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Ravens Request Interview With Chudzinski

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"If I don't get an extension, I'll bolt to Miami!"
The Browns' season hasn't even been over for a full week and already the coaching discussions are running rampant. After firing Brian Billick, the Baltimore Ravens are searching for a new head coach. Among their many candidates is current Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, as reported by WKYC's Jim Donovan last night. Following that, the Plain Dealer further confirmed Baltimore's interest:
Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski will interview for the Baltimore Ravens head-coaching position, General Manager Phil Savage said Thursday.

It is not known when the interview will take place. The Ravens on Monday fired Brian Billick after nine seasons.

"Obviously with the turnaround we've had, and with the way the offense played, Rob is going to be sought after by a lot of teams either this year or in years to come," Savage said. ". . . When you have success you have to anticipate losing your good people."
-Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland Plain Dealer

The truth is, I think Chudzinski needs another year of consistency as an offensive coordinator before he can make the step up to a head coaching position. Adam Schefter of the NFL Network is also reporting that the Ravens have compiled a list of roughly 30 candidates they are interested in. To assume that Chudzinski is at the top of that list, especially considering the number of assistant coaches around the league who have greater experience, would be nothing more than overanalyzing things. With that said, Chudzinski did put himself on the map this year after the Browns' miraculous turnaround on offense and could be strongly considered with a solid interview.

Some of you might ask, "Why would Chudzinski want to accept an interview with the Ravens?" Chudzinski is hot this year because of the Browns' success on offense. If he decided to wait a year and the Browns are horrible on offense next season, alas a Maurice Carthon-type year, then his reputation would steadily decline for a head coaching position. Chudzinski may have Browns' blood in his veins, but if his interview with the Ravens is impressive, even if he's not hired, it could add to other franchises' future interest in him.

On top of the news regarding Chudzinski, the Browns are close to reaching a three-year extension with head coach Romeo Crennel, according to Joe Linta, his agent. He currently has two years left on his contract.

"The talks were very positive," Linta said. "I really believe [Browns owner] Randy Lerner will want to make Romeo the face of the franchise for the next five years. Hopefully we can work toward that end."

Linta said an extension for Crennel, who earned consideration for coach of the year this season after the Browns went from 4-12 last year to 10-6, will send a great signal to potential free agents that there's stability in this franchise.

If you ask John Clayton of ESPN though, the story is different:

ESPN's John Clayton doesn't believe coach Romeo Crennel is likely to get a contract extension from the Browns. The sides have discussed a three-year extension, but Clayton thinks Crennel must prove himself again in 2008 to get that kind of security. If the Browns don't lock Crennel up, however, he could take any overtures from the Dolphins more seriously. Several reports have him at the top of Miami's list.

I think the Browns will sign Crennel to an extension and retain Chudzinski.