Breaking News: Eric Mangini Has Been Fired

Whether it is fair or not will probably be debated for a long time, but we finally have word that Eric Mangini is out of a job in Cleveland.  

Mike Holmgren reportedly made the move this morning, in a meeting with Mangini who has two years left on his contract with the Browns.  

Mangini leaves behind a mixed legacy with two 5-win seasons of work that will appear sub-par in the record books.  He will also leave some with the negative images of Randy Lerner fumbling a major organizational hand-off.

Eric Mangini was fired from his previous head coaching position with the New York Jets on December 29, 2008.  Mangini was then interviewed and subsequently hired by Randy Lerner and the Cleveland Browns on January 7, 2009.  This was on the heels of Lerner’s housecleaning sweep of head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Phil Savage.

Eric Mangini made many of his own problems in Cleveland, but he also paid for Randy Lerner’s haste.  Mangini could hardly be blamed for getting himself hired less than a month after losing his job in New York.  The problem was that his new boss, Randy Lerner, hadn’t figured out a structure for the Browns organization.  He hadn’t hired a general manager.  He didn’t yet have a team president reigning over the organization as Mike Holmgren does today.  

Given that, Eric Mangini was “the man” in Berea and should have just been the head coach.

George Kokinis was hired to be the general manager, but his “partnership” with Eric Mangini never developed.  Kokinis never appeared to be making any of the decisions regarding player personnel during the draft or in trades.  In the end, Kokinis found himself fired in a whispered-about mess of failure and accusations as Kokinis was allegedly “escorted” from the building in Berea.

There will also be a glass half full view of Eric Mangini’s tenure in Cleveland should the Browns turn things around.  Many will point to the out-of-control team culture that existed under previous coach Romeo Crennel.  Mangini’s teams were disciplined.  They hit in training camp and practiced in the Cleveland elements in fall and winter.  Mangini also had the unenviable task of needing to trade away talented players like Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards due to outlandish attitudes and financial demands.  As thanks for making tough decisions, Mangini would get a bad rap for not being able to get along with “star” players.

As with anything else, it is probably shades of grey.  Mangini came in one way, and leaves a different person.  He was clearly influenced in positive ways by his time with Mike Holmgren.  It was more than apparent in the improvement in his press conferences on a weekly basis.  Mangini still played games with discussing player statuses throughout the week, but not nearly as cryptically or obnoxiously as he did prior to Holmgren’s arrival.

Regardless, Eric Mangini’s tenure in Cleveland is finished.  He was given another lease on life at this time a year ago by the incoming Mike Holmgren.  Whether it was a fair audition or not is up for debate, but it was more leeway than many in the media and fan base thought Eric Mangini would ever get from Holmgren.

Who knows what’s next for Mangini?  If Matt Millen can get a TV job…

  • bobby

    Piscetelli (SP?) is not just a ST guy. He’s a guy like Roth who was a high pick that didnt see eye to eye with the coach. I think him and Ward could be starting next year.

  • bobby

    Thanks for clearing up the GM situation Mark. I do feel slightly more comfortable with Gruden. Seems like his TB situation was more like Mangini year 1. I would think he knows what hes doing with McCoy if they go that direction.

  • sealedhuman

    Thanks for your reply, Matt S.

    I think DP made the best point of all: Holmgren was hired to run this organization, and it is only fair that he have a chance to make his own personnel choices. Regarding continuity, we have successful and well respected individuals serving as Team President and General Manager. Once we find a coach who fits with the system that Holmgren envisions, I think the results will be better and the continuity for which most people clamor will be possible.

    I agree that Gruden is the most qualified candidate just by the numbers. Anything beyond that is merely unsupported speculation. Aside from Gruden, I would be interested in Fischer as well. Fox isn’t that appealing to me since he didn’t really build a sustainable program in Carolina (even when they were a playoff team, they were wildly inconsistent). I doubt Cower would come here for any reason.

    What does everyone think about Steve Mariucci?

  • Harv 21

    For those chanting “consistency!,” a little perspective is in order.

    Holmgren attempted consistency by keeping a guy from a completely different football “school” an additional year rather than sweeping him out as he entered. He’s gotten his close look and doesn’t like it. Holmgren is one of the leading offensive football minds of his era; imagine what he was thinking watching a 5 year NFL head coach mangle time management like a player’s dad filling in during a peewee football game.

    Consistency at coaching is effective when part of the three-legged stool of effective franchise leadership and player procurement. Just because you’ve had it up to here with new coaches, it doesn’t mean that Mangini would have been any more effective long term than Romeo, Butchie, et al. Holmgren is here with a fresh eye, not our pent up disgust. Let him diagnose the problem and do the thing he’s here for.

