The first year of the Eric Mangini Era is winding down with just five games to go. With a record of 1-10, will this be the only year for Mangini as the Browns head coach? If so, he has only himself to blame.
First let me say I’m not in favor of firing coaches without given the time needed to establish their system and to collect the players for that system. The situation currently in Cleveland is a different animal. The Browns organization has been in turmoil since the expansion year of 1999. Cleveland has failed to build from the top down, thus has been forced to rebuild every few years. The lack of a smart football “Czar” heading things up from the top of the organization continues to be the major weakness. Randy Lerner and the loyal Cleveland Browns fans have been paying dearly for this lack of fore sight.
When Lerner hired Mangini, it was clear who would be in control. There was no chain of command. The chain had one link and that was Mangini. His finger prints were quickly all over the organization. Mangini has controlled every thing. This is his team. His and only his. Can’t blame anyone else. They already fired the GM, who was just a figure head hired by Mangini.
Several things, if handled differently, could have bought Mangini another year or maybe longer. The total mishandling of the quarterbacks. After naming Brady Quinn the starter to begin the season, he quickly benched him after just two and a half games. Now after the Derek Anderson experiment gone wrong, Mangini went back to Quinn. Does he even know, or can he even evaluate what he has at QB, in such an inept offense. Keeping Brian Daboll as offensive coordinator is another of Mangini’s moves that has hurt him. Daboll has survived only to drag Mangini down with him.
Cleveland’s draft. Mangini’s refusal to play second round picks Brian Robiskie and David Veikune while picking up players off the waiver wire, does not say much about his ability to judge talent. I mean we are talking about a 1-10 team in a total rebuilding mode. Also Mangini’s choice of playing Hank Poteat over rookie cornerback Coye Francies is another move against him. These three rookies have been inactive for most of the year on a rebuilding team that needs help. Not good.
Last year I thought Cleveland had hit bottom with a 4-12 record but this year they have fallen even farther. Offensively and defensively they have reached new lows. Now with injuries starting to add up, it will only get worse. They are still searching for a QB. They have gotten very little results from their draft picks. The only improvement is they have managed to reduce their penalties.
If Mangini had stuck by his choice of Quinn and made Daboll accountable for the offensive failures it would have been a point in his favor. If Mangini had played his draft picks more and tried to develop them, it would have also been in his favor. If he would have worked with George Kokinis instead of wanting total control, it would have been in his favor. Now he won’t have a say in who the next GM will be. That will be good for the Browns but probably not for Mangini.
With Mangini being in total control, he had to succeed or be held accountable. Who else is there to blame but the owner and Lerner isn’t going to fire himself.