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Eric Mangini, Year One


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Eric Mangini, Year One: A Tony Grossi analysis

SOURCE: www.Cleveland.com

By Tony Grossi

January 04, 2010, 9:14PM

 

 

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Joshua Gunter / The Plain DealerThe Browns certainly responded to Eric Mangini with their strong finish to a 2009 season that began 1-11. Tony Grossi looks at more than the final record in analyzing the head coach's year with the franchise.

 

BEREA, Ohio -- Eric Mangini's fate as coach of the Browns rests entirely in the hands of incoming President Mike Holmgren.

It's Holmgren's call and nobody else's. Owner Randy Lerner evidently signed off on this decision during the recruitment of Holmgren when he offered him the choice to coach the team, if he wished.

 

A week ago on a teleconference interview, Holmgren said, "Any decision I make regarding the coaching staff, or anybody there, will not be based on three games or two games or one game, or anything like that. I think it's the total body of work. I've got to see progress. I've got to see things going in the right direction and then I'll make my decision."

 

The Browns were certainly heading in the right direction, winning their last four games to finish 5-11. But in evaluating Mangini's "total body of work," Holmgren must weigh decisions Mangini made off the field as well as on it.

 

Here's a look at the good and bad in Mangini's first season as coach -- and de facto total football authority -- of the Browns:

 

THE RECORD

Good: Winning the last four games was something not accomplished since 1986. The Browns are only the second team in the 16-game era to finish 5-11 after a 1-11 start. The 1993 New England Patriots were the first, and they reached the playoffs the following season. The streak started with the first win over rival Pittsburgh after 12 straight losses.

 

Bad: For three-fourths of the season, the record was the worst in franchise history. No Browns team ever had gone 1-11. Only three losses were by seven points or fewer, which means the team was non-competitive in eight games.

 

OFFENSE

 

Good: Their rushing totals over the last four games were mind-boggling -- 171 (against Pittsburgh), 351 (Kansas City), 164 (Oakland) and 214 (Jacksonville). That was the first time the Browns rushed for at least 160 yards in four consecutive games since 1968. The surge improved the offense's ranking to eighth overall in rushing the ball. It's the highest the Browns have ranked since 1985, when Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner each surpassed 1,000 yards.

 

Bad: The passing game was mostly pathetic. The team failed to total more than 100 yards passing in four of its five wins. Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson combined for 11 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and an overall passer rating of 55.8. That was not much better than the 2008 team rating of 54.8, which included the efforts of injury replacements Ken Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski. The overall offensive ranking was 32nd, one notch below the previous season and dead last in the league for the first time since the 1999 expansion year.

 

DEFENSE

Good: Despite no player with more than 6 1/2 sacks, the team finished with 40 -- the most since 2001 and more than double last year's total of 17. The unit held its last five opponents to an average of 110.6 rushing yards -- about one-fourth less than its season overage of 140.6. If nothing else, the defense played more aggressively than the previous four seasons under Romeo Crennel.

Bad: The 375 points allowed were 25 more than last year. The 31st overall yardage ranking was the team's worst since 1999. The 28th ranking against the run equaled last year's ranking.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Good: They ranked first in punts inside the 20, second in punt return average and average start after kickoffs, and fifth in kickoff return average. Josh Cribbs led all returners with four touchdowns (three on kickoffs, one on a punt) and was third in kickoff return average and fourth in punt return average. The Browns also did not allow a touchdown return for the first time since 2005.

 

Bad: Not much.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

Good: They finished third in fewest penalties with 77, and eighth in penalty yardage with 678.

 

Bad: Despite a clampdown on turnovers in the final month, they were 29th with a turnover differential of minus-12.

 

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

 

Good: Cribbs had his finest year on offense and became a force in the WildDawg formation with 381 yards rushing and a 6.9-yard average. Jerome Harrison exploded for three consecutive 100-yard rushing games, including a franchise-record 286 against Kansas City and a franchise-record 39 attempts against Oakland. Over the last four games, Harrison was the NFL's second-leading rusher. Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley led the team with 6 1/2 sacks and had his second-highest number of tackles. Nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin took over for injured Shaun Rogers in Game 12 and spearheaded an improvement in the run defense.

 

Bad: Anderson and Quinn each had his worst season, by the numbers.

 

DRAFT

Good: Center Alex Mack played every snap and was one of three rookie linemen to start every game. Receiver Mohamed Massaquoi co-led the team (with Harrison) with 34 catches and was first in receiving yards (624), average yards per catch (18.4) and touchdowns (three).

