The Cleveland Browns officially ended perhaps the worst kept secret in the team's long history today by hiring former New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini to direct the fortunes of the Browns for the next four years.
First off, I don't have a problem with hiring Mangini as many do.
Yes,he had a losing overall record in New York (23-25),but that was mainly due to the dreaded sophomore flu,which occurs when a team leaps higher in record against a weaker schedule and pays for that against a tougher schedule the following season.
This flu hit Cleveland this year and New Orleans in 2007 ,while a version of the virus could be headed to Atlanta,Arizona,Baltimore and/or Miami next season.
So,I don't put much stock into that problem.
I also have little trouble not being angered by the Jets late season failings that saw the Jets lose to four of their five opponents (three of which finished with losing records).
Many point to this as reason enough to pass on Mangini.
But there are a few issues that make me not as happy about the hiring as I could be.
The biggest is his apparent obsession with hiring good friend George Kokinis as the general manager.
Since Randy Lerner apparently was obsessed with hiring a coach with previous experience,why would he not be just as interested in tabbing a GM with experience as well???
Well,it seems that Mangini and GM to be named getting along was a major issue to the Browns after it appears (after the fact) that Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage were far from on the same page.
The Browns have committed to an interview with the Eagles Tom Heckert and I would feel much better about all of this if Cleveland enters the off season with a Heckert/Mangini team instead of a Kokinis/Mangini duo.
It is unknown whether the Browns are truly interested in Heckert (scheduled to interview next week) or if it was just a media leak to take the increasingly negative media focus off Kokinis.but one can hope that the Browns are serious in hiring Heckert.
If Heckert turns out to be the choice,the Browns would finally have the type of experienced football man at the helm that both Pittsburgh and Baltimore have had for years and Heckert would step in without a learning curve,which is also a positive in the hiring of Mangini.
Editors Note:Heckert has withdrawn his name from consideration since he would have no say in the hiring of the head coach.
This development pretty much says that George Kokinis will be the GM....
I also wish that the Browns would have talked to more candidates.
I know they made the obligatory trip to Mecca to talk to Bill Cowher and talked to Mel Tucker to satisfy the Rooney Rule,but no interviews with coaches that I would have loved to at least seen given a chance.
Marty Schottenheimer is 65,but would have been very motivated to turn the ship and fast.
Many saw his age as a detriment,I saw it as an advantage-he didn't have time for a long time rebuilding term.
Dan Reeves brought three different teams to the playoffs and two to the Super Bowl and reportedly is looking for one last run.
I really like what Russ Grimm would have brought to the table as he would have been the perfect fit-tough,hard nosed football and would have had the added bonus of a grudge against the Steelers for the way they hosed him in favor of Mike Tomlin.
Jim Schwartz of Tennessee seems to be a star in the making for someone and has a Cleveland background,but the Browns canceled his interview after talking to Mangini.
None of those candidates even got an interview.
I don't have much of an opinion on the new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll,who is moving with Mangini from the Jets where he was the quarterbacks coach,but I do like the hiring of Rob Ryan from the Raiders as the defensive coordinator.
I have been a long time admirer of Buddy Ryan and the defenses that Rob had put together in Oakland were underrated when considering the constraints that Al Davis seems to place on the Raiders organization.
So,I will give Mangini a plus and a undecided on his first two hires.
All and all,I am open minded on this one and despite wishing that there had been more of an open process,I am on board.
However,be ready for next weeks screaming post on the hiring of George Kokinis.......
The New Jersey Devils play their last home game for the next 13 days tonight against Atlanta.
Here is hoping that we get a better effort than has been given lately.
Our friends over at Bag of Health and Politics sends us this sad note on the shooting of former Hagerstown Sun Robby Tolan in his own driveway on New Years Eve.
Tolan was reportedly unarmed and best wishes for things working out well for the outfielder.....
The Attorney General of the state of Utah is launching an investigation into the BCS for Anti-Trust violations..
Now I think the BCS is as rotten as anyone,but can anyone tell me that in this time of multiple troubles in our nation that the top problem in the state of Utah is the Bowl Championship Series???
Tonight's National Championship Prediction-Oklahoma 41 Florida 31
The lovely Cherie sends us this list of verbal miscues by the soon to be former President over the years.
A final word to the Republican Party and their supporters.
Think back to about eight years ago to all the terms that were thrown at Al Gore for his appeal of the Florida fiasco such as Sore loser and the type and now look at the same people that are telling Norm Coleman of Minnesota to appeal,arbitrate,sue etc for his loss to Al Franken for the Minnesota Senate seat AFTER a full recount was finished (something that was never allowed in Florida).
Frankly,I think Coleman has the right to take any measures that he wants and have no problems with it.
I mean why run if you didn't want to win and take every possible legal measure to do so,so my problem isn't with Coleman,it is with the GOP members that called Gore and his campaign everything that they could think of for his attempts,but encourage Coleman to do the same thing.
Hypocrisy at its finest....
Mangini:John Kuntz:Cleveland Plain Dealer
Coleman vs Franken:Terry Gydesen:MinnPost.com