Scott Raab on Eric Mangini’s First (and Only?) Two Seasons as Browns Head Coach

by Cleveland Frowns on December 30, 2010

Scott Raab is a native Clevelander and longtime writer for Esquire Magazine who’s writing a book on LeBron and the life of the Cleveland sports fan set to publish by Harper Collins in early 2012. Raab also maintains an active twitter account and has been tweeting about Eric Mangini with increasing frequency in recent weeks. His opinion of the Browns coach is less than complementary, so we asked him to explain outside the confines of Twitter. We’re honored that he’s agreed to do so here:


First of all, thanks to Pete for giving me a chance to post here. Frowns is my go-to site for Browns analysis — nobody learns anything by being unwilling to ponder other points of view — and I welcome the opportunity to shed Twitter’s 140-character shackle.

Some context: I moved away in 1984. I have my Chief Wahoo tattoo, my ’64 NFL Championship Game ticket stub, and my passion for the town and its teams, but I can’t claim an emotional investment equal to the die-hard fans who call Northeast Ohio home. All the same, I don’t need both hands to count the things in this world that I care about like I care about the Browns, Cavs, and Tribe. At 58, I don’t know if I’ll live to see another Cleveland champion crowned. That’s not a good feeling. It feels lousy. So while I truly enjoy a cogent and lively debate, winning arguments about Cleveland teams means squat to me. All that matters is those teams winning games. I could never root for any Cleveland team to lose — never have, never will.

A few points that frame my point of view about whether Eric Mangini should keep his job:

1. I lived in Philadelphia from 1991-1996, and I’ve lived in North Jersey since moving there from Philly. I’ve followed the Eagles and Jets closely, and I paid close attention to Mangini’s time as the Jets’ head coach. I saw him go from boy wonder to bum in three seasons. His supporters here tend to blame Brett Favre for the Jets collapse down the stretch in 2008, but that team boasted seven Pro-Bowlers, and lost four of its last five games to miss the playoffs. Mangini was fired the day after the season ended. To this day, I have yet to hear a Jets fan voice any regret for his departure.

Eight days later, Randy Lerner hired Mangini and gave him total control of the team, right down to hiring his own GM. Despite my tweeting, I have no respect for an ad hominem argument; while Lerner may be “an impossibly disinterested transient anglophile baby-billionaire” (no different from calling Mangini an insecure, obsessive martinet incapable of leadership), my only criterion is Lerner’s ability to identify and hire talent capable of turning the Browns into a team that can win a Super Bowl. He had shown no such ability — quite the opposite — until he hired Mike Holmgren.

2. Like Pete, I firmly believe that stability is an essential ingredient for organizational success. I loathe the Steelers, but my admiration for them is boundless. They hire, draft, and develop talent as well as any team in pro sports. Their record speaks for itself, and their excellence has been built on a consistent, systematic approach to the business of winning football games, precisely the opposite of what the Browns have demonstrated since 1999.

This makes Pete’s attempts to pick apart Holmgren’s career absolutely fascinating. It’s an aspect of Cleveland fanhood that has been part of my experience for decades now: The culture of losing has been so deeply entrenched and internalized that failure somehow can be explained away — that a shabby won-loss record can virtually be dismissed as a meaningful standard of failure — while winning games doesn’t actually count as evidence of excellence. Absurd.

Holmgren’s record speaks for itself. I’m sorry — genuinely sorry — that Cleveland fans have had to watch each of their teams outcoached and outmanaged over and over and over for so many years. I’m not blind to the fact coaching success requires a critical mass of playing talent. But I do believe that a more experienced, successful coach than Mike Brown would have made a difference to the Cavs. I do believe that Eric Wedge’s teams underperformed. And I don’t believe that handing any team over to a leader with a long record of success at the highest level is tantamount to tearing a team down and starting over from scratch.

3. We can argue forever about whether the Browns have made “enough” progress under Mangini to justify keeping him on the job. We can’t argue about their won-loss record. If the Browns win Sunday, Mangini’s coaching record will be 11-21, a winning percentage worse than Romeo Crennel’s.

Pete makes a persuasive case that Mangini’s record as Browns head coach essentially doesn’t matter because the Browns lack enough talent to win consistently, because the Browns have been more or less competitive all season long, and because it’s all Tony Grossi’s fault. Game after game — and loss after loss — he has not wavered. Far from it.

