In the always changing world of an NFL coach, job security is very hard to come by. For Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini, winning will be the only thing keeping him in Cleveland after the 2010 season.
When Mangini took over as the head coach of the Browns before the 2009 season, he was met with much criticism and doubt.
Whether it was the way he handled his rookie players or his coaching philosophy as a whole, many people felt Eric was not the right man to take Cleveland to the top of the AFC North.
Now, a year later, a 5-11 debut season has still left fans with a slight taste of doubt but a large helping of optimism alongside.
After new team president, Mike Holmgren, decided to retain Mangini as the coach of the Browns, fans began to except that Eric was the man in charge… at least for now.
Browns fans have been waiting a long time for a consistent winning team in Cleveland. They have seen a complete overhaul of the organization four times since the teams’ reinstatement in 1999 and have only enjoyed two winning seasons in 11 years.
The fact that Cleveland has not produced a winner in recent years will ultimately make Eric Mangini’s job security a little more fragile.
It is a strange situation for a team to have a proven head coach employed within their organization but be stationed nowhere near the field on game day.
When Holmgren’s name first became mentioned in the same sentence as the Cleveland Browns, many people assumed that he would become the new head coach. Now after all the dust is settled, he is in the front office while a man who has basically proved nothing is coaching the team.
The question that surrounds this whole situation is how long of a leash will Mangini have before someone yanks him out? If Cleveland suffers another dismal losing season, the Browns have another man who has coached in a Super Bowl already employed by the team.
The fact of the matter is that if Eric Mangini does not win early and often, he will certainly be shipped out of Cleveland before he knows what hit him. The Cleveland fans and supporters of the Browns are much more willing to put their trust in Holmgren than Mangini.
It’s hard to believe that a coach could take over a team who was seemingly headed in a terrible direction and make a positive influence while receiving nearly no credit. This is exactly what Mangini accomplished in 2009.
The Browns finished the season on a four game winning streak and even though carrying any type of momentum over the course of an offseason is preposterous, the team seems to be getting on board with the foundation that Mangini’s regime is trying to lay.
It is hard to say how good the Browns will have to be in 2010 in order for Mangini to remain the coach of Cleveland after this season. Pressure has a way of making some men achieve great things but also makes other men crumble.
One thing is for certain, Cleveland will be watching Mangini’s every move very closely as long as Holmgren is waiting in line behind him.