Mangini Deserves His Shot

When coaches take over teams as crappy as this team Mangini took over, things don’t turn around immediately. In fact, if you can find me an example of long-term success from a first year turn around maybe i'll listen to why people think Mangini should be fired. I am in the minority and I know it but I want to give Eric Mangini his due time to turn this team around, and by the way it can’t be done over night.

When Belichick took over the Patriots he won 5 games his first year, hell Chuck Knoll only won 1 game his first year in Pittsburgh. You want more? Jimmy Johnson won 1 game in Dallas his first year, what about Bill Walsh in SF, 2 games. Parcells, 3 wins his first year. I could go on but I don’t see the point.

It’s not like the new regime is setting this team back. In order to be set back you had to of been going somewhere. What would set this team back is bringing in another coach that wants his own players and installs a new system. We’ve done that enough. This team needs continuity, that’s right continuity, you know, the same coaches and the same system for more than 2 years in a row. The Browns have to stop switching coaches every 4 years and coordinators every 2.

My goal is not to blame the previous regimes’ or make excuses but lets be honest, Mangini walked into a bad situation. Phil Savage mortgaged the Browns future in 07’ when he gave away all the Browns draft picks, and he failed, miserably. Mangini inherited a team that was full of talentless and diva’ish ball players that were cashing in on a free paycheck, thanks to the Romeo Crennell country club that had been taking place here in Cleveland the previous 4 years.

Mangini’s system is very complex, every play has a sub play and a decoy. A lot of these players are young or if they’ve been with the Browns for the last 4 years they’ve have had to deal with a different coordinator every year. The point is it’s going to take some time to completely understand and be able to execute the plays correctly. This is why you haven’t seen a lot of rookies out there yet, they are still learning, but once they get it they will benefit from it significantly.

I don’t know how anybody can complain about the moves Mangini has made. Maybe the way he does things is questionable but not the moves he’s made. Winslow and Edwards were both divas. Not to mention Braylon couldn't catch and Winslow has missed more games than he’s played because of injuries.

We moved down in the draft and got the guy we wanted while we picked up extra draft picks. Say what you want but Eric Mack looks like he is going to be a staple on the Browns offensive line for a long time. We won’t know about the other draft picks for a couple of years, but don’t count them out before they get a chance, even though that’s what every body is doing with Mangini, counting him out before he gets a chance. I will guarantee that 8 out of 10 people trying to run Eric Mangini out of Cleveland after only 7 games are the same people that say 7 games isn’t enough time to judge Brady Quinn. Whatever.

Bernie was brought in to let Lerner know if Mangini was making progress and if his plan is moving in the right direction. If Bernie tells Lerner that Eric is not the man I think you’ll see another change at the end of the season, but I don’t expect that to happen. The man deserves the chance to prove he can win and build a team. It makes no sense to fire him before he get’s a fair shake. He was hired to do a job, so let him do it.


Frustrated Fan Responds to Randy Lerner's Email

Dawg Pound Mike, formerly of "Charlie Frye-Guys" fame is organizing what is being called a "Brown Out" for the nationally televised Monday Night Football home game on November 16 against the Ravens. The plan is to keep the stadium as empty as possible for the opening kickoff and then to have the fans take their seats immediately following. This is not meant to be a show of disrespect to the Browns but rather a reminder that we're still supporting them but we deserve much better than what we're getting.

I love this idea. The current regime needs to know that the fans are no longer going to sit by quietly as this franchise continues to embarrass us and get worse on an almost daily basis. In Washington they are trying to silence the fans by taking away their right to hold signs that contain negative comments about the team and management. I dare Randy Lerner or Eric Mangini to try that here in Cleveland. The fans of this franchise have already proven that their voices will be heard and things will get done when they unite for one cause. Ten years of backlash and frustration has been quietly building on the shores of Lake Erie and this might just be the year that the fans have finally had enough.

Instead of holding a press conference today and facing us frustrated fans, Browns owner
Randy Lerner chose email (of course) as his means to responding to the fans and our frustration with the Browns.

Here is the message that Randy Lerner has sent to us Browns fans, in it's entirety:

''On the grounds of frustration and irritation with performance, then that's the medicine I [we] are going to take, and I accept that. The goal this year was to rebuild the culture at the Browns. We felt at the end of last year that we lacked any overall philosophy, approach or direction regarding recruiting, drafting, coaching, preparation or training. As a result, each season was feeling like starting over and 4-12 following 10-6 felt painfully not all that surprising.

''It's been way too long since the Browns have had anything to feel good about or invest in, and it's clear that the doubt and negativity are taking on a life of their own.

