Finding Truth in Mangini’s Firing

Now that the initial dust has settled and we have heard from Mike Holmgren about the latest coach to hit the turnstiles in Berea, it is time to get down into some details.  

I keep reading and hearing the same things over and over again, and I want to at least do my best to set the table as I currently see it.  I am going to do my best to paraphrase the things that I have been hearing on Twitter, in comments sections and from some of my friends.

Question – “Stability is good.  How can Mangini’s firing be defended as Cleveland yet again tries to find their coach of the future?”

Mike Holmgren agrees that stability is important.  He said that in his press conference explicitly.  He clearly would like to find a coach who will be in Cleveland for the long haul.  You get the sense from listening to Holmgren talk about Mangini that he wishes Mangini had become the guy.  He obviously didn’t think Eric Mangini was the guy for the job after working closely with him this year.  Mike Holmgren can believe in stability as an organizational strategy and also fire Eric Mangini after only two years.  The two notions aren’t mutually exclusive.

Question – “But Mike Holmgren said that the Browns were improved.  How can he justify firing a guy who was improving the team?”

Improvement is a relative term.  Obviously Holmgren thought that Mangini didn’t do enough with what he was given.  He said it pretty flatly the he had higher expectations for this season.  Holmgren thinks that he can find another coach who can take the Browns to a higher level than Mangini, even though Mangini improved the team.

Question – “But isn’t this just another complete rebuild?”

A complete rebuild would include a new general manager like when Crennel and Savage were shown the door.  The front office is staying intact.  Further, the cool thing about what Mangini did here in Cleveland is that it can be transferrable to the next coach.  Mangini’s contributions to the Cleveland Browns, in my estimation, have almost nothing to do with scheme and they aren’t things that live in some proprietary playbook.  The discipline and practice mentality that Mangini leaves behind can easily be picked up by the next coach.  The good habits he leaves behind should be as easy to continue as it was hard to break the bad habits left behind by Romeo Crennel.  Holmgren will have to find the right guy to do it though.

Question – “But I don’t want Marty Mornhinweg to be the next coach of the Browns!”

There is nothing left to do but hope Holmgren gets the right guy.  The PD is reporting that the Browns want to interview the Giants’ Perry Fewell.  How many people know that name?  That one alone gives me hope that Holmgren won’t just go with the guy with the biggest name.

Granted, you have to assume Holmgren will also talk to John Fox, Marty Mornhinweg and maybe even “this guy” John Gruden.  But, if you take Holmgren at his word, the Browns will be casting a “wide net” in looking for the next coach of the Browns.  If you believe what he said during his press conference you have to assume that the Browns will not just select the first big-name easy target.  And if Holmgren truly believes what he says about wanting continuity, he will choose a young guy who can attempt to be here for the long haul.

Question – “But what if Holmgren coaches himself? He didn’t close that door.”

I know everyone wants to continue to run with this angle, but I feel like he closed the door.  Holmgren just doesn’t want to talk in absolutes.  Then again, when asked about coaching positions in other cities outside of Cleveland (IE San Fran,) he did say absolutely that he wasn’t going to “do that.”  I believe Mike Holmgren wants to find the next coach of this team outside of himself.  I think the only reason he won’t say “I will never ever coach again” is the 1/1000th of a percent chance that a situation arises where he has to go back on his word.

At this point, he would be better off saying “I am never ever going to coach again” and then deal with doubling back some point in the future if he has to break that promise.  His unwillingness to do that has kept the local media salivating over this (non) point and it is starting to drive me a bit crazy.

That’s how I see it at least.  I am sure you will all tell me what I got wrong in the comments.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    Bluto…I’m not sure where you’ve seen anyone say that all the losses were due to bad coaching. As a general rule, I don’t like dealing in absolutes.

    Was much of the losing Mangini’s fault? Yes.

    Was it all his fault? No.

    Does the fault lie, in large part, with the players as well? Of course it does.

    This is why you’ll see many of this team’s players get “fired” in the offseason along with Mangini.

    Frankly, your cynicism for other posters’ comments puts my semi-regular cynicism to shame. I tip my hat to you sir.

  • 6thCity

    @ 47- That sounds like a bunch of Mularkey. BAM! DID IT!

    In all seriousness, I’m very excited to see what sort of names come up in the press the next few weeks. I really do think that Holmgren is going to be very thorough regarding the search. It also appears that he will go with youth. I’m calling that we will end up with a promising, young coordinator. You know, to invest in some “future stability.”

    Two things i think are worth remembering:

    Last time any of you applied for a job, you filled out an application, gave them a resume, etc. but a pretty big part of it was likely the interview. These prospects for the new job won’t be judged solely on what they did in Tampa Bay, or Carolina, or even lsat season; that’s the resume part. The part where they have a few hours to sit at a conference table in Berea and convince Holmgren et al. that they are the man for the job is very, very important. Guys like Gruden may say “what can you do for me?” Young coordinators may ask “what can i do for you” or, even better, “here is exactly what i can do for you.”

    Secondly, great analysis Craig and great comments, as usuall. I say that because my next point isn’t at all original, but never-the-less worth stressing: A vast majority of the good that Mangini accomplished here will likely stay here. That’s a big plus.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    I think a contest for posters to name the eventual new coach of the Browns may be in order…editors, eh?

  • humboldt

    @Cbus – “As a general rule, I don’t like dealing in absolutes.”

    That mentality – which I think most of us share – is why WFNY continues to set itself apart from the whingeing that occurs on most sports websites and the Internet in general.

  • Denny

    Only the Sith deal in absolutes, humboldt.

  • Walt Whitman

    Give me a minute if you’re able, but now that Tom Cable is available, we must get him and Mike Vrabel, drive them cross country in a mercury sable, get Lerner to come to the table, and shed this loser label. Maybe they could even keep Dabol?