But I’m not persuaded — not even close. I see a Browns team that fails to adjust offensive and defensive strategies within games, that can’t manage the clock or its time-outs with minimal competence, and that has lost close games to teams with less talent. To blame all of that on the players is essentially to say that a coaching staff makes no difference. (And blaming it on Tony Grossi is delusional.) When I look at Eric Mangini, I see a head coach whose won-loss record — in Cleveland and in New Jersey — speaks for itself, and whose tenure as Browns head coach will rightfully reach its end on Sunday afternoon.

  • Anonymous

    Really appreciate it, Scott. A few points in response:

    1) To the extent that Jets fan bought the front office’s look-away scapegoat gag on their failed Favre experiment, and that Mangini built a football team (after, you know, three seasons) that made it as easy as could be for the boisterous charlatan Ryan to take over, nobody should be surprised that you haven’t heard any complaints from Jets fans yet. Bet that changes a lot after this divisional playoff round. And if the window closes on these Jets, your premature argument on this point is obliterated to shreds.

    Really, at this point it’s basically a matter of historical fact that Mangini was unfairly scapegoated in New York:

    It’s a subsidiary but especially sad consequence of your position that you’d dismiss the chance at the triumph that Mangini’s success in Cleveland would represent.

    2) The point of scrutinizing Holmgren’s record is to show that he’s had the most success when he was surrounded by exceedingly talented people, like Ron Wolf and Brett Favre. It’s funny to criticize Lerner’s track record when you want to cast a bad light on the Mangini hire, then ignore that with respect to the Holmgren hire simply because Holmgren was lucky enough to be a part of a great organization in Green Bay and the worst division in NFL history in Seattle. It takes a group of talented diverse minds to get the job done.

    3) Would have liked to hear more about why the talent on an NFL roster in the second season of a massive and massively necessary roster/culture overhaul isn’t a much more significant factor than second guessing the odd 50/50 football decision (why don’t we ever hear about the ones that work out?). Nobody in football would tell you that the Browns have a roster that’s in the top two-thirds of the league, talent-wise, none of them would have told you anything but that the Browns roster was one of the very worst in the league going into last season, and the quarterback situation has been an unspeakable mess, not of Mangini’s doing. Would have liked to hear more about why the presumption isn’t in favor of obvious progress under these circumstances, however small (and I still maintain that the progress shown here isn’t that).

    Your “stability” point sounds like lip service as it is.

    4) The point about Grossi and the rest of the local press has always been that their treachery comes at the expense of a more productive and supportive conversation. Imagine an environment where the reporters’ primary focus is anything other than to generate controversy. I think it’s ridiculous to suggest that this day-to-day influence on the part of weasels and snakes where humans should be doesn’t have a significant impact. I also understand that it’s a business and will never be perfect, but it’s better in some places than others, and couldn’t be any worse here. What’s delusional is to deny the existence of a connection between Cleveland’s sports misery and the miserable state of the press that covers its teams.

    Finally, yeah, there’s no “winning” these arguments. There’s just being right and wrong.

    Anyway, you’re the man, Raab. Thanks again.

  • Mike Amicarelli

    One point on Romeo…

    His record after 2 seasons? 10-22 (6-10 + 4-12)

    Phil Savage famously stated that “We only expected to win 10 games in 2 years” in a press conference. While Savage was a horrible GM, I don’t think he was wrong about that because I’m sure he had an idea of what he was getting himself into.

    We know the final story of Romeo, but the 3rd season was the year the Browns put it together for 10 (albeit fluke) wins. Unfortunately that team was a mirage and built on a paper-thin foundation.

    Ultimately, the Browns will be much improved in 2011, and they’ll have Mangini to thank for it.

    • Bj

      Also keep in mind that in the 10 win season, the Browns had one of the softest schedules in the league. If I recall correctly, it was pretty much the complete opposite of this year’s schedule.

  • Titus Pullo

    Hard to argue with his points here. Other than Mangini should clearly come back for another year.

    With Mangini, Heckert and Holmgren working together the Browns seem to be building something here. Really want to see what they can accomplish with another year together.

  • art_brosef

    Scott: You dont have to be 30 to wonder whether or not youll be alive to see a Cleveland championship. At least, when you wonder, you get to insert “another” into the sentence.

    Happy New Year to everyone at Frowns.

