Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was let go today. Guess you had to see that coming…or did you?
Since arriving in 2005 the Browns defense has gotten statically worse each year. They were the 16th ranked unit in ’05, before falling to 27th in ’06 and finishing 30th this season. With numbers like that it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Browns decided to go in a different direction. But does it?
I honestly thought they were going to give Grantham another year. They did give him an extension in June. Rumors were that if Crennel was fired during this season that Grantham would be the interim head coach, and have an inside shot at the job outright. It could be argued that Grantham has never had a ‘full deck’ of players to work with. Certainly the woes of the defensive line are not entirely his fault. But remember that most of the blame for the ‘off’ year’ in ’06 was given to injuries in the secondary. Grantham was given a pass for that season. This year the defense stayed relatively healthy.
Wimbley, Andre Davis, Leigh Bodden, Sean Jones, Brodney Pool, and Robaire Smith started all 16 games. Willie McGinest missed the first 3 games, Shaun Smith missed 1, and Ethan Kelley missed three. Eric Wright missed 3, but Brandon McDonald may have outplayed him in his absence. All totaled that is a pretty healthy group for an NFL team.
That must have been enough for Savage to pull the trigger. Savage certainly would loved to keep the same coaching staff to build on the momentum created this year, but my guess is that Phil decided Grantham is not the right man to coach a championship level defense, which is certainly what the Browns are looking for. Even if Grantham was able to improve a little next year, the defense would always seem to be the Achilles heel of the program. I imagine Savage decided the best way to contend for a title in ’09 might be to sacrifice a little consistency in ’08.