Hey, You! Want to be our General Manager?

Phil SavageBecause I don’t really know if anyone else does.

Since Hurricane Lerner tore through the Cleveland Browns front office, the one thing that we all agreed on at this here site was that we wanted a General Manager and a head coach that had strong communication and believe in the same system.  Typically, to get that done, you hire the general manager first and have him choose who he wants to steer the ship.  But with Eric Mangini receiving an “exceeds expectations” on his interview for the HC gig, the Browns are finding themselves running out of options for said GM slot.

Randy Lerner did his best at justifying the selection of a head coach following yesterday’s press conference. 

“When you are going out to hire a head coach and a General Manager, it seemed to me that the head coach hire is the more urgent one,” Lerner said.  “The longer you wait, the less people are available.”

But as we pointed out, as well as Mike Florio, there was no one else even considering Mangini at this point in the search for filling vacancies.  But with the tendency of a general manager to want to have say in things (crazy notion, I know), we now have once-possible GMs pulling thier name out of the ring.  Tom Heckert, currently a member of the Philadelphia Eagles front office was considered for the job – but has since canceled his interview, which was scheduled for today.  Reportedly, he was a fan of Steve Spagnuolo (NY Giants) and was “uncomfortable” with the choice of Mangini. 

Couple this with the fact that Scott Pioli was not only anti-Mangini (allegedly, due to “Spygate”), but wanted even more control than any of the other names on the board, and he would not be coming to Cleveland any time soon.

Art Model, Ozzie NewsomeProFootballTalk hints that Lerner may actually want Mangini to have more control than the whomever fills the GM slot – which I’m not sure will woo many other candidates over to Cleveland.  Baltimore has been very touchy on George Kokinis as Ozzie Newsome is getting tired with Lerner fishing in his pond.  Reportedly, Kokinis will not be allowed to even consider the move without a clear, defined role ahead of time. 

The PD reported last week that current Browns director of player personnel T.J. McCreight, Phil Savage’s (former) “right hand man.”  Perhaps this is just a warm body to fill the role that will ultimately be run by Mangini?  Or perhaps it is the last resort for a position that was thought by many to have quite an impact on the team.  I cannot speak for Lerner in this one, but one thing that I do know is that our GM choices are slowly disappearing.  If Kokinis decides to not come to Cleveland, or (worse yet) Baltimore does not allow him to, expect a mad dash for anyone willing to take on the job.  Internal or not.  You know, since those “internal” worked out so well over the past few years…

  • MacNip

    Looks like Lerner wants Mangini to have a ‘Cowher-like’ head coaching role. Having a major say in the personnel decisions

  • Merrick

    Well, according to the Beacon Journal, Heckert’s interview was only “postponed.” In other words, he’s trying to kindly say no?

    I’m starting to like this Mangini hire… Pluto put out some good points on one of his latest articles. But Lerner is basically giving him what ever he wants… way too much power for a fourth-year coach with no respect around the league.

    Barring some miracle, we’re going to have a GM who is basically useless… do we really want one guy (basically) running this whole team? He better have some skills in the draft… Hey, Savage is still out of a job, right? :-D

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    So, Eric Mangini is now suddenly qualified to hold both positions? Wasn’t the Butch Davis fiasco enough to tell us that the job is not for one man alone? And if we were going to allow one man to try it, is MANGINI the right guy for that?

    I just audibly sighed.

  • RandyOSU

    With Respect To The Invisible Man:

    1.) If Mr. Lerner won’t speak directly to the public to explain his decison process than I don’t want to hear nary a word from him. I don’t want to hear anything anymore via intermediaries. Not acceptable. Not anymore. Not this time. It’s extremely insulting that the man won’t say two words to his customer base. Unacceptable, no excuses.

    2.) Mr. Lerner has zero credibility, background, track record, et al in regards to leading the process he just completed in regards to hiring a coach. He’s not Dan Gilbert in any respect, and any comparisons to the CAVS, their organization, and/or their processes should cease and desist.

    I don’t want to hear from or see pictures of Randy Lerner anymore, he’s now as irrelevant to me as I (and the
    Cleveland Browns customer/fan base) are to him.

  • brad in atl

    Florio is an idiot and worse yet a Pittspuke fan so I try to ingore anything he says about the Browns. Kokinis is coming to Cleveland.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    Everyone stop the world….Randy wants off.

  • Boomhauer

    I’ve had some pretty good seasons in my Madden franchises with the Browns. I think I’ll send my resume in to Randy Lerner. I’m probably almost as qualified as whoever we end up with.