    • csippola

      I am 41 and my dad and grandfather used to tell me about the days of Jim Brown and Otto Graham and the championships then. Since, I have been alive there was Brian Sipe’s interception in the end zone against the Raiders, “The Drive” and “The Fumble” which are all horrible events in Cleveland History. I have lived to see the Indians in two World Series to narrowly lose and even the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals where LeBum failed to show up and play and then blame his teammates. How much more losing can the Cleveland fans take. The Bengals have been to two Super Bowls and yet everyone makes fun of them and yet what Cleveland fan would not endure what the Bengals fans have to be able to at least see their team get beaten by a great 49ers team narrowly in two Super Bowls. At some point we the fans have to demand winning and stop filling up the stadium and not buy any Browns items until they do win something! I am tired of the excuses and apologists and more importantly sick of losing! We deserve a winner for once as no one has had the support of their fans like Cleveland!

      • Captain Spaulding

        Ok, we deserve a winner, sure. So, fire the coach if he doesn’t have us in the super bowl after two seasons, right? That’s the recipe for success, look how well it works all around the league. Shouldn’t you be reading a Grossi article on right about now???

        • csippola

          Isn’t a coach’s job to make their talent better? Would we not be a better team if we had a coach that could actually do more with less? Are the KC Chiefs that more talented than the Browns? How about Buffalo? Every team has injuries and every team has “bad breaks” or whatever other excuses we can come up with. Tod Haley inherited worse talent and was hired at the same time as “Manginius” and yet he is going to the playoffs. Chan Gailey was just hired and had no talent and yet he could still outcoach “Mangenius”. He gave up on Braylon Edwards and K2 and they would have been much better options than what we have now. 41 years of “maybe next year” are enough it is time we win period. This argument to support him seems to be that hey ignore the record because we got beat by less points this year than last. Playoff spots are determined soley off of wins not any other measurement. If you don’t get to the playoffs, you can’t win Championships. Look at the 2008 Cardinals and the 2009 Jets as proof that if you get in you can win and both teams were close to winning it all. In a 16 game schedule, we have 10 loses with potentially an 11th staring us in the face with the Steelers. Guess what, we still are losers at this point!

          By the way, I don’t think we should be in the Super Bowl in year two but we should at least be a few more wins better and we aren’t. That is fact. Winning isn’t the everything, it is the only thing!! The “close” games that we lost are where the coaches really win or lose games as it means the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins. That is where “Mangenius” is most responsible for our loses and it highlights his inability to adjust to his opponents during the game or having his team mentally prepared to outlast the opponent and when it is crunchtime to rise up and not crumble at the end. The comments you heard after the Cincy game ought to scare the heck out of everyone. They were flat or not up for the game. Who is responsible for getting them ready to play? He alone is responsible for poor time management not the players or whoever else you want to blame it is on him.

          Romeo had a better winning percentage ought to explain all that you need to know as how many of his players he inherited are even still in football by comparison. We could have given Romeo 3 more years and guess what we still weren’t going to the playoffs. Same here I am afraid. I pray that I am completely wrong and that if they keep him he makes a fool out of me and takes our Browns to the promised land but I just think that next year at this time we are going to be discussing this same topic and we would have to endure another year of mediocre results. He is a good person but just not a good head coach. I really hope I am wrong as I want to live to see the Browns in the Super Bowl!!

          • Captain Spaulding

            “I pray that I am completely wrong”

            Your prayers have been answered, you are completely wrong. Let me know what Reghi & Roda have to say on your drive home tonight.

  • art_brosef

    I meant, you dont have to be 58.

  • J Vari

    I completely agree with consistency. The Squeelers have been a model in that regard. I think the owners of the Cleveland sports franchises make a huge mistake. They make moves based on our city’s fragile psyche. Here’s the thing, how can you blame coaching when those players went out and beat the mighty Bill Belichick and his Tom Brady led New England Patriots? How can you blame coaching when you run amok on the defending Super Bowl Champions? Cleveland needs consistency. How can you instill a philosophy when you’re constantly changing directions. The Browns are a few players away on both sides of the ball. If you allow Holmgren to continue putting together solid drafts (something previous management failed to do) and give them to these coaches, the Browns will be a playoff team. You fire Mangini now and risk losing some of these players mentally. Cleveland fans needs to understand that it takes time to build a winner. Our instant gratification will be the death of championship dreams. Give Mangini a few more years and give him talent.

  • Chris M

    There is a very significant comparison to be drawn between Holmgren’s (post Green Bay) and Mangini’s career, which is why I still think that Mangini will be back next season, and I’d be willing to place some kind of wager with you on this Scott.