''What I can say is that we, and I, have remained open to new and fresh ideas and thinking and people with passion for the Browns and football experience getting involved and with hope and luck and support, making a difference. We won't become entrenched or stubborn and despite my allergy to be more conspicuous, I do remain eager to seek help and guidance from any and all corners.''

As a frustrated fan who wants some answers, I decided it was important to respond to Mr. Lerner's message with a few thoughts and questions of my own. My responses can be found below in red.

''On the grounds of frustration and irritation with performance, then that's the medicine I [we] are going to take, and I accept that. The goal this year was to rebuild the culture at the Browns."

It's already halfway through this season and the Browns currently have less of an identity than they did all of last season. At what point does it become apparent that the culture of the Browns is actually becoming more damaged by Eric Mangini than improved?

"We felt at the end of last year that we lacked any overall philosophy, approach or direction regarding recruiting, drafting, coaching, preparation or training. As a result, each season was feeling like starting over and 4-12 following 10-6 felt painfully not all that surprising."

If that was how you felt at the end of last year then how do you feel at the halfway point this year with the overall philosophy, approach in recruiting, drafting, coaching, preparation and training of Eric Mangini? These facets were all intended to be improved and they clearly are not. Do you have faith that they will eventually be improved under the current coaching staff?

''It's been way too long since the Browns have had anything to feel good about or invest in, and it's clear that the doubt and negativity are taking on a life of their own."

By "Browns" I really hope you meant to say "Browns fans". If that's the case then I agree. It really has been way too long since we've had anything to get excited about and invest in. Isn't it fair to say that your "investment" in the Browns has been the one consistent element throughout all of the coaching changes that have yet to yield any real success? I also believe it's fair to say that your head coach is responsible for much of the "doubt and negativity" that is now surrounding this franchise. Do you agree?

''What I can say is that we, and I, have remained open to new and fresh ideas and thinking and people with passion for the Browns and football experience getting involved and with hope and luck and support, making a difference."

Randy, we like the idea that you are open to new and fresh ideas but you shouldn't need to rely on "luck" to find somebody that can make a difference with this franchise. I don't think many employers rely on luck to find quality employees who can step in and make a difference. I believe they rely instead on their own ability to identify good candidates who can contribute to the overall success of the organization. Is it time to admit that you made a mistake in hiring Eric Mangini? Or did you just not get lucky, again?

"We won't become entrenched or stubborn and despite my allergy to be more conspicuous, I do remain eager to seek help and guidance from any and all corners.''

Ok, so you won't become "entrenched or stubborn". That's a curious statement especially considering the fact that your current head coach is both "entrenched and stubborn" regarding the current Quarterback situation surrounding the Cleveland Browns. You also claim that you have an "allergy to be more conspicuous". We've come accept that but what we won't accept is an owner who is unwilling to admit he made a mistake and not taking any action with the current state of this franchise. It's good to hear that you are eager to seek help and guidance for any any and all corners. Don't you think that's what you should have done last year while identifying candidates for the vacated head coaching position? I like the fact that you brought in Bernie Kosar to help you as a personal consultant. Hopefully he will be in the corner that you seek guidance from when you start the process of identifying your next head coach. Sooner rather than later, if you don't mind.


Suffering Browns Fans Won't Wait For Mangini

With the 5th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft the Cleveland Browns traded any chance of competing this season.

On Draft day last April when a desperately needed talent upgrade was there for the taking Eric Mangini decided it was worth it to cash in all of 2008's losses - and there were plenty - for even more losses in 2009. Trading down again and again, all the way down to pick 22 only to take a center? Wouldn't there be a talented center available sometime after the first round?

I didn't want to have to remind myself about the Browns 2009 Draft but I think it's important to realize that the Draft was actually the beginning of this self-funded tank job that has become the 2009-2010 Browns season.

This brings us to today: October 28, 2009.

The fact that the Eric Mangini Cleveland Browns are worse statistically than the Chris Palmer 1999 expansion Cleveland Browns completely defies all sensible logic and blows my mind. If you recall, the Browns were screwed by the NFL in 1998 when they were given a fraction of the time needed to put together a respectable NFL roster heading into the 1999 season. So a team that was mostly made up of rag-tag castoffs that nobody else wanted played with more heart and determination than a team of supposedly legitimate NFL-caliber players making millions more than those 1999 expansion players? Hate to say it, but yes.

It's not hard to realize that much of the 2009 Browns roster is made up of players who were hand-picked by Mangini because they either played for him in New York and bought into his "system" or are guys who he believes will buy into his system eventually. Throughout all of the dismantling of an already talent starved roster, Mangini seems to have already forgotten what makes the Cleveland Browns a semi-relevant NFL franchise in the first place:

The fans.

