Ever since the Browns brought in new head coach Eric Mangini, I've found myself wondering one simple thing.
How exactly would a coach who's notorious for enforcing discipline be welcomed by a team who not only has absolutely zero accountability, but also just spent four years in a regime run by a man who probably couldn't define discipline if he Googled it?
It's been almost two months now, and oddly enough, we really haven't heard anything from any player when it comes to their thoughts on the new coach. In fact, besides the sports banquet where he somehow missed the oncoming city bus that is Shaun Rogers, no one really knows if Mangini has even made eye contact with his new team.
Quinn, who many (including me, and now ESPN's John Clayton) believe should be the Browns starting quarterback in 2009, recently stated that he is just about fully recovered from the season ending surgery he underwent to repair a broken index finger suffered against Buffalo. Apparently, he has been throwing balls for about a month now, and is feeling great.
More important than this bit of good news is that Quinn has met with Mangini, only to give positive reviews of the new man in charge.
According to Quinn, he left a brief meeting with Mangini saying, "You can tell he's a very very smart coach. He'll bring a lot of accountability to our team, which is good for us and something we need."
That quote right there was music to my ears.
Imagine a Browns team that accepted the blame for the mistakes they made. Picture a receiver who says, "I'm having trouble catching the ball, it's my fault, but I'm going to work to get better," instead of, "If I went to Ohio State everyone would love me." How beautiful would it be if someone punched a teammate in the face and was kicked off the team immediately, not dealt with in a simple "Boys will be boys" routine?
Quinn went on to say that, "After that brief meeting, I'm looking forward to getting after it even more because you can tell the biggest thing for him is he wants to win. That's all we want to do is bring this city a winning team."
Mangini should get credit for saying "Browns" and "winning team" in the same sentence without laughing.
However, it's comforting to know our new coach isn't beating around the bush. He's telling his players right away he wants a winner, and if you're not pulling your weight, he's going to let you know. This is key, seeing as I doubt many guys in that locker room think the Browns can win at anything besides a Murphy's Law contest.
Quinn also spoke highly of new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, saying, "I can tell coach Daboll is going to be creative and innovative and do different things to get guys open."
Now, for most offensive coordinators, this is a literal stating of the obvious. However, when your former offensive coordinator is the walking definition of a one-hit-wonder, it's nice to hear the words "creative" and "innovative" involved this time around.
Quinn claims to have built a great rapport with Daboll, and says the new coordinator intends to incorporate aspects of the Browns' offense with those of his former system in New England. This isn't too bad to hear either, seeing as the Patriots could have a leper as starting quarterback and still post a winning record (granted the levels of talent on both teams are on slightly different wavelengths).
All of this, while overall pretty minor, brings some positive light on a new regime everyone in sports media has been trying to trash. Articles claiming Mangini was already "making life miserable" in Berea surfaced literally days into his start with Cleveland. Granted much of them were vastly over-hyped (no murals were "whitewashed," just moved to another location), it still wasn't promising to hear so much negativity when we were already drowning in it thanks to last season.
In the end, though, one has to be relatively pleased to hear some positive reviews about the new coaches from those who matter the most—the players.
I, however, am still looking forward to when Braylon Edwards has his first Mangini encounter. Oh to be a fly on the wall for that meeting...