Can the "Man-Genius" Right the Ship for the Browns?
The Cleveland Browns have had their share of Head Coaches since the team's return in 1999 with none yielding consistently positive results. Eric Mangini is the man who now hopes to change that as he takes the helm in 2009.
Mangini's coaching career began in Cleveland in 1995 as a coaching assistant. When the franchise moved to Baltimore at the end of the '95 season, he did as well.
From 1997-1999 Mangini worked as the defensive quality control coach for the New York Jets before going to New England in 2000.
As DB coach for the Patriots, Mangini saw the team's defense improve from 20th in the NFL to ranking among the top ten for the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
When Mangini took over for Romeo Crennel as Defensive Coordinator in 2005 the Patriots defensive rank dropped to 26th in the NFL according to nfl.com. This is the worst the defense has rated since 1995 when the team finished 6-10. In spite of this fact, New England won the Super Bowl in '05.
After Mangini left for New York the following year, New England's defense ended the 2006 season ranked sixth in the NFL with Dean Pees managing the defense. This was statistically their best defense of the decade until the next year when they ranked fourth.
As Head Coach for the New York Jets from 2006-08 Eric Mangini compiled a mediocre 23-25 record with one playoff berth as the Wild-Card in 2006.
The Jets finished 9-7 in 2008 with a roster that featured seven Pro Bowlers. However, this wasn't enough to get them to the postseason.
The defense-minded Mangini managed a team that was 28th in points allowed and 24th in yards allowed in 2008. On offense the Jets ranked 16th averaging 331.7 yards a game.
Are these the numbers that are supposed to suggest that Eric Mangini is the coach the Browns have been looking for? It's hard to say for sure, but it seems to me the answer is no.
The Cleveland Browns have a lot of improving to do before they can even be called mediocre. If any coach is to turn the Browns into a contender, it needs to be someone who is an effective leader and is consistant.
The Browns' situation is one that Mangini is not used to. The team has no established method for success and an ongoing quarterback controversy that never seems to end!
Mangini is accustomed to teams with a solid quarterback on his previous teams. Uncertainty in that area could inhibit his chances for success.
This doesn't seem to be the kind of environment Mangini will be comfortable operating in with his coaching experience mostly as part of established teams that may or may not only have a few puzzle pieces missing. In Cleveland, the pieces are scattered.
While Mangini had some success in New York with the Jets, he is not a proven leader. This seems evident given the stats from his brief stint as the Patriots' Defensive Coordinator.
As far as the Browns defense is concerned, it's likely the new coach will have no problem adjusting to Cleveland's playbook as it is centered around the 3-4 formation which Mangini has a lot of experience with from his previous teams.
Mangini could do good things for the Brown's secondary as he did in New England. The Patriots' DBs were among the league's leaders in four defensive categories including pass deflections and interceptions with Mangini as their coach.
Eric Mangini has had success as a specialty coach but not as a leader. In order for the Browns to win with him running the show, they need all the pieces in place and well orchestrated. This is not the case.
The Jets were an average, no-thrills team before Mangini took over and still are today. There is no reason to think that he will have any significant impact on the Browns this year or any time soon.
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