Eric Mangini Fired: What's Next for the Cleveland Browns?

Trae ThompsonSenior Analyst IJanuary 3, 2011

Eric Mangini Fired: What's Next For Cleveland Browns?

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    The Eric Mangini era is over in Cleveland.

    The Cleveland Browns have announced this morning that Mangini has been fired after consecutive 5-11 seasons. Mangini came to Cleveland after three seasons as head coach with the New York Jets, where he went 23-25 with one playoff appearance.

    Cleveland did pull off two upsets this season over New Orleans and New England, but went 2-6 after the Patriots victory. The Browns finished the season with a four-game losing streak, three of them to divisional opponents.

    Here's a quick recap of the season and look ahead to what could follow:

1. Near The Bottom

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    Despite the promise of rookie quarterback Colt McCoy and running back Peyton Hillis, the Browns were 29th in the NFL in passing at just under 187 yards per game and 20th in rushing (102.9).

    The two are going to need a lot more playmakers around them to be successful in the physical AFC North, and the team would be wise to nab a deep-play threat for McCoy in the NFL Draft.

2. Can't Win The Close Ones

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    Of their 11 losses this year, seven were by seven points or less.

    Perhaps the most heartbreaking came Nov. 14, when the Browns had the New York Jets on the ropes, only to have New York come back and win with 16 seconds left in overtime when Santonio Holmes scored on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez for a 26-20 victory.

3. Losing McCoy

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    Cleveland was dealt another blow when they lost Colt McCoy for three games to an ankle injury.

    The Browns went 2-1 behind backup Jake Delhomme, their only loss coming to Buffalo. Their two wins were nail-biters over Carolina and Miami.

    It's nothing to complain about, but you'd certainly love to keep developing McCoy and get him as much experience as possible for the future.

4. Never Say Never

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    Team president Mike Holmgren was hired by owner Randy Lerner to make the Browns successful.

    Holmgren has said this year there was a possibility he could return to coaching someday, which made you wonder if Mangini's days were numbered.

5. Next Steps?

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    One name that has been rumored as a possible replacement has been Jon Gruden, who has ties with Holmgren.

    NFL.com reports, however, that the team lacks some of the offensive personnel Gruden wants and it may not be the right fit.

    One other name in the mix is former Carolina Panthers coach John Fox, according to the website, which also reports he would bring Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy with him to work in the same capacity.