    In 4 years as Head Coach / GM, Holmgren went 31-33, losing the only playoff game that Seattle played in. He inherited a team that went 31-33 over the 4 seasons prior to Holmgren taking the reins. So his 4 year record was identical to the 4 years before he took over. Did this lack of progress in wins/losses get him fired? No, Seattle hired Bob Ferguson, who had a hand in building 6 Super Bowl teams, with Denver winning two of them.

    In fact, Paul Allen brought in Ferguson and it took 3 seasons before they did finally win a playoff game. Did they fire Holmgren for not immediately making it to a Super Bowl? Again, the answer is no. Holmgren understands what it takes to win in this league, and when he decides to retain Mangini after this season, he will demonstrate his confidence in this talented young coach.

    Some people, mainly lazy media members both locally and nationally will argue coaching principles, but Holmgren knows (and has admitted as much) that there are multiple ways to win in the NFL. He learned Walsh’s style, but still understands that Parcells knew how to get it done also.

    Transforming a team from worst to first the right way is never an overnight thing. Hell, as Holmgren has demonstrated, getting a MEDIOCRE team to the top of the heap is a difficult enough task.

    Eric Mangini will be back, and it will be for the benefit of this team, city and franchise.

  • Captain Spaulding


    The Browns have lost close games to teams with less talent? Did they scrimmage a college team somewhere along the way? I guess you might be referring to the Bills, but you said games, not game, so I’m assuming there must be others. Who are they??? And I’m not so sure the Bills have less talent than the Browns either…

  • Anonymous

    1) ‘Eric Mangini’s record of 11-21 would be a lower win pct than Crennel’s.’ But see, after 2 seasons as HC here, Scott, Crennel was 10-22. And if you want to compare career records, Mangini easily beats out Crennel. even if we lose, .413 is definitely more than .375. This is called analyzing statistics in context, as opposed to your dishonest analysis.

    2) Crennel was worse in year 2 than in year 1. the Browns are better now than last year, probably with less ‘talent’.

    3) Eric Mangini is liked by players for his work ethic, respect, and football acumen. Crennel was liked for his country club atmosphere.

    4) I guess you could make a persuasive argument that the Bills are less talented, but that’s the only one, and you said “teamS with less talent”. our other losses were all to more talented squads.

    5) the dissassembling of Holmgren’s record is to serve to counterpoint the ‘Im good with whatever Holmgren decides’ lunatic argument. the point being his fallibility is much like that of other mere mortals, and therefore if he fires Mangini, firing Mangini was not necessarily correct just because Holmgren did it.

    I could write more, but i gotta get back 2 work.

    • Anonymous

      6) When Mangini had a healthy Brett Favre, they were 8-3. When he had an unhealthy Brett Favre, he was 1-4. How many non-stud qbs have won a Super Bowl in the last decade? Or gone to one? Brad Johnson, Rich Gannon…not many others. Point: Like many coaches, Mangini has been successful when he has a very good quarterback. When his qb position lets him down, the team suffers.

      But Scott Raab is right. If we take everything about the coach and comparisons out of context, he should be fired yesterday.

  • drewggy

    Based on performance YTD, it looks like the Browns have lost 4 games to teams “less talented” (BUF, JAX, CIN, TB)

  • Biki

    I’m in a similar boat with Raab in that while I grew up in NEO, I haven’t lived there for the past 15 years to directly feel the pain as much as most of you who go to the games on the regular, etc. but what is so “lunatic” about the “I’m good with whatever Holmgren decides” argument?? What choice do we have exactly?? Are you going to stop following the Browns?? Holmgren is the President of the team, the buck stops with him, not Mangini. I do agree with Frownie and a lot of you that Mangini deserves another year, but I am not the one getting paid $5M a year to make these decisions, nor do I have the extensive career in the NFL that Holmgren has, so yes, I am behind whatever decision Holmgren makes. It’s much better than having Lerner making the decisions because maybe if he had someone of Holmgren’s stature here a few years ago, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.

    • Malcolm Mathers

      The “I’m good with whatever Holmgren decides” camp means that logically they believe that whatever Holmgren does is the smart thing to do, not that they’ll still be Brown’s fans.