  • JJ from Alaska

    Does anyone think this whole attempt to give Mangini power is basically a gesture to tell him “we won’t brett favre you”? Mangini’s face just reeked of “why did we bring this guy in” with each INT #4 threw.

  • Spaniard

    Baltimore can’t block Kokinis from becoming GM of another team. They only have the power to block lateral moves.

  • Chris M

    @ Boomhauer – I think I would make a better candidate, I have won 3 consecutive BCS championships in my NCAA dynasty. I believe I can handle the GM duties quite responsibly.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    “Baltimore can’t block Kokinis from becoming GM of another team. They only have the power to block lateral moves.”

    Right… but just calling him the GM won’t be enough for Ozzie. He wants to see clearly defined roles for him to make sure that he’ll be in charge of actual GM items.

  • Boomhauer

    @ Chris M – Big difference between college and the pros. Didn’t you learn that from Butch Davis?

  • MacNip

    @ Rick – I don’t think we are talking Butch Davis power here (at least hopefully we are not). I think Randy’s plan is to get a GM who will work with Mangini to bring in the type of players Mangini wants (i.e. not Phil Savage who liked to bring in whoever he wanted to regardless of their fit within the system)

  • Boomhauer

    @MacNip – Romeo had a system?

  • MacNip

    @ Boonhauer – HA! well, no, not really. But he did try and run some semblance of a 3-4 and Savage did not bring in 3-4 defensive players. I have a feeling we will see a major overhaul of our defensive front 7. I see McGinest, Andra, Wimbley, and Corey Williams all being shipped out. I honestly would like to see Wimbley give MLB a shot

  • RandyOSU

    Spaniard:

    Would that be a “Kok Block”?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    I guess I missed when ProFootballTalk became the gospel truth. Believing what you read there is like throwing darts in the dark.

    Anyway, I think we need to just relax and see what happens before we all get too angry. There are still a lot of scenarios that have to play themselves out here yet.

  • Jay

    @ MacNip – I believe McGinnest is gone to retirement anyways. I feel bad his last (supposed) season was so awful .I’d love to see the other 3 go. They couldn’t stop my 3 legged dog from running in a circle.

    My biggest fear is them not being able to find a GM willing to come here, and since Romeo is “still part of the orginization”……….

  • Harv 21

    Guess I’m good with all this. If the coach is right, he can take his’n and beat your’n, or take your’n and beat his’n. Why worry so much about the talent evaluation and personnel acquisition, as long as they’re all on the “same page.” The same page, that’s what’s most important. If the personnel guy’s a little weak, coach can take care of that in his spare time.

  • Nick

    @RockKing

    Spot on. Let’s all take a deep breath and see what happens.

  • Zach

    @RandyOSU

    ….(crickets)

  • http://www.lswtf.com JackGonzo

    Listened to Willie on NFL Radio yesterday, he may sign a one year deal to play for Mangini, and not break the bank doing it. Didn’t say it, but sort of implied it.

    Wimbley is not a MLB, whoever said that is really clueless. This defense is built for the 4-3 not 3-4. Davis is a free agent and will probably go away, thank god. Now if we can’t sign Sean Jones, the good news is Taylor Mays should be at the number five spot (if we don’t trade down) and the kid is the second coming of Ronnie Lott. I don’t see as many moves as folks are foreseeing, this was Corey Williams first year as a DE in the 3-4. The guy can play, and should do really well if Ryan comes as our D-Cord.

    Though, I’m not against hiring Savage once again and leaving the 53-man roster to Mangini instead of Savage.

  • mj

    @ JackGonzo: Agree with most of your points, but as for Savage… only if he is strictly a scout, and has absolutely zero authority to:

    1. Negotiate and sign contracts.
    2. Negotiate trades.
    3. Make draft picks.

    The way this guy handled those aspects of the business is really going to hamstring this next regime. He overpaid players (too many to mention, but how’s $35m/7yrs for Stallworth for starters), screwy bonus structures (seen the latest on DA’s deal?), and giving up too much in trades (we’re already missing three draft picks for this year, with only Shaun Rogers to show for it, who got his contract reworked as a market FA deal in addition to us losing a player and 3rd rounder to get him.) I can’t see anybody trusting Savage’s judgment doing anything other than filing a scouting report–dude destroys everything else he touches.

  • MacNip

    @ JackGonzo – I suggested Wimbley should be moved to MLB in the 3-4, please tell me why he wouldn’t fit. You were very quick to call me clueless (which I find hilarious) without giving an explanation as to why I am.

    First of all, Mangini has already said he is running a 3-4 so stating that the defense is built for a 4-3 is useless. It’s not happening. Doesn’t matter what the players on the current roster are suited for.

