never walked out of a meeting thinking that there was any serious consideration about making a switch," Savage said. "When Romeo says that the backup needs to be ready, basically every backup in our building needs to be ready to play. I don't know how it was framed, I wasn't part of that conversation, but obviously it created a stir and I think because of some of the decisions he had made, Derek is an easy target. But I think our issues went a little bit deeper than the quarterback position.

There was an overall sense of relief on Monday as the Browns reviewed their ugly win at Cincinnati. They're still committing too many penalties and Cleveland's offense, which hasn't been at full strength this season, has yet to show the big-play capabilities it thrived on in 2007. But the win had everyone feeling a little better.

"It's great to get that win, but anyone can notice we still did some things we were doing in the first three games," said guard Eric Steinbach, who played despite a shoulder injury. "We still haven't played our best football this year, which is exciting to us, knowing that we can come out maybe after this bye and really start clicking and going on all cylinders.

"Basically that's what we're looking for and waiting for."

Savage said he meets with Crennel and his coaching staff each Monday. The discussions are usually candid appraisals of the team and the coaches' performances. Savage described the open forums as "sometimes not the most pleasant conversation, sometimes it's uncomfortable." It's during these sessions that Savage has a chance to critique Crennel, who has been lambasted by Browns fans for some curious game management.

Savage, though, praised Crennel for his steady hand during Cleveland's rough start. And while there's no guarantee Crennel will survive the season should it get worse, Savage seems satisfied the coach is still getting the most out of his team.

"When you start off 0-3 and people are pulling at you in a lot of different directions, it important to have a head coach who's going to stand in there and is man enough to take some of the criticism," he said. "Some he's brought on himself, there's no doubt about that. You have to have a head coach who's strong enough to take it. Romeo does that. I think the players know that and they appreciate it.

"As long as they play hard for him, I don't think we have any issues at that position."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 30, 2008

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Chase Pittman Name: Chase Pittman
Position: DE
Age: 25
Experience: 1 years
College: LSU
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