      • Biki

        well for me, i tend to think that Holmgren might have a better idea of what to do than Lerner, and definitely better than what my opinion may be, even if my opinion is for Mangini to stick around another year. So if Holmgren does decide to make a change, as unfortunate as I may find it to be, it is what it is, and life as a Browns fan moves on.

    • Brain Sipe

      Holmgren makes $7.2 mill per year

      • Biki

        makes my point even stronger, thanks sipe!

  • Bryan Joiner

    I appreciate Raab jumping in here, but I vehemently disagree.

    From an outsiders’ perspective, the Browns are clearly much improved. I don’t just say this because I’m a loyal Frowns friend/reader or because I was wearing a WELKAH jersey in the north (west?) endzone for the Pats beating—I say this because it’s pretty self-evident.

    Last year, I think the Browns overachieved to get to 5-11. If Frowns can be accused of having a double standard, it’s using those 5 wins as proof of progress and turning around this year and saying wins don’t necessarily matter. I still don’t think Raab wins this point, though: that last year’s team should have been 3-13 and this year’s team should have been 7-9 is an argument in Pete’s favor. The ball does bounce.

    The Browns clearly need skill position players. The great thing for them is that those are the easiest to identify. They’re the ones on SportsCenter. The groundwork is laid. The kicker here is that they’ll be good with or without Mangini, which is why Raab’s argument is so—I don’t want to say disingenuous, so I’ll go with… wrong. Yes, coaching matters. But the level at which coaching can translate into meaningful extra wins is a level the Browns just aren’t at. Yes, they lost a ton of close games. But if you’re going to blame Eric Mangini for Chansi Stuckey fumbling against the Jets, you must believe he has Jedi powers. And if you do, you’d better be for keeping him. Eric Mangini may not be the right coach for the Browns to win the Super Bowl, but you never know if he is until he gets there, or close. The question right now is whether he deserve to come back next year. Raab may be 58, but unless he’s planning to die to drum up sales for his book, he shouldn’t be looking exclusively at the win totals this year.

    Finally, I live in New York. I follow the Jets whether I want to or not. The whole Favre thing was a disaster. All the Jets fans were happy to move past it because Favre was gone. Mangini was just ancillary. But they were also probably ambivalent about the football (important distinction) nature of Bill Belichick leaving, because no one knew what they had. They were pissed because he was a dick, but whatever. I’m not saying Eric Mangini is Bill Belichick, but Belichick went 5-11 in 2000. They were 0-2 when Bledsoe got hurt. Things changed. Things change. If you’re not going to give guys an honest shot, I don’t know why you bother hiring them in the first place. If you think 14 close games with that roster doesn’t earn Eric Mangini one more year, I don’t know what you want.

    • Anonymous

      This is dead on. Thanks.

  • Jwsbu39

    Raab’s piece is a nice read. I think there is much that he and Frowns agree about, most fundamentally that it’s OK if you want Mangini kept or fired, but there should be a reason for that view, and (at least in the view of Frowns) that reason should transcend wins and losses. At the very end of his column, Raab gives a few. I’m not sure I agree with him, but at least he has reasons. Frowns’ point all along has been that you cannot judge Mangini simply on wins and losses. Raab’s comparison to Romeo’s winning percentage ignores (i) Crenell had 4 years; (ii) he had better talent; and (iii) his losses were worse, b/c they were blowouts.

    I think it unfair for Raab to contend that Frowns has ever, in any way, contended that the losses are Grossi’s fault. I’ve never read any such thing. Rather, the point is that Grossi merely feeds fan bloodlust and speculation with little or no basis, and all seemingly for gain in his personal relevance.

    I also don’t agree that Frowns has wrongly attacked Holmgren’s record. Rather, the point is one of cause and effect, which all gamblers should know well. The Cavs lost to the Heat on Dec. 2; LBJ played a great game, the Cavs have limited talent, and I was wearing my black loafers. It is pretty unlikely that the black loafers had anything to do with it. Mike Holmgren was the coach of the Packers when they won the SB, but as far as player evaluations and assembling a roster goes, it’s wrong to give him all the credit, and not the GM or others. If Cleveland is going to assume that Holmgren is a genius, we shouldn’t just assume it, but look at his record. I also think the same concept is even more important when it goes to assuming that Gruden would be a great hire here. His record shows some success, but he’s not Bill Walsh, or even necessarily Bill Cowher.