    I would rather see Wimbley using his quickness to fill a gap and straight line blitz than watch him try and rush to the outside of the LT on every single play.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    now now … no need for name-calling.

  • brad in atl

    Little off topic here but would taking Rey Maualuga at 5 be too big of a reach? The dude seems to have a nasty streak and that is something sorely lacking on this team.

  • GreatDane

    I am certainly not going to say that the Mangini/Kokinis team will work but I think I may understand why it could work. Granted Kokinis contract will have to have the language that gives him final say on roster & draft (if what I read is correct) but it will really be a team effort. Remember the Parcells quote “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.” Mangini gets to do the shopping and Kokinis can handle the signing of players and other GM duties that you dont want the head coach being distracted with anyway.

  • bobby

    honestly, our defense isnt for a 3-4. it isnt for a 4-3 either. we are a player away in one direction or another to each possibility, but thats beside the point. and rey is a reach at 5 as of now. I like taylor mays personally, but i have heard that he could go anywhere really. that dude can hit though, he knocked out his and a penn state player in the rose bowl (granted he got flagged for helmet to helmet). I think he would make WR think tiwce about wanting to come across the middle though, and in turn help our CBs.

  • mj

    Tony Grossi reporting that McKay has now also decided that he wants nothing to do with the Browns position, and that Kokinis is unlikely to leave BAL as well. Nobody wants to work for The Randolph, clown that he’s shown himself to be…

    http://www.cleveland.com/brownsbeat/index.ssf/2009/01/cleveland_browns_gm_search_los.html

    Hey Randolph:your primary requirement for the job is to be on the same page with Mangini… I can do that. Pay me half Savage’s salary and I’ll be a part of whatever consensus Mangini wants. I can use just about any old draft publication and do as good a job as Phil did in that dept… and really, how hard can it be to pay any FA whatever amount they want? It’s not like Phil negotiated any good contracts for you–I can hand out blank checks just as well. Just throwing my hat in the ring…

  • mj

    Can anyone offer up a good reason why Floyd Reese hasn’t been considered? The guy has an excellent track record when it comes to drafting players that stick in the NFL… not like that would be any help to the Browns, would it?

  • GreatDane

    I agree MJ that Reese should at least be considered. From the article below it at least sounds like Reese would have interviewed Mangini had he been GM.

    http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2009/01/browns_coaches_records.html

    “If I was a GM right now, I think he would be the top of my list,” Reese said. “I think he got a real bad deal with the Jets. Even the press conference was strange. The owner said something about it not being a knee-jerk reaction. But, I mean, the guy was 8-3.”

  • RandyOSU

    Forget about any credible GM candidate being interested in this job, period-after your owner already hired the coach. It’s Mangini’s gig, lock stock and barrel.

    Whoever ends up sitting in my seats in section 346 during this regime, enjoy!

  • mj

    The Randolph now comes out and says that he’s smarter than everyone else:

    http://www.ohio.com/sports/browns/37370434.html

    ”Fans say I don’t get it, I’m not a football guy, but I’ve been doing this six years in a row,” Lerner said. ”When you think about it every day of your life, you do pick up one or two things.”

    ”These are going to be two guys reporting to me, not one reporting to the other. I’m not going to fall into that trap.”

    What, the trap that seems to work for successful NFL teams? And they’re going to report to you… while you’re in NY or across the pond. We saw what happened when the last GM/HC were running the asylum. I don’t fault The Randolph for being an absentee owner, but there needs to be SOMEBODY in charge! Jesus. The man has a college education. He should have at least a basic understanding of management philosophy.

    “The duties are greater than just trying to get local support. I want to put the club in the right situation. That takes learning and listening and experience and taking the nightmare we’ve had over the last half dozen years and making some sense of it.” In the six years since the Browns made their last playoff appearance in 2002, their combined record is 33-63.

    Has The Randolph done one thing to indicate that he’s learned anything at all through experience? I only see him preparing to make the same mistakes. I see an arrogant man, who in the past has acknowledged that he’s not a football guy and just wanted to make the right hires, who is now digging his heels in and determined to prove that his way is better than anyone else’s. God help us.

    It is a dark time to be a Browns fan.

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  • Kidd Ken

    If George Kokinis is “under contract” to Baltimore. But has cleaned out his desk. One would assume that he is going somewhere.
    If he is announced as a GM then he must follow NFL guidelines to speak to people he wishes to hire, if he is not announced as a GM a conversation could go like, IF I were to accept the Browns offer would you like to join me.
    After all there are still teams playing. And wouldn’t we like to be one of them?