We've been dragged through the mud for the better part of the last decade and it's safe to say that many of us have become completely numb to most things Browns. Randy Lerner had a golden opportunity to hire somebody with the vision and passion to turn this thing around and give the fans a renewed hope that respectability would be restored and the sun would once again shine on this struggling franchise.

Instead he picked Mangini.

I can't figure out why it made sense to standby and watch his own tenure with the Browns get off to such a bad start. Then again, maybe Eric Mangini didn't do this on purpose. Maybe he actually thought the moves he made during the draft and his antics leading up to the season opener would actually result in some kind of success. I just can't believe that. No way, no how. He never cared about this season or what it meant to the fans and he set the 2009 Browns up to fail with the sole intention of collecting draft picks and "system guys" while torturing the fans with a product that is not NFL caliber by any means.

The only thing more questionable than Eric Mangini's antics is the assumption in Berea that the fans would be willing to suffer through this any longer. We've suffered enough. Thanks, but no thanks.


"In The Flow" or "No Go"

Welcome to the first installment of “in the flow” or “no go”. This is my version of fantasy football’s start em or sit em. Each week there are players that either under achieve or over achieve and I’m here to tell you in advance who those players will be. Maybe!

It is kind of out of the true fashion of the Cleveland Sports Flow to post about something that isn't strictly about Cleveland sports but i don't care what you think. It's my blog and i'll do what i want.

In The Flow

QB - Jay Cutler. Cutler is averaging 240 yards per game and 2 TD’s and lucky for him and his owners he’s facing a Cincinnati defense this week that is ranked 28th against the pass and giving up an average of 255 yards per game. Plus the Bengals lost they’re top pass rusher Antwan Odom which is going to make those numbers even worse.

RB – Ryan Grant. He’s facing the Browns. You could pretty much start any Packer this week and be safe but Ryan Grant is going to be out to prove something. Green Bay just resigned Ahmad Green because the organization is slowly giving up on Grant.

RB - Frank Gore. He’s back and he’s healthy. He is going to want to prove that he is better than Glen Coffee and lucky for him, Houston has given up more rushing touchdowns than any other team in the league, 10.

WR - Greg Jennings. I know, I’m picking on the Browns but think about how bad they’re defense is. Another factor to add in to this is they’re best corner flipped his car 3 times on the way home from a Jay Z concert early Friday morning. He was released from the hospital but who knows if he’ll have any minor injuries that keep him out of the game. Oh, and by the way, half of the Browns team has the flu!

No Go

QB - Brett Favre. I know this sounds a little out there since the Steelers secondary is a little suspect but if the Steelers keep a tight grip on the run game and force Favre to “make something happen” you can plan on him turning the ball over more than a couple times.

RB - Brandon Jacobs. First of all Ahmad Bradshaw is out performing Jacobs so far this year. Second of all Arizona has the #1 rush defense in the league.

WR – DeSean Jackson. I have two words for you……Champ Bailey.

WR – Miles Austin. The kid’s stock is rising up faster than a 14 year old at a strip club. He’s getting the start this week against Atlanta but don’t start him. The pressure will get to him. Besides, before his week 5 coming out party the kid had 1 touchdown and 81 receiving yards in the previous 4 games.


Cribbs Leaving Cleveland?

Could it be possible that Josh Cribbs is on his way out of Cleveland? It’s been circulating that he’s asked for a trade, and that’s not hard to believe.

The Dolphins, Colts, Chiefs, Raiders, Jaguars and 49ers have all shown interest in the Browns special teams ace and fan favorite.

It is known that Josh wants a new contract and as far as anyone can tell, that’s not going to happen, at least not this season.

I think Josh deserves a new contract but he’s not going to get the “Devin Hester” money he wants here in Cleveland. Is Josh the best special teams player in the NFL? Yes he is, and on both sides of the ball, but what he isn’t is a reliable receiver and in order to get the money he wants he needs to make some kind of impact on the offense.

It’s pretty obvious that Josh will never be a threat as a WR. He’s a poor route runner and his hands are not reliable. Where he needs to make his impact is in the “flash package” and that hasn’t been accomplished yet, but I blame the coaches for lack of imagination in said formation.

I’d be very surprised if a deal is made for Cribbs. Somebody would have to step way out of the box with a crazy offer. Is it possible? Hell yes, Josh is a game changer. Could you imagine a team like the Colts starting at mid field or better on 75% of they’re drives? Scary.