 

Bad: Receiver Brian Robiskie was inactive for four games, went without a reception in eight games and finished with seven catches for 106 yards. Linebacker David Veikune was inactive for six games and did not record a tackle on defense or special teams. Cornerback Coye Francies was inactive for 10 games and was credited with two tackles and one pass broken up.

 

Incomplete: Running back James Davis had a good training camp, but didn't have time to show much before being lost with a shoulder injury.

 

PLAYER ACQUISITIONS

Good: In-season pickups Matt Roth (four sacks), Jason Trusnik (54 tackles, two sacks), Chris Jennings (220 yards rushing, one TD) and Evan Moore (12 catches for 158 yards) all made significant contributions in the second half of the season.

 

Bad: Chansi Stuckey had 19 catches in 11 games. Reggie Hodges averaged 39.8 yards punting (in a lot of bad weather games) with a net average of 36.4.

 

TRADES

 

Good: Acquiring Carolina's sixth-round pick for defensive lineman Louis Leonard. Acquiring Tampa Bay's fifth-round pick (in addition to a second-rounder last year) for tight end Kellen Winslow.

 

Bad: Trading the No. 5 overall pick to the Jets for the No. 17 pick, a second-round pick and players Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam and Brett Ratliff. Getting only a sixth-round pick from Tampa Bay to move down two places in the first round and getting only a sixth-round pick from Philadelphia to move down two places in the first round.

 

To be determined: Trading receiver Braylon Edwards to the Jets for third- and fifth-round picks in 2010, plus Trusnik and Stuckey. The selections with the draft picks could sway this decidedly in the Browns' favor.

 

ELSEWHERE

Good: Improving discipline on the team, on and off the field, with a series of unpopular rules and moves that turned out to be right on.

Bad: Hiring George Kokinis as general manager and firing him halfway through the season. Giving Erin O'Brien a prominent position in the organization and then having to fire her after multiple complaints from players and staff members. Being indecisive on the quarterback position from beginning to end. Creating ill will by making rookies take a 10-hour bus trip in May to work Mangini's charity clinic in Hartford.

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2010/01/eric_mangini_year_one_a_tony_g.html

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If he is truely looking at the total body of work looking for improvement then mangini stays. If the first four game streak in 23 years isn't improvement then I don't know what is. If Holmgren is willing to let mangini run a 3/4 the team Mangini should stay.

 

If Holmgren wants this team to be built with his own vision of what works then mangini will not be here.

 

There is a lot of talk about the west coast offense but any offense can use parts of the west coast offense. But, if you look at the really successful ones they have very good QBs

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If he is truely looking at the total body of work looking for improvement then mangini stays. If the first four game streak in 23 years isn't improvement then I don't know what is. If Holmgren is willing to let mangini run a 3/4 the team Mangini should stay.

 

If Holmgren wants this team to be built with his own vision of what works then mangini will not be here.

 

There is a lot of talk about the west coast offense but any offense can use parts of the west coast offense. But, if you look at the really successful ones they have very good QBs

a very very weak schedule coming down the stretch for one

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I'm not sure that I agree with all that much of the analysis. But what do player acquisitions and draft have to do with the "body of work" relative to the position that Mangini's being considered for -- HEAD COACH.

 

Isn't it already decided that Mangini will NOT be the acting GM and that Holmgren will have final day on just about everything with the possible exception of weekly game plans?

 

I mean, if we are going to consider Mangini's "body of work" outside of coaching, let's look over to the Jets' situation with pro bowl draft picks like Revis and Mangold and free agent moves like Faneca and Thomas Jones. But why would we look at that at all if it is not going to be part of his job description?

 

 

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I'm not sure that I agree with all that much of the analysis. But what do player acquisitions and draft have to do with the "body of work" relative to the position that Mangini's being considered for -- HEAD COACH.

 

Isn't it already decided that Mangini will NOT be the acting GM and that Holmgren will have final day on just about everything with the possible exception of weekly game plans?

 

I mean, if we are going to consider Mangini's "body of work" outside of coaching, let's look over to the Jets' situation with pro bowl draft picks like Revis and Mangold and free agent moves like Faneca and Thomas Jones. But why would we look at that at all if it is not going to be part of his job description?

 

And Calvin Pace and Brad Smith and David Harris and Leon Washington and Alex Mack and MOMASS,..I'm pretty sure Mangini has some idea how to spot talent..more importantly talent at value..in the NFL thats an important skill..There's a little thing called the salary cap..Mangini's body of work has been impressive throughout his NFL career..every GM or Coach picks a few busts..what the hell its not an exact science, but overall Mangini is on the positive side of the ledger in my opinion...We have the right coach people.lets hope 'the Big Show" sees it our way

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Isn't it already decided that Mangini will NOT be the acting GM and that Holmgren will have final day on just about everything with the possible exception of weekly game plans?

