A 1-6 record.
Four offensive touchdowns in the first seven games.
One of the most lopsided point differentials in the NFL.
It's easy to look at Eric Mangini's Cleveland Browns and write this year off as another wasted season. The Browns have failed to generate everything from points to a pass rush, and many Cleveland faithful have given up on the team as a result.
Except for me.
Why? Because this season, in all of it's fallibility, isn't about 2009.
It's about 2010 and beyond.
If you ask Eric Mangini about the Browns' horrendous start to the season, it won't be long until you hear him mention the word, "process." Mangini has spoken of this process since the beginning of training camp, but has yet to specify exactly what that process entails. He did, however, shed some light on the situation Monday during his weekly press conference with the media.
"Any time you take over a new situation with a new group, you understand that it's a process," Mangini said.
"You can't lose sight of that. You can't lose sight of what is important. To me, that's improvement, that's progress, and I really felt that over the last three weeks we had made a lot of progress, in terms of how to play the way that we want to play."
Eric Mangini's process centers on two important concepts: progression and improvement. In order to bring a winning football team to Cleveland, Mangini will rely on his players' continued development as Browns.
Browns owner Randy Lerner hired Eric Mangini because he too believes in the process. Lerner witnessed Mangini take over the talentless 4-12 New York Jets and transform them into one of the surprise teams of 2008. Through patience and hard work, Mangini's process has worked in New York.
The only question is, when will Mangini show results in Cleveland?
"I don't have a timetable set up, but what you are looking for is continued progress," Mangini said.
"When I took over, it was really the same sort of approach, it was understanding that are a lot of things that need to be addressed and there is a lot of work that needs to be done. There are some things that you can do short term and some things that you can do long term.
"Some things that you can address today or tomorrow or the next day and other things that you have to move towards as you go. Being part of this experience in three different places, I guess it would be four, I understand it's different everywhere you go and there are different challenges everywhere you go."
"It is a process."
That brings us to the 1-6 Cleveland Browns. If fans can take anything away from the slow beginning to the 2009 season, it's that Eric Mangini's process has already begun.
Rookie wide receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie have already begun their progression into the fast-paced world of professional football. Rookie center Alex Mack is improving every week, and rookie linebacker Kaluka Maiava has been inserted into the starting lineup in place of the injured D'Qwell Jackson.
With so many young players holding starting spots on the roster, it is clear Eric Mangini is in this for the long-haul. The core group of young players will progress this year, and the Cleveland Browns will be better for it in the long-run.
As for the present?
"I don't think that anybody is pleased with where we are right now," Mangini said.
"We are going to work at it as diligently and as deliberately as we possibly can. The mistakes are going to be addressed. The mistakes are going to be analyzed. We're going to put a plan in place to fix them,"
"There is a commitment to that [and] that's not going to change."
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