If Josh gets traded, don’t be surprised to see a fan revolt in Cleveland. The fans have been on edge since the return in 99’ and trading Cribbs could push them over it. Josh is probably the most liked player in Cleveland since Bernie Kosar.

But remember who we're dealing with here, Eric Mangini, and he's capable of just about anything.

UPDATE: This could get ugly. Apparently Cribb's agent is pissed. He claims the Browns are being unfair, in the fact that they won't give Cribbs the money he deserves and they also won't let another team do it either.

I think his agent is trying to cover his arse because of the crappy contract he let Josh sign in 06'.


Benching Quinn Is the Right Move

I've read a few fan blogs from around the NFL lately and something thing that jumps out at me is the assumption that Brady Quinn is getting screwed by the Browns and that's why he put his house up for sale and that he obviously wants out of Cleveland. After all, he was benched for a guy that just went 2 for 17 against Buffalo, right?

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that these "experts" didn't have the "pleasure" of watching Brady Quinn's performances in those first 3 games of the season. It's awfully easy for an outsider to say that Brady Quinn didn't get a fair shake while Derek Anderson can complete just two passes in a game and somehow keep his job. Obviously Brady Quinn should still be the Browns starter, right?


With the exception of the first half of the season opener at home vs. Minnesota the Browns offense under Brady Quinn was quite possibly the worst offense of all time. He held on to the ball too long, checked down too fast, didn't allow his WR's to run their routes and took too many sacks. There were times during the Denver and Baltimore games when the Browns weren't even threatening to complete a first down. Comparisons to the Tim Couch Era in Cleveland were drawn up but the conclusion was "at least the Browns could score with Tim Couch and a cast of nobodies". Leaving Brady Quinn in at that point would have been very damaging to his confidence, the entire organization and a fan base that was quickly losing hope that the Browns would improve under Mangini this season.

Say what you will about Derek Anderson but he has given the offense the spark they were looking for. He looked somewhat good against Cincy in a game the Browns could have won. Everybody is quick to jump on Anderson after the Buffalo game but keep in mind he was throwing into 40 mph winds for most of the game. The last time he played in a game with those kinds of gusts was in Cincy in 2007 and he threw 5 INT's and cost the Browns a playoff berth. Jamal Lewis went for over 100 yards in Buffalo so that tells you how much the Browns tried to throw the ball. They played conservative on offense and managed the game without committing a bunch of stupid turnovers and that's why they won the game. It wasn't pretty but it was something to build on moving forward.

Speaking of stupid turnovers, the Bills were flagged for more false starts in that game than some teams commit in an entire month. Much criticism has been thrown at the Browns this week but for the first time in a while they weren't the team that played undisciplined, careless football. That could bode well heading into Pittsburgh.

As a Browns fan I'm very disappointed because I had high hopes for Brady Quinn going into this season and I'm sad to see him go down like this but starting Derek Anderson is the right move, right now. What that said, if Derek Anderson is the opening day starter next season then we're probably in trouble.


Give Mangini Time

Lets all just sit back and relax for a minute. Lets really try to digest what is going on with this Browns team. I know it’s hard to do but we have to give them a chance.

The first thing we as fans must realize is Mangini and Kokinis walked into a huge mess, this team is terrible and it’s going to take a lot more than 5 games to turn things around.

No matter how you look at it, all of the people in charge of the team since 99’ have failed miserably. The one easy way to tell? There are only 2 players left on the roster that were drafted before 2006. Ryan Pontbriand (2003) and Brodney Pool (2005).

What’s the first thing that needs to be done when rebuilding a team? Get rid of the head cases. Get rid of the players that are going to make your job harder than it already is and get rid of the players that take on a me first attitude.

Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards. Two potentially really good players, but two players that are impossible to deal with. These are players that don’t know how to put the team first, players that only care about themselves.

As good as Braylon could be at times and for all the circus catches he made, they will never make up for the inconsistency and lack of concentration he had on the field 90% of the time, or for the distractions he caused off the field. This team will be better off with out him in the long run.

I’m just glad we could get something for him instead of just losing him when the season was over.
Is Derek Anderson the long-term solution at QB? I don’t think so but it could be worse, and at best he could be a 2-year solution.

At least we know he can move the ball, true he may get intercepted more than he gets the ball in the end zone but at least he gives us a chance to get there.

Unlike some other QB I won’t mention because he’s a gun shy pretty boy that completely blew his chances to be an NFL starter unless Derek gets hurt this year and he can redeem himself before he demands a trade in the offseason.

Mangini is rebuilding this team from the inside out. He is stacking this team with depth and lots of young talent. I for one am not of the thinking that building a team through free agency is the way to go (Phil Savage) but by drafting talented quality players in the draft.

