With new general manager George Kokinis in place, the Cleveland Browns have the crucial front office positions filled and ready to go. Let the retooling begin.
As a fan, I find myself incredibly reassured by how vocal the new staff has been since their arrival.
I appreciate how often new head coach Eric Mangini has made himself available for questions by the media to give updates about the current status of the team. Wait, he hasn't spoken since the day he was hired? Oh...
Well I at least appreciate the uplifting comments made by new coordinators Rob Ryan, Brian Daboll, and Carl Smith. Oh, none of them have uttered a word since coming to Cleveland? Are you sure?
Well they must've kept fans and media in the loop when Kokinis was meeting with the new staff multiple days last week before he was hired, right? No?
Then I have to ask, where is everybody?
In the past month, the Cleveland Browns have cleaned house and, for the most part, brought in all of the replacements. However, beyond Mangini and Kokinis' initial press conferences, the brand new staff has been silent as the grave.
I, personally, take some issue with this. Mainly because of how unbelievably bad things went for the Browns last year. Look up Murphy's Law and you'll most likely see a picture of the practically empty Cleveland Browns Stadium which was put on display in the final home game of the 2008 season.
Browns fans are not happy, at all. We were lead to believe we had a winner on our hands, and, to put it incredibly lightly, we got anything but.
And now, with our fourth regime change in 10 years, we've heard next to nothing on the status of our team.
Kokinis and Mangini have to realize they have moved into a town that bleeds for it's football team. It's a storied franchise with arguably the most loyal fans in the NFL, but we're also waiting for our loyalty to be rewarded.
Browns fans want to be reassured that this new leadership group is the one that can take us out of the AFC cellar, preferably sooner rather than later. My suggestion: talking to us might be a start.
It's not as if there aren't any issues to be discussed with this Browns team. In fact, there are a lot to be dealt with, and some need to be handled soon.
Who's the quarterback?
We've heard a lot about how Mangini prefers an accurate, game-managing field general. Out of our two options, this is obviously Brady Quinn's style. Yet, we still don't know exactly what Mangini's opinion is, or when exactly he'll even tell us what it is.
Figuring out who will be leading the offense is a decision which needs to be made pretty soon, but there's also the contract issues.
Kellen Winslow wants a new contract, but was already rumored to be on the verge of getting shipped out. Josh Cribbs and Phil Dawson also have impending contract talks to be made. Then there's the money Derek Anderson will be owed if he's still on the roster in March.
What are Mangini's thoughts on all of this? And Kokinis'? Nobody knows.
What type of strategies are being put together for the NFL Draft? How aggressive will the team be in free agency? Carl Smith was let go by the Browns after the Butch Davis era, what made them bring him back?
These are just off the top of my head. Not all of them could be answered right away, but it'd be nice to hear somebody, anybody, from the new staff talk about an issue or two.
I'd really hate for this to be reminiscent of the problems that came with the expansion Browns, where NFL owners delayed the process of giving Al Lerner ownership of the team, thus handicapping his ability to create a semi-decent squad. Their excuse: Cleveland won't care, they're just happy to get their team back.
If this is the mindset of the new Browns regime, they might pull the last straw from a fan base already teetering on the edge.
So Mr. Mangini, or Mr. Kokinis, or just anybody, talk to us. Tell us what's going on, give us an idea of what you want to do to make this team a winner. Even if it's just an hour a week of media availability, at least we'll know you're alive.
Browns fans are a passionate bunch, and we're ready to support a winner. Just don't take us for granted. After last year, we've had just about enough abuse.
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