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Posted by Mike Florio on January 1, 2009, 8:44 p.m.


Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is suddenly a man in demand.


A league source tells us that Tucker will interview with the New York Jets for the team’s head-coaching position.


On Wednesday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Tucker will interview with the Browns for the job held most recently by Romeo Crennel.


Tucker, who is African-American, would permit the Jets and the Browns to satisfy the league’s Rooney Rule, which requires at least one minority candidate to be interview for every head-coaching vacancy.


A reader suggested to us that the Browns shouldn’t be required to comply with the Rooney Rule this time around, since they hired an African-American candidate the last time they were searching for a coach. But one of the goals of the rule is to ensure that every search will be diverse and that, along the way, minority candidates will gain experience in the interview process.


Also, the fact that any candidate is interviewing for a head-coaching job gets his name into circulation, making him more likely to be considered for future vacancies.


That said, the Rooney Rule has gotten results — and we believe it is healthy and appropriate to engage in a continuous debate as to whether the NFL still needs to make race an issue in its quest to ensure that race won’t be an issue.


UPDATE: Tucker won’t be interviewing with the Jets. He’ll be interviewing “in New York” with the Browns. Our mistake.

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editThat story was corrected....he went to NY to interview with Lerner and the Browns.



So, the Browns have looked inside the club for a possible HC....and it was NOT Chud. They brought Mel Tucker out to NY for an interview.


Personally, I think this accomplished 2 things.


It satisfied the Rooney Rule...and it threw the defense a bone (disgruntled due to the RAC firing).


Otherwise, this was a meaningless interview IMHO.


In other news...the Browns have either interviewed or have scheduled an interview with:







As for McKay...there was some misinformation. The Browns are NOT ALLOWED to interview him by league rules until the Falcons season is over. Therefore...it was not that Mckay was rebuffing the Browns...but rather that he was not available for an interview per league rules.


As for Mangini...apparently the Browns were VERY impressed with him...and may be willing to forgo Pioli if the 2 can't work together. It was implied in todays paper that Mangini may even have a favorite 'personnel' guy who could step in. This would open the door for Mckay or any other GM/VP currently available.

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This is just a rooney rule interview i find it to be unfair on tucker who has no chance vs the competition unless randy flat gets denied by every other truly qualified candidate..


It looks like randy is ready to take the training wheels off the bike but im seeing what appears to be gentle rebuffs of the browns open GM job really who that has talent wants to come to cleveland?


I give randy an A for his effort but fear that alone is not gonna be enough to land us a quality/qualified GM...


If its true pioli would bring ferentz instead of mcdaniels he loses value with me im really not big on for-rentz and think there is far better options available on the otherhand what do i know other than i generally favor offensive coaches..

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Here is a little more from Pluto (it was referenced in another thread...but only part of it). This backs up the comment that the Browns are REALLY high on Mangini...and may even forgo Pioli (if it comes to that) to land him:


Scribbles in my Browns notebook

by Terry Pluto, Plain Dealer Columnist

Friday January 02, 2009, 12:15 AM


Don't be surprised if Eric Mangini becomes a major figure as the Browns look for both a coach and a general manager. The former New York Jets coach met with the Browns on Tuesday, and they came away impressed. The Browns want a different-type coach from Romeo Crennel, with more emphasis on discipline and organization, and they think Mangini could be the guy.


The Browns prefer not to hire a rookie coach. They have done a ton of research and believe a coach in Mangini's position -- having spent a few years with one team, then fired -- often is much better the second time around. Tony Dungy (fired by Tampa Bay, Super Bowl in Indianapolis) and Bill Belichick (fired by Art Modell, Super Bowls in New England) are two recent examples. Mangini spent three years as the Jets' coach: 10-6, 4-12 and 9-7. He will be 38 on Jan. 19.


Based on their research, the Browns believe a new coach's most important hires are the offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, offensive line and defensive back coaches. The research also shows rookie head coaches often swing and miss in two of those key four hires -- whereas experienced head coaches have more success building a staff that works well together.


Yes, the Browns will talk to some assistants who have not been head coaches before, but it does not seem to be the direction that they want to go now.


Looking back to 2005, Randy Lerner was a rookie owner who hired a rookie GM in Phil Savage and a rookie head coach in Crennel. The two coordinators -- Todd Grantham and Maurice Carthon -- also were rookies. The Browns don't want to get through all that again.


The Browns are not sure where they stand with New England Vice President Scott Pioli. Kansas City is also courting him and it would not be a shock if he decided to stay in New England for another season. Like Bill Cowher, he can go on the market after the 2009 season and still be a hot item. I sense the Browns would love to put together Pioli and Mangini. Supposedly, the two with Belichick roots still get along despite Mangini turning in Belichick on the Spygate charges.


Leadership, communication skills and creating an identity for the team remain on the top of the list as the Browns interview coaches and executives. After firing Crennel and Savage, they targeted these three experienced football men: Mike Holmgren, Cowher and Pioli. Holmgren and Cowher say they will sit out 2009. They did interview Pioli, but realize they have to find other candidates. When Mangini was fired Monday, the Browns were immediately intrigued because they like his leadership skills.


What about the Jets' collapse? Mangini had them off to an 8-3 start, then they lost four of five to miss the playoffs. There were problems, but the biggest was the arm injury to Brett Favre. In the 8-3 start, Favre had 20 TD passes and 13 interceptions. In the 1-4 decline, it was two TDs and nine interceptions as Favre was playing with a torn bicep.


Quarterbacks can make or break coaches. Derek Anderson's hot start saved Crennel's job in 2007 and helped the coach to a contract extension. The Jets thought Favre had a better chance of staying healthy than Chad Pennington, whom they cut. Pennington went to Miami, didn't get hurt and made team president Bill Parcells look like a genius as he had 19 TDs compared with seven interceptions.


If the Browns do hire Mangini, they must pair him with a GM who is committed to the coach. Part of the Browns' problem in 2008 was a huge split between the front office and coaching staff over several players. That led to finger pointing from both directions. The Browns see how the Indians and Cavaliers stay not just on the same page, but even in the same sentences when their GMs and head coach/manager appear in public.


As for Mike Shanahan, the Browns might talk to him. But the former Denver coach has won only one playoff game since 1999, and is .500 over the past three seasons. As of now, he does not appear to be at the top of the list. Nor is Marty Schottenheimer in the current picture. Everything is subject to change, but Mangini is in the center of conversation right now.


I really like what the Browns are doing. I know a lot of you are worried that we are getting rebuffed, but I don't see it. I actually see it as the Browns are being thorough and that THEY are in control of this process.


The rumors that the Browns put a 'deadline' on Pioli turned out to be false. And it sounds that they are not ready to 'sell the farm' to get him either. It also sounds that they are looking for a TEAM instead of a bunch of parts.


That, to me, is a sound approach!

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