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The Mangini Show


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This turned up in a news search: http://www.ohio.com/sports/59134157.html


Hope it's fresh for everyone. :)








'The Mangini Show' is a test of who pays attention, and so far, its 'ratings' are good


By Marla Ridenour

Beacon Journal sports writer




POSTED: 05:04 p.m. EDT, Sep 12, 2009


BEREA: Showing up for Eric Mangini's morning team meetings hung over, groggy or unprepared is not a good idea.


Not when the clock strikes 9 and it's time for ''The Mangini Show.''


That's what fullback Lawrence Vickers said most of his fellow Browns call the new coach's question session that begins their day. Vickers calls it ''Jeopardy.''


''I say 'Jeopardy' because it can be on a wide range of things,'' Vickers said last week. ''He asks you something and you can phone a friend. But you don't want to phone a friend because that's bad. He gives you a little time to answer. Sometimes he might give you the beginning letter of the word. He'll say, 'Are you sure? Is that the answer you want to stick to?' Then you get to thinking, 'Am I sure?'


''When you come in in the morning, you better have gone over your stuff and studied.''


Sometimes the questions involve aspects of the opponent that have not been presented, showing Mangini which player really studies. Ten-year veteran tight end Steve Heiden, the second-longest tenured among the Browns as he embarks on his eighth season, appreciates the approach.


''The handouts you get, I haven't been with a guy who really asks you in that fashion,'' Heiden said. ''You see teams just show up half asleep and think you can get through it. All the information you're given, you're truly held accountable for.''


Receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs said he might fumble when Mangini asks what quote is posted inside the locker room door.


''I've got to be, 'Uh, uh, uh' without looking at the notes,'' Cribbs said.


Mangini's quizzes were a shock to the Browns' systems, especially after the lazy days under former coach Romeo Crennel.


METHODS UNCHANGED Despite being fired by the New York Jets on Dec. 29 after going 23-25 in three seasons, Mangini has not changed his methods in his second time around. Hiring him Jan. 8, Browns owner Randy Lerner didn't give Mangini enough time to debate his downfall or second-guess his Jeopardy answers.


Mangini dove in headfirst, renovating the Berea complex where he first worked in 1994 as a ball boy and public relations intern. The locker room was expanded, the players' lounge moved, meeting rooms enlarged, a new display for the Browns' hall of famers added in the lobby.


A dress code for flights was instituted that requires a coat and tie in the regular season and prohibits sweatpants and tennis shoes, although nose tackle Shaun Rogers flaunted the latter on the preseason trip to Green Bay, which probably cost him a fine. Only healthy snacks are available on the plane; gone are the M&Ms that Crennel favored. Award-winners in the offseason program received preferred parking spots.


A detail freak, Mangini came to get-acquainted meetings with media members armed with spreadsheets and statistics. His four core values — communication, focus, finish and trust — were painted on the practice fields in such a way that one of the words would appear in every frame of film the players watched.


Mangini admitted he is such a technology geek that he subscribes to every magazine in the genre he can get his hands on, looking for applications for football. He tells his sons good-night via Skype video conferencing. Obsessed with repetition and muscle memory, he envisions a day when his quarterbacks will find themselves in a room throwing at a spot on the wall.


Heiden said Mangini has not gone through with his plan to install Skype on players' cell phones, but Heiden said, ''If we can, I bet he will.''


Mangini's coaching style did not go over well at first.


''In the beginning, guys were a little leery about what was going on, not really sure,'' quarterback Derek Anderson said in a recent interview on a Portland radio station.


Anderson said at one practice during the spring, they spent a full day where the defense played offense and the offense played defense. Linebackers moved to tight end, defensive backs became receivers. Quarterbacks ran the offense with defensive players.


''It was kind of fun,'' Anderson said. ''I think guys gained a little bit more respect for what each other had to do.''


Free safety Brodney Pool thought that was the best of Mangini's stunts.


''I caught a couple [passes],'' Pool said. ''Everything he does, he has a reason behind it. I think it was a good thing.''


Jim Nantz, the voice of CBS Sports, broadcast several Jets games last season because of quarterback Brett Favre, now facing Mangini again Sunday at the helm of the Minnesota Vikings. At the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards in January, Nantz predicted Mangini would take the Browns to the Super Bowl.


''I know he's a Belichick-minded disciplinarian,'' Nantz said last month at CBS headquarters in New York. ''But I go into these meetings and I try to read people. I always liked what I saw in Mangini. He has his critics around here because he didn't make many friends. That's not what the relationship is necessarily supposed to be about. That can rub people the wrong way. But when I look at his record, I think he'll do a very good job.


''He's so detailed. He got the template from being around Bill [belichick]. He's got everything laid out. Nothing's going to get past him. I just think he's very underrated.''


FAVRE'S ENDORSEMENT Hall of Fame-bound Favre spent just one season with Mangini and believes that Mangini will be successful.


''People can say what they want about personalities, player coach, having fun or being rigid, who's to say one's better than the other?'' Favre said. ''His coaching style was different than what I was accustomed to. From my experiences, I knew it would work. Yeah, it's different, but it comes down to the players buying into what the coach is doing.


''He's extremely sharp and leaves no stone unturned. He keeps his stamp on things, he wants to make sure guys know everything that's going on. His philosophy, as every coach should be, is a team. Why does Brett Favre have to know the goals on special teams? He wants to breed this concept of 'We're all in it together' and I think that's a good thing. It's not always the most talented teams that always win, it's the teams that play the best together as one. I totally agree with that.''


Favre took the blame for the Jets' collapse last season after an 8-3 start. They lost four of their last five, when he was playing with a torn biceps, and finished 9-7. Players complained privately to the New York Daily News about Mangini's game plans and his inability to make adjustments. He was criticized for three controversial decisions in a 13-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 21 that left the Jets 0-4 on the West Coast. One Jets blogger called the team ''unprepared, unmotivated and unwatchable'' in that game, even with the playoffs slipping away.


One wonders how much Lerner looked into that collapse or if he dismissed it because of Favre's injury. There certainly was a rush to hire the once-Mangenius. Lerner obviously didn't hear anything like what CBS analyst Boomer Esiason, the former Jets and Bengals quarterback, said recently, criticizing Mangini for the ''environment of insecurity'' he creates.


Perhaps, like Belichick, Mangini will change in his second time around. His organized methods seem like a breath of fresh air after Crennel and Butch Davis. But all the quizzes in the world won't tell him whether to punt, kick, or go for it on fourth down. And as he drills his players on the details, he walks a fine line on how far to go before they stop buying in.

Marla Ridenour can be reached at mridenour@thebeaconjournal.com. Read her Browns blog at http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/browns/. Follow the Browns on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ABJ_Browns.




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