JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Let's get this over with, once and for all. Not long after the conclusion of Super Bowl XXXIX, Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will be named head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Period.
Now can we stop the charade?
Forget about the "leading candidate" stuff. Forget about the "Crennel or Brad Childress" stories, as if the Browns' decision hangs on the outcome of Sunday's game.
How can we be sure of this? Well, word is, Crennel is already trying to line up assistant coaches. If he's not moving to Cleveland, what does he need assistants for? The Arena League?
Second, a ton of unemployed assistants have been calling friends to see what's available on Crennel's staff.
Among those on Crennel's wish list is Dallas offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon.
Carthon, word has it, is ready to go, and Crennel wants him to run his offense. The problem is, the guy who was once their boss with the Giants, Patriots, and Jets -- Bill Parcells -- will have something to say about that.
Carthon is listed as offensive coordinator, even though it was Parcells calling the plays in Dallas last year and assistant head coach Sean Payton running the passing game. Carthon was responsible for the running game but not the entire offense. Despite that, Carthon has the title of coordinator, so this technically would be a lateral move, and Crennel would need permission from the Cowboys to hire him.
Parcells could block the move, but he may not. The belief is that he likes Crennel and hopes he does well, so he likely would let him move on, especially with Payton, the former offensive coordinator of the Giants, in place to take over the full duties.
If Carthon does land in Cleveland, it will be the third time he is an offensive coordinator but the first time he'll actually call the plays. He was offensive cordinator in Detroit but did not have play-calling responsibility, and the same was true in Dallas.
Is he the 49ers' man?
After interviewing more than a dozen candidates for general manager, the 49ers yesterday reportedly offered the job to 34-year-old Scott McCloughan, the Seahawks' director of college scouting since 2000. McCloughan, son of longtime Raiders scout Kent McCloughan, began his career in the NFL with the Packers. He was competing with the likes of Chiefs vice president of pro personnel Bill Kuharich, Packers personnel analyst John Schneider, and Eagles assistant director of player personnel Jason Licht, among others. Kuharich is also a candidate to become the Seahawks president. The 49ers job carries with it a reported salary of $800,000, which is reason enough to take the risk of trying to help new head coach Mike Nolan revive a sinking ship.
Rocking the boat
Saints owner Tom Benson has a yacht parked in front of the media hotel that is roughly the size of Louisiana. Word is that some New Orleans politicians want to know if it was Louisiana that paid for it. When the boat was purchased in 2002, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, it carried a cost of around $20 million. That in itself is not a problem because Benson is among the wealthiest men in the country. The problem is, technically, he doesn't own the boat; Benson Football owns the boat. It also owns the Saints, the same organization that has been crying for years that it needs relief from the city and state because the Superdome lacks the kind of revenue streams that modern stadiums now produce. Yesterday, the governor of Louisiana expressed "surprise" to learn the yacht was owned by Benson Football and not just Benson. The team issued a statement saying the problems plaguing the Saints were not an issue of "what Mr. Benson could afford," but rather whether the Saints could afford to stay in New Orleans without a new stadium deal. They could always put their players and equipment on that yacht and sail into the sunset.
Catching a late movie
While most of the Patriots and Eagles were out with their families Monday night, dining and trying to relax, Tom Brady was in the film room from 8 p.m. until after 10, according to a source inside the organization, studying Philadelphia's defenses. Despite winning two Super Bowl MVP awards and twice being selected to the Pro Bowl in the last four years, Brady seems to understand that if his focus slips even a little, he may lose the edge he has over many of his opponents. His greatest strength is his on-field intelligence and willingness to prepare. "He never forgets where he comes from," said Patriots safety Rodney Harrison. "We were talking on the bus on the ride here about the difference between being a good player and being an inconsistent player. He understands we're all only one bad year, one bad game really, from having all the critics patting you on the back start stabbing you in the back."
Big day for New Bedford yesterday, as native son Clarence Brooks was hired to coach the defensive line for Baltimore. That gives the Ravens a veritable Southeastern Massachusetts pipeline, with Taunton native Eric DeCosta running the college scouting department . . . Richard Seymour is considering boxing-type workouts in the offseason to improve his hand speed, though he isn't likely to be sparring anyone. He would not be the first player in the NFL to adopt either that discipline or the martial arts. Former Patriot All-Pro Andre Tippett, for one, used karate to improve hand speed and hand-eye coordination.