The Mangenius? Putting a Positive Spin on the Cleveland Browns' New Head Coach

Casey DrottarCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, one of the worst-kept secrets of the NFL was finally confirmed: Eric Mangini is the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

When your football team moves to its fourth head coach in just 10 years, one tends to find it difficult to think positively. And based on the multitude of anti-Mangini articles and responses throughout the Browns' network, there's a good amount of that sentiment in Browns Town right now.

In attempts to bring some positive light to a team which has been allergic to it for so long, I thought I'd point out some reasons why Mangini just might work for the Browns.

Let me first point out that, yes, when I heard Mangini was the leading candidate because of how enamored Randy Lerner was with him, I wasn't terribly thrilled either.  I was still rinsing myself of the Bill Cowher delusion, so I had yet to get a good look at the either candidates. 

However, after taking a better look at our recent hire, he's not really the white version of Romeo Crennel I feared he'd be.

Firstly, what's one of the biggest complaints Browns fans were making when Crennel was showing off his inability to run a team?  We needed a coach with experience, and Mangini was the only candidate who brought this to the table. Sure, it's only three years, but that's three more years than any other legitimate candidate's resume had. 

Let's face it, Mike Shanahan wasn't coming here, and Marty Schottenheimer's best years are behind him. Waiting on either candidate to formally say no would've been irresponsible of Lerner, and the Mangini-haters would've been just as upset with that as they are now. 

Next, as shocking as it may be when looking at him, one of Mangini's claims to fame is his discipline. This is another aspect of coaching that is severely lacking back in Berea.

Many critics claimed Mangini was actually too tough on his players in his first year with the Jets. When's the last time the word tough was used in the same sentence as the name Romeo Crennel? Well, besides, "Wow, Romeo Crennel makes it really tough for me to be a Browns fan."

Mangini also comes with quite a large chip on his shoulder. 

Many analysts were very shocked upon hearing the news about Jets ownership giving Mangini the ax. This is mainly because he only had three seasons of work there, two of which ended with a winning record.

And while he went from 8-3 to 9-7 this year, much of this is on the shoulders of an un-retired quarterback Mangini didn't want in the first place. 

I struggle to believe Mangini took the firing too well. This will most likely result in a little more fuel to the fire. What better way to show the Jets they made a mistake than turning a dysfunctional team into a winner? Granted this is lofty right now, but still, you can't help but think this is on his mind.

Mangini also earned the respect of his players, as several were upset upon hearing about his firing, and others went out of their way to defend him. Jets running back Leon Washington recently told ESPN media about how Mangini's "hardworking, selfless, and competitive" coaching style helped him greatly. 

I'd much rather hear something like this from a player of Washington's caliber than, say, hearing Adam "Pacman" Jones claim, "Coach Mangini made me the man I am today."

By favoring Chad Pennington during the first two years of his Jets coaching career, Mangini showed how he'd much rather have an accurate and game-managing quarterback (a la Brady Quinn) than the gunslinging, "I'll throw it anywhere," attitude which came with Brett Favre.

This is promising because it's a little easier for a new coach to adapt when he has players he knows he can work with.

I also struggle to believe Mangini can see talents like Joshua Cribbs and Jerome Harrison and blatantly disregard them like Crennel and Rob Chudzinski did at a stupefying rate. 

In fact, Mangini has shown a penchant for trick plays, making one assume the "Flash" package might not only see its fair share of game time, but might also be used appropriately. 

In the end, yes, Eric Mangini's hiring may not be the ideal choice of a lot of fans. Some of those fans might still be clamoring for Cowher, while others will continue to scream about how we should've hired (fill in blank here) instead. 

In my eyes, though, we wanted experience and discipline, and it seems Mangini has both. Our complaints certainly aren't going to reverse the decision either, so there's really no use in berating Randy Lerner with those. Most importantly, there's no way to predict just how a coach's tenure is going to play out, as these things are crapshoots.

All we can do now is sit back, watch the offseason unfold, and prepare to see a new face on the sidelines, whether we like it or not. If this still isn't enough, I offer some food for thought.

At least we didn't hire Kirk Ferentz.