N.Y. Jets Lucky As Mangini Fumbles Cleveland QB Competition
Jet fans, consider yourselves lucky: You could still have Eric Mangini as your head coach.
Ever since Rex Ryan was hired to replace Mangini, people have highlighted the differences between the two. Ryan has given his players, fans, and bosses confidence in his firm ability to make key decisions for the Jets. He changed the culture from timid to bold, and his strong belief this team can win at any cost is an inspiration to his players—who would do anything for "their coach."
Mangini was always different, retiring behind the mantra of Bill Belichick's disciple. He rarely showed faith in his team as he mumbled and stumbled through press conferences, finding it difficult to say anything positive about his players. Worse yet, he posed solemnly on the sidelines, arms folded across his chest in a state of apparently deep concentration, concern etched on his furrowed brow before the axe fell.
Now, less than a week before opening day, the former poker-faced coach of the Jets continues to find a way to frustrate the Cleveland Browns.
The latest: Mangini has royally screwed up his quarterback competition. Spring OTAs, summer training camp, and four preseason games were not enough for Mangini to decide between Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson to be his starting quarterback.
Earlier today, Mangini said that he still had yet to make a decision on the competition, and—most disturbingly—has yet to tell either Anderson or Quinn about his decision. In fact, Mangini plans on keeping silent on the situation all the way until kickoff on Sunday, when the team squares off against the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre—the very man who got him canned in New York last January.
Mangini's logic: He wants to keep the Vikings in the dark as long as possible.
"It is more difficult to plan for two (quarterbacks) than it is to plan for one," he said. "I'm not saying that's going to be the difference or not the difference, but I know that there is time allotted to that and you can't put the same amount of time into focusing on one player," Mangini said at his afternoon press conference.
Gee, Eric, the Vikings only had two weeks to prepare for the Cleveland Browns. I think there is enough film of the Browns for the Vikings to study both quarterbacks.
Plus, Minnesota has one of the NFL's top defenses. I don't think it matters who is under center for Cleveland. Football is football; it's not astro-physics.
Once again, this is an example of Mangini outsmarting himself. Just think, this could have been the Jets that endured a highly ballyhooed quarterback competition this summer between rookie Mark Sanchez and veteran Kellen Clemens. Even though Sanchez clearly outplayed Clemens, you can certainly picture Mangini performing the same Hamlet-like indecisiveness if he were still in New York.
He would likely keep the progress of the competition mute until game day, allowing young quarterback Sanchez, frustrated veteran Clemens, and 51 other players to twist in the wind until he decided—not unlike the William Windom character at the beginning of Planes, Trains and Automobilies, who couldn't tell Steve Martin and Lyman Ward which magazine cover to use in a planned advertising campaign, setting off the movie's hilarious chain of events.
There is a reason why Rex Ryan came to a decision on the quarterback before the third preseason game. He wanted to give his first-string offense time to gel with its new starting quarterback. He wanted to make sure his quarterback had the opportunity to work with the offense, improve continuity with receivers, and get the offensive line accustomed to the cadence of a their new leader.
It makes sense. In order for a team to be truly successful with a competent offense, the organization has to know weeks in advance who their starting quarterback will be. The quarterback is the field general of the team, counted on to lead in crucial moments.
Rex Ryan knows this. He sees that Mark Sanchez has the desire and ability to take a team on his back and lead it. That is why he made a swift decision. He wants to make sure the franchise is ready to succeed.
As for Mangini, the only things he understands are mind games. His refusal to name a starter is counterproductive. Not only will the Vikings be in the dark about who the quarterback starter will be, but so will the Browns!
Hence, the big difference, the chasm exists between Rex Ryan and Eric Mangini. Jets fans drew the right hand. This news has to give Jet fans heart that the franchise might very well be in good hands.
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