 

 

Excellent point.

 

The evaluation should be on his coaching ability, not his ability to select players or hire GMs/

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And Calvin Pace and Brad Smith and David Harris and Leon Washington and Alex Mack and MOMASS,..I'm pretty sure Mangini has some idea how to spot talent..more importantly talent at value..in the NFL thats an important skill..There's a little thing called the salary cap..Mangini's body of work has been impressive throughout his NFL career..every GM or Coach picks a few busts..what the hell its not an exact science, but overall Mangini is on the positive side of the ledger in my opinion...We have the right coach people.lets hope 'the Big Show" sees it our way

 

Great point about the cap. This team has been set up with a clean slate across the board. Established an identity on Defense, Special Teams, and in the Running game. It's the dream job in the NFL if you ask me, and Mangini got us to this point with a TON of tough decisions that took someone with some balls. Being that he had the vision to get us here, I'd like to see what the guy has in mind with what to do with it from here.

 

Holmgren can make his presense felt with the franschises' overall structure, and to please his coaching itch, he can get involved in the decisions about the passing game and offense.

 

Screw the media, keep Mangini.

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WCO is a useless buzzword anymore. i hate it almost as much as i hate FTW.

WCO wont work in cleveland anyway. we can never pass in november or december because of the weather, and the WCO relies on lots of short passing routes.

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Mangini has done something we havent seen in the last decade ,he has established a disciplined system and has earned the players confidence...the players now know what it means to be a cleveland brown ,we have seen guys like robaire smith and cory williams whom ive called everything from bums to sacks of shit in the past turn out to be a decent and growing players within mangini's system...i didnt like daboll and i didnt fully understand mangini's overall offensive plan of suffer now and rule later but i wont "miss it" this time.. under mangini our offense is still heavily in developement and missing several pieces...

 

I think EM believes certain basic things have to be done right before genuine "progress" can be made by opening and expanding the playbook and while it has killed us as fans to watch this junk on sunday as the players grasp certain fundamental techniques and disciplines i have grown to think our offense under mangini will eventually bloom into an unstoppable killing machine..under mangini we have only seen the tip of the offensive iceberg...

 

His plan has always been to do it the right way but man he made some real bumbles along the way..heres to hoping he is our coach next year....

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TRADES

 

Good: Acquiring Carolina's sixth-round pick for defensive lineman Louis Leonard. Acquiring Tampa Bay's fifth-round pick (in addition to a second-rounder last year) for tight end Kellen Winslow.

 

Bad: Trading the No. 5 overall pick to the Jets for the No. 17 pick, a second-round pick and players Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam and Brett Ratliff. Getting only a sixth-round pick from Tampa Bay to move down two places in the first round and getting only a sixth-round pick from Philadelphia to move down two places in the first round.

 

 

This is the only part of the whole summary I disagree with. Sure it was disappointing what we received when trading down in the first round, but in the end they got their guy in Mack. Who can say they're disappointed in Mack's play and his attitude? That dude loves to get out into the second level and lay down the LBs. He wasn't the sexy pick, but like Joe Thomas at #3 overall he was the smart pick. Lack of talent is everywhere on this team, and I for one was glad to see him fill a lot of spots with real football players instead of a single skill position with a diva.

 

KEEP MANGENIOUS

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Great point about the cap. This team has been set up with a clean slate across the board. Established an identity on Defense, Special Teams, and in the Running game. It's the dream job in the NFL if you ask me, and Mangini got us to this point with a TON of tough decisions that took someone with some balls. Being that he had the vision to get us here, I'd like to see what the guy has in mind with what to do with it from here.

 

Holmgren can make his presense felt with the franschises' overall structure, and to please his coaching itch, he can get involved in the decisions about the passing game and offense.

 

Screw the media, keep Mangini.

 

 

I listened to Holmgren's entire speech last week and did not get the impression from anything that he said that Mangini is on the bubble. Quite to the contrary, he stated that he is not a fan of hooking a coach after one year, but needed to see progress. I think he will see that and that Eric will be back next year. He's in a win-win situation if he keeps Mangini. If they win, he can sit back and direct the operations of the team (fans are happy because people are optimistic again). If they lose next year then he can say "Mangini was not my guy" and we need new coach. I firmly believe that if he hooks Mangini this year it will create a dark cloud over the team again and kill any optimism that the last 4 games have created. The media hates him because he removes them from the equasion. You only have to read 1 article from Mike Florio to realize how biASSed these jacka$$es are. I could be wrong, but I think he stays.

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