So the Cleveland Browns smartly signed three-year NFL head coach Eric Mangini to a four-year contract yesterday. While I wasn't surprised, I was impressed since he clearly was the best option available.
This signing has the chance to be a Browns-fans" target="_blank" title="ManGenius">high risk, high reward deal. One could look at his three years in New York as a failure since his record was only 23-25, but the numbers do not tell the whole story. He made the playoffs only once in those years, but at this point that would be a vast improvement for the Browns, who haven't made the postseason since 2002.
Seriously though, with his recent 9-7 record he almost made the playoffs a second time in New York and as we all know based on New York's other team, the Giants, once that happens, anything is possible.
There is a lot to like about Mangini.
He's young, he's got a small but proven record, and apparently he knows how to recruit a formidable staff namely with the rumored soon-to-be-hiring of Rob "brother of Baltimore Ravens D-Coordinator Rex" Ryan to that same post. Like Mangini, Ryan is young (44) and has quite a number of accomplishments to his credit, which on a lowly Raiders unit quite an accomplishment in itself.
While I can't comment on Mangini's offensive coordinator choice since I had never heard of former Jets QB coach Brian Daboll, the jury is probably still out. Next he'll need to name a competent and equally exciting special teams coordinator. How about Dave Toub of the Chicago Bears, who has turned Devin Hester into a household name?
Apparently they won't be getting coveted Scott Pioli who was once rumored by ESPN's Chris Mortensen to be in a packaged deal with him serving as VP, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as head coach, and Mangini something on staff such as DC.
While that dream scenario didn't happen, hiring someone off the Bill Belichick tree again will only prove to be successful if the Browns don't repeat the same mistakes they made with Romeo Crennel by not correctly assembling a staff. They need to find the next Pioli, whoever that is, or Mangini won't last three years in Cleveland either.
He can't do any worse than the 'Crennel collapse' can he?
Things can't help but get better in 2009 with Ryan solidifying their most pressing need in a defensive unit that quit on the coach and proceeded to score one total touchdown the final six weeks of 2008.
Don't forget they will once again be the hunter, which I think works to their advantage now that the sports media will lay off of them instead of forcing them on national television an unprecedented five times.