The ownership and new management of the Cleveland Browns are going to have to make a decision on whether or not to move forward with Eric Mangini in 2010.
Based on his track record with the Browns, the attitude of the city toward the coach, and the likelihood that the new management will want to move forward with its own handpicked coach, things don't look good for Mangini.
Below are suggestions and ideas for the Browns moving forward:
1. Focus on Creating a President-GM Relationship that Works
The Browns have struggled since their return to implement a cohesive front office. The president, or "football czar", the Browns are looking to bring to Cleveland should pick a GM with whom he has a good working relationship.
The GM should not be a yes-man, but someone that can constructively criticize and offer opposing viewpoints. This is more important than finding a coach.
The Browns need a lasting infrastructure. I would love to see the Browns get Chris Polian, Bill Polian's son and current GM/Vice President of the Colts, as the team president, especially if none of the big names come to Cleveland.
2. Switch to a 4-3 Defense
I have come to the conclusion that the Browns do not have the personnel or coaches to run a 3-4 defense. Switch to a 4-3 and start building a defense that can make Cleveland proud again.
3. Draft Ndamukong Suh
The stud defensive lineman out of Nebraska should be an immediate impact player for the Browns, and would solidify a front four in a 4-3 defense. Imagine this defensive line: DE Kamerion Wimbley, DT Ndamukong Suh, DT/NT Shaun Rogers, DE Matt Roth. The Giants won a Super Bowl with a great front seven even though they only had a mediocre secondary.
4. Trade for A. J. Hawk
Call it homerism if you want, but Hawk would immediately upgrade the linebacker corp as an OLB in a 4-3 defense. He should be available as he has seen a significant decrease in playing time with the Packers' switch to a 3-4 defense.
The downside is that it might take a second round pick to get him away from Green Bay.
The linebackers would feature D'Qwell Jackson in the middle with Hawk outside. The third linebacker spot would be up in the air.
5. Draft a Running Back
We don't know what James Davis can give us, and Jerome Harrison hasn't really gotten the shot that many fans feel he deserves, but I'd rather not wait around to find out with either player.
Besides, it only helps to have more than one option in case of injuries and fatigue.
Look for a running back in the second or third round to help create a running game. Teams should be able to get a first down on the ground and score touchdowns with their running backs.
Of course, all of this is completely speculative and depends on Mangini getting fired, but if the Browns want to compete anytime soon, they need to change the entire atmosphere and environment in Cleveland.