Sure, once you have that solid core of players you can bring in your Randy Moss or Jay Cutler via free agency, but you must have a solid core of guys before you bring in your veteran pro-bowler.

Mangini, so far has 11 draft picks next year and he managed to collect 8 last year. We have to give this coach 4 or 5 years to see what he can build. If we throw him out of here before the rebuilding process is complete, the next coach will start the rebuilding all over again. We fans cannot afford that. We need a winner and the quickest way that will happen is if we stick with Mangini, even if that means suffering for 2 or 3 more years.

I believe this coach can get it done. I like his style and I like his attitude. Go Browns.


Braylon's Gone, is Brady Quinn Next?

With Braylon Edwards headed for Broadway it's obvious that Eric Mangini is planning for the future in Cleveland and if you wear the Brown and Orange and you're not in the future plans for the Cleveland Browns you may soon find yourself with a boarding pass to your new NFL destination. That includes you, Brady Quinn. Yes, you won us over with your Hollywood smile and toned physique and you melted our hearts with your Bernie Kosar replica jersey and helmet as a child but you let us down when we gave you the keys to the castle.

Without getting into what Brady Quinn's trade value could be at this point in his career, lets take a look at a few teams that might be interested in trading for the former first rounder...

Washington Redskins

Washington has spent more money on free agents than any other team in the last few years but for some reason they still think that Jason Campbell is a franchise quarterback. I'm not convinced. Quinn might not be a franchise QB yet either but his contract is affordable and most of the incentives are based on playing time so the financial aspects shouldn't scare Washington away. There's little risk in bringing him in to compete with Campbell for the starting job in 2010. There could be a new head coach in Washington before the end of the season and there is always the possibility that the new coach will want to start fresh with a young QB like Brady Quinn.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins made what appeared to be a very questionable decision at the 2007 NFL Draft when they passed on Brady Quinn and instead drafted Buckeye Ted Ginn Jr. and brought in veteran Chad Pennington. The result was a trip to the playoffs. Chad has since been bitten by the injury bug like he was for much of his tenure in New York. Chad Henne is the back up QB and may prove himself to be a quality starter in the NFL but I wouldn't put any money on it. Brady Quinn's athleticism would give the Dolphins' hyped Wildcat formation yet another wrinkle because he's not exactly wearing cement shoes out there. Would it make sense to trade for Quinn if your Bill Parcells and your sitting on South Beach sipping drinks with umbrellas? I guess time will tell.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle has been sitting on Seneca Wallace for a few years while Matt Hasselbeck slowly got older and less effective. That tells me that they are not 100% sold on Wallace as a starter in the NFL. Instead of testing the waters in the 2010 draft, Seattle may be willing to call Eric Mangini to test the waters about Quinn. Don't forget that the Seahawks gave Cleveland a 7th round pick for Charlie Frye after the debacle in Pittsburgh in 2007. This trade would cost them more than that but it may be worth it.

St. Louis Rams

Let's face it, the Rams are a bad team. The talent level is down and the owners are looking to sell the team. Marc Bulger got hurt so Kyle Boller will be manning the ship this week. Kyle-freakin'-Boller. I don't expect the current GM to make any bold moves but if somebody does buy the Rams and move them to LA there's a good chance that a roster turnover would begin soon after and Brady Quinn would definitely be a possibility but I think he'll be traded before the Rams are in position to make such a deal.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags are only a few years removed from beating Pittsburgh on the road in the playoffs. That's a heck of an accomplishment but it's not 2007 anymore and the Jags are in trouble. Much like with the Marlins and Rays there just isn't enough of a fan base to justify keeping the team in Jacksonville. The Jags are flirting with the idea of playing a few home games in Orlando to see if it might make sense to stay in Florida. While attendance is way down and home games are being blacked out here comes Brady Quinn, shirtless and riding a white horse ready to save the Jags from eternal damnation.

Carolina Panthers

I really wanted the Browns to trade Derek Anderson to the Panthers after 2007 but it never happened. I'm not sure if they would be interested in Brady Quinn but Jake Delhomme is 34 and just is not getting it done this year. He failed miserably in their playoff game last year against the underdog Cardinals and for some reason they rewarded him with a fat raise. As I said earlier, Brady Quinn doesn't have a huge price tag so Carolina could come calling before this thing gets out of control. There is plenty of talent on this offense with Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart so it's not as if Brady would be asked to win games single-handedly. Brady Quinn has shown that he can manage the game and make smart decisions with the football, which could be enough to make this team a contender again in 2010. If the Browns could somehow get Stewart in this deal I would do it yesterday.