Halfway through the season, owner Randy Lerner already decided that he had seen enough of GM George Kokinis and the team on the field stands at a sorrowful 1-7. There are no immediate signs of turning things around either and this could easily end up being the worst season since the franchise returned from the dead in 1999.
Since Craig usually covers the bullets recapping the actual Browns week, I decided to take a twist on this by detailing some of the bye week stories surrounding the team in bullet format.
As always, these are not meant to specifically cover every single depressing topic about your favorite football franchise but are only a select list of news items and personal thoughts. Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments.
- First we thought Ernie Accorsi would be the new “football czar,” but numerous reports shot that down immediately. The story of the hour now, according to ESPN, is that former Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren is the leading candidate for a new front office job with the franchise. Word on the street is that it will be a similar position as to what Bill Parcells does for the Miami Dolphins.
- I am not sure how I feel about having another coach in the front office such as Holmgren. Well, I guess it certainly can’t hurt to have somebody making sure Eric Mangini knows what he is doing, but wouldn’t it have just been better to give Holmgren a look for the head coaching job? He definitely has more experience than Mangini but I don’t recall his name being mentioned last season.
- Owner Randy Lerner is probably hoping that Holmgren will scare the sense back into Mangini. Who knows how many things he has done wrong in his tenure with this franchise, but somebody new needs to help clean up this mess. For a once storied franchise to be 1-7 and with no direction for the future is absolutely abysmal and it is good to see Lerner finally being proactive to fix things.
- I take serious issue with this sentence from Patrick McManamon’s Sunday report on the Browns in the Akron Beacon Journal: “One source told a story of Kokinis being called into coach Eric Mangini’s office shortly after his hiring, and Mangini laying down the rules under which he would have to operate.”
- There have been many other similar statements in the media recently, but it is incredibly alarming in the fan base to see such a thing happen. I mean, how can Randy Lerner still be satisfied with Mangini as his head coach after such conduct? Did he seriously expect this would happen and if not, why was Mangini not the one fired instead of “pleasant and nonconfrontational” Kokinis.
- Looking at the NFL Standings right now, there are currently six teams with one win or less on the season. Considering the fact that Cleveland still has to play Baltimore, Cincinnati, San Diego, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh, I think you would be hard-pressed to find an individual that thinks this team will win more than four games. The rest of the schedule is actually fairly easy with road dates in Detroit and Kansas City and a home contest against the Oakland Raiders.
- Thus, the evidence points to the Browns easily having a top eight pick at worst in this year’s NFL Draft. There are many areas of concern for this team not specifically limited to the following: a) quarterback of the future since Quinn is not starting yet, b) running back of the future since Jamal Lewis is retiring, c) a premier wide receiver now that Edwards is gone, d) a second Pro Bowl-caliber lineman with Joe Thomas, e) an intimidating force on the defensive line to help Sean Rogers, f) an aggressive linebacker the likes of which we haven’t seen since Jamir Miller and g) any sort of tackling, play maker in the secondary.
- That list pretty much covers every single aspect of the team for the future I suppose… But the fact of the matter is that this team needs a lot of help and this year’s draft will not make us even close to a playoff team. You can BOOK IT. Keeping an eye on the draft however, I encourage you to take a look at these impressive Web sites for their mock drafts and big boards: Walter Football, New NFL Draft, Draft Countdown, My NFL Draft, Scout.com and Draft Debacled.
- The majority of these sites have us selecting a quarterback and specifically, either Jake Locker out of Washington or Jimmy Claussen out of Notre Dame. Personally, I feel like even Peyton Manning could not lead this current roster to the playoffs and thus item of need a) from above is actually not the most important. Some individuals that do intrigue me are safety Eric Berry, offensive tackle Russel Okung, safety Taylor Mays and defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
- The dark horse in this entire draft, let alone just Cleveland’s strategy, will certainly be wide receiver Dez Bryant out of Oklahoma State. He recently declared for the NFL Draft after not being allowed to play for the Cowboys by the NCAA. He is next year’s Michael Crabtree and if the Browns have alternative plans to fix their lines, he could certainly be on the radar.
(The picture of Mike Holmgren above was found at this link here.)