CLEVELandMILIDH Posted May 13, 2009 Report Share Posted May 13, 2009 Mangini has believers in Browns The Independent Posted May 11, 2009 @ 09:51 PM -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PERRY TWP, OH — New Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini did not address the Hall of Fame Luncheon Club at Tozzi’s on 12th Street Monday afternoon. Browns President Mike Keenan did speak and the first question he took from the audience was from an irate fan wondering why Mangini had snubbed the club. Keenan danced around Mangini’s absence with aplomb, pointing out that the former New York Jets head coach has been extremely busy and hopes to be a guest of the HOF Club this time next year. In his third year with the Browns, Keenan is responsible for the business side of the operation including broadcast operations, sales and marketing, and negotiating players’ contracts. But he spoke passionately about the choice of Mangini, who succeeded the fired Romeo Crennel as the team’s fifth head coach since its return to the NFL in 1999. The Browns research told them that hiring a candidate with NFL head coaching experience was the way to go, and that gave Mangini a leg up once interviews began in January. “It doesn’t mean that is the only way you can have success and that has been evident the last few years,” Keenan said. “But if you look back the last 10 or 15 years, (previous NFL head coaching experience) is a really important thing. “Since the Browns have been here in 1999 we’ve gone the other routes and it really hasn’t worked that well.” Keenan recalled that Mangini had been dismissed by the Jets on a Monday and had his initial interview with Browns owner Randy Lerner two days later. A more extensive interview was held that Friday and Mangini’s preparation impressed the Browns. “He had looked at all 16 games and had broken down game tape and was prepared to talk to Randy Lerner and myself about exactly what he saw on this team and the strengths and weaknesses and the items he needed to change,” Keenan said. Once hired, Mangini wasted no time in building a staff – coordinators first. “He felt as though as good a head coach as he was, he needed to get coordinators,” Keenan said. “Within a week we hired coordinators, two of whom (Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders, and Brad Seely as special teams coordinator of the New England Patriots) were successful at the coordinator level with other teams.” With a coaching staff in place, Mangini turned his attention toward the Browns’ roster. Keenan explained how the new coach established six core characteristics he wanted to see in each Cleveland Browns player: • Competitive • Intelligent • Physically and mentally tough • Hard working • Selfless • Prioritizes football Keenan noted there was no mistake that “competitive” was at the top of the list. “Eric told me ‘I want a guy that when you’re playing checkers with him, he wants to beat you at that. I want somebody who has a competitive nature to him.’” Keenan related. “Eric Mangini is in the process of building a team with those core characteristics.” Keenan claims Mangini has been a dedicated and tireless worker since being hired to revive the Browns football fortunes following last season’s dismal 4-12 record. “He has been working non-stop since he got there,” Keenan said. “This past weekend he took Thursday, Friday and the weekend to go back home and see his wife and kids. It is the first time he has been out of the building in quite some time.” As for reports there is already a disconnect between Mangini and the players, including Pro Bowl nose tackle Shaun Rogers, Keenan insisted just the opposite is true. “(Mangini) has sat down face to face, man to man with each player,” he said, “to explain his expectations to them, to have an opportunity to listen to the concerns they may have, to communicate, to set goals and expectations and to let everybody know they are accountable. There is accountability involved. “We think we have the right man for the job and hopefully in September it will show on the football field.” Of course, Crennel wasn’t the only key member of the organization the Browns needed to replace after last season. Phil Savage was relieved of his duties as general manager and George Kokinis was hired to replace him weeks after Mangini came aboard. Keenan pointed to Kokinis’ background in player personnel as a primary selling point. “He has a solid knowledge of players and scouting and all that goes into being a general manager,” Keenan said. “He is a very hard worker. Talk about tireless, he was there until 1 or 2 in the morning every night to get ready for the draft.” But what probably got Kokinis the job as much as anything else was his ability to connect with the head coach. That was a problem during the Crennel-Savage era. “That’s really an important point, to have the head coach and the general manager on the same page,” Keenan said. “We think they’re in step right now and we’re excited about it.” Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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