I'll be honest, I did not expect Eric Mangini to remain on as Browns head coach. I thought he did a decent enough job and the Browns were better at the end of the season than it was at the start, which is a credit to Mangini. That being said, they started off 1-11 and despite their season ending four game win streak, there are still significant problems on both sides of the ball. I figured Mike Holmgren's emphasis on everyone being on same wavelength and dismissal of in house fiefdoms signaled Mangini's exit.
Not that I though Mangini had to go but it would make sense cut cord. Holmgren could honestly say that this isn't a statement about the job that Eric did but that they simply had philosophies that couldn't mesh. People may have groused about Mangini's unfair shake but it's not exactly difficult to build a case for his ouster. The blown second round draft picks, the absurd handling of the quarterbacks, starting Jamal Lewis over Jerome Harrison and the horrendous offensive playcalling are reasons enough to show him the door.
But Mangini stays (with his entire staff).
In some ways this is a win-win. If Mangini does a good job and the Browns play well, all the better. They did show marked improvement as the season progressed and it wouldn't be fair to give Mangini just one season (and I think Holmgren, being a former coach, knows this). If the Browns do poorly, Holmgren will already have a GM and front office in place and they should be able conduct a thorough, proper search (guys like John Fox and Jon Gruden could be available, nevermind Holmgren himself).
My one is concern is the length of Mangini's leash. I do believe that Mangini will try to make things work, it's really in his best interest. He's gotta know that if he flames out here, it's probably his last chance at a NFL head coaching gig. I just wonder if the Browns start off 0-4, how quick is Holmgren's trigger (and how strong is his itch to put on a headset)? I'd rather they just fire Mangini now than at some point during the 2010 season. Doing that just seems like a waste of time.
In other Browns news, Josh Cribbs has been whining about his contract over Twitter and saying that it's over. Great.
I love Josh Cribbs; he's far and away the best player on the Browns (he's basically their offense) and you gotta love having a guy from Kent State scoring TDs on Sundays. That being said, chill out man. The Browns just hired Holmgren and they don't even have a GM yet (you know, the guy who negotiates the contract with your agent). No offense, but figuring out the coaching situation takes precedent over a contract dispute.
I will say that I can't really disagree with Josh's complaint. If the Browns really did offer him $1.3 or $1.4 million, I can see why he'd be miffed (when his side offered $3 million per). However, I can't help but feel that these public outbursts are coordinated and part of a strategy. He may really feel that he won't be back next season and he's not wanted but getting the fans all riled up certainly helps his bargaining position.
I can't imagine Cribbs not playing for the Browns next year. It's extremely early in this process (the regular season hasn't been over even a week) and I imagine that the two sides will eventually come to some sort of agreement.