  • BB

    Deep sigh…

  • JM

    Cleveland is the JV squad of the AFC North. Can’t hang with Pittsburgh or Baltimore. Sadly it may be like that for a while.

  • OmegaKing

    I don’t understand why everyone is so concerned with blowing up the roster. What is there to blow up? We have, what, 14 wins over the last 3 years?

    People act as if the Browns are the best team to ever go 5-11 in the history of everything.

  • Chris

    I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath for me to weigh in (lol), so here it goes:

    I will lose no sleep whatsoever over this. I would have stuck with Mangini for one more year, if it were me making the decision. That said, Holmgren is infinitely more informed and better at running a football team than I am.

    I will say this: The speed of this firing says pretty clearly to me that Holmgren has had his mind made up for a while. Probably that he already has a verbal agreement with a successor. I will be interested to see who that is, I’m thinking Gruden might be a done deal already, which would be the only clear upgrade from Mangini that I can see.

    Now, the part I don’t like is that we are back at “year 0″ in the rebuilding process for the umpteenth time since ’99.

    /sigh

    Here’s hoping our latest rebuild is finally successful.

  • Chris

    I don’t understand why everyone is so concerned with blowing up the roster. What is there to blow up? We have, what, 14 wins over the last 3 years?

    People act as if the Browns are the best team to ever go 5-11 in the history of everything.

    Because many people feel that we final have the right culture and some legit talent for the first time in more than a decade. Blowing everything up when it seemed like we may have been set to turn the corner is upsetting and demoralizing.

  • Matt S

    Watching the presser with Holmgren, something became clear to me: Mangini knew his days with this club were numbered long ago. According to Holmgren, Mangini asked him if Holmgren was going to return to coaching, and I’d infer that he meant at the expense of Mangini. Before the Pittsburgh game, he was already telling his players that it’s been great and that he was thankful for the opportunity.

    I like Eric Mangini. Hearing Holmgren talk about him at the press conference only proved my point there. I think he was never given a fair shake here. People bitched when he was hired. People were calling for him to be fired after his first year when he had close to nothing to work with. I think he’s a good coach, as even the ESPN analysts pointed out that the general feeling around the league was that the Browns were “well-coached”.

    Holmgren said that getting “the right guy” was going to be difficult, particularly because there are so many other openings out there. In my opinion, the real improvement next year, if there will be any, will be because the team gets better players. I don’t think firing Mangini is going to upgrade the coaching staff.

  • MattyFos

    @bobby 22

    Dallas and Minnesota quit on their coaches. Period. End of story. Those players gave up hoping to get Wade and Chilly fired. They succeeded.

  • OmegaKing

    @ Chris #59 – But just because you change coaches doesn’t mean you’re blowing everything up. Same president and GM – new coach. Could be a very similar scheme (defensively only, I hope) and many of the same players. I wouldn’t call it blowing it all up until it happens.

    I’m not in love with it, because I thought Mangini had something going…but, then the last month of the season happened, and now I’m not so sure.

  • Nicky Z

    I think that Eric Mangini was an honest-seeming dude. He put a team together that made me proud at times, and I’m sad that he didn’t do better during his time in Cleveland. Good luck to you Eric.

    But, for everyone who’s bashing Holmgren and getting upset about Mangini – Mangini oversaw two of the most DISMAL offenses that the Browns have boasted since their return, he didn’t have a great draft in 2009, his methods of clock management are questioned seemingly every game, and he has TWO wins within the AFC North in TWO YEARS. Injuries you say? Yeah, the Browns went through a bunch of QB’s and had a lot of injured players on D throughout the year, but the QB’s weren’t playing that great anyways and all the teams have injuries. Lack of talent and bad drafts you say? Sure, the Browns aren’t necessarily stacked with talent but the Buccaneers and Chiefs (they’re NFC I got it) were just as bad a year ago and they seem to do alright. Strength of schedule you say? Aight, but they got beat by the bad teams too.

    As for Holmgren, he’s done some pretty positive stuff. He did the ring of honor thing, He brought Heckert here, He brought McCoy here, why wouldn’t he grab a decent HC? And if he does want to coach the team himself, he’s taken a couple teams to Super Bowls… we haven’t had a coach that’s done that since the team’s return… mabye it’s what the team needs.

  • bobby

    Matty, are you trying to tell me that 2 teams with SB aspirations quit on their coach before the season started? sorry, not buying.

  • Wheel

    All I can say is I’m glad Matt S. is not in charge of the Browns.