    • dan

      Since you brought up the Cavs, can we talk about the obvious double-standard in this city regarding the Cavs and Browns, especially regarding Byron Scott and Eric Mangini. Both teams are on a comparable losing streak, yet only Eric Mangini is being chastised. Why aren’t Gregg Brinda, Michael Reghi and all the other hacks on the radio and in the press calling for Byron Scott to be fired? Because the team lacks talent? Can’t make that excuse because so do the Browns. They are in a rebuild? Duh, so are the Browns. Byron is a player’s coach, he motivates his players. This statement would actually work against Byron, as his players have shown they are not really motivated while the Browns play hard regardless of what their record is. Byron Scott is in his first year, and you can’t fire a guy in his first year. Yet, people have called for Mangini’s head after the first game of last year, and have continued until today.

      Am I saying Scott should be fired? No. I am saying Mangini should be given a chance as well.

      • Biki

        the obvious double-standard? This town is a Browns town, as much as it was behind the Cavs with Lebron, it still is and always will be a Browns town. Most people in Cleveland cared less about the Cavs before Lebron was here and that was evident by their attendence. The Browns sellout regardless of what their record is. So of course the city reacts nicer and harsher to the Browns because they are more passionate about the Browns than any team in the city.

        Besides, Byron Scott has a tiny weeny bit better track record than Mangini. He did coach a team to 2 NBA Finals and has won another round in the playoffs. Mangini is 0-1 in the playoffs and has a career coaching record of 33-47

        • Anonymous

          It’s not a bad point about Scott’s track record but it doesn’t explain the disparate treatment in the press.

  • chansistuckey

    whenever eric manigin’s job security is discussed the topic of talent/lack of talent on the current browns roster is always a main component. i would like to pose this question: if you were the gm of the cleveland browns and the nfl came to you and said you could swap rosters with any other nfl franchise, how many of the other 31 nfl teams would you swap rosters with? my answer 26. the only teams i would not swap rosters with are: carolina, washington, seattle, arizona and denver. washington and denver are both a real mess and eventhough seattle is in playoff contention, they have an aging qb, no rb and they have been relying on a revived mike williams at wr. i could even make a case for carolina (with a healthy steve smith, deangelo williams and jonathan stewart on offense it would be tempting) or arizona ( larry fitzgerald and the rest of the wr corp on O). i know a lot of fans might think that we have more talent than buffalo, detroit, kc, oakland, tampa bay, st. louis or even san francisco, but i have my reasons

    buffalo: i would much rather go into next season with 2 rb’s (fred jackson, c.j. spiller) than 1 (peyton hillis) and another coming off of knee surgery(montario hardesty). wr corp is hands down superior to ours (lee evans, steve johnson, roscoe parish) enough said. buffalo proved that they can score points in a lot of different ways this year. on defense i would argue that both teams have good young secondaries ( donte witner, jarius byrd, leodis mckelvin), (haden, ward) but as this season has progressed our front seven has proved to be old and slow

    detroit: the lions have recovered from matt millens love affair with 1st round wr’s, there talent is young, but i would take matt stafford, calvin johnson, ndamukong suh, jahvid best, kyle van den bosch, brandon pettigrew and louis delmas over the browns core players any day

    kc: the previous regime did not leave the cupboard bare for scott pioli and todd haley. the chiefs have 5 first round draft picks holdovers either starting or contributing to the current team, derrick johnson (2005) tamba hali (2006) dwayne bowe (2007) glen dorsey and brandon albert (2008). the browns currently have 1 first round draft pick left over from previous management, joe thomas

    oakland: darren mcfadden and a group of speedy playmaking recievers on offense, and nnamdi asomugha on defense is enough to make the swap

    tampa bay: they’ve found a franchis qb (josh freeman) good young wr’s (mike williams arelious benn) a nice young running back (legarret blount) and have some good young talent on the d-line, not to mention a pretty corner in aqib talib, oh yeah i almost forgot about k2

    st. louis: they’ve also found a franchise qb (sam bradford) a proven runner (stephen jackson), and some good young talent on defense (chris long, james laurinitis)

    san francisco: they don’t have a qb, but i’ll take frank gore, michael crabtree and vernon davis on offense and patrick willis and nate clements on defense over the browns core

    • Terry O.

      Totally agree Chansi. Excellent analysis.

      • Anonymous

        Yup. Browns are only “strong” at one position, defensive line, and should be the same in the secondary as Haden and Ward develop, but aren’t there yet.

    • Anonymous

      are you actually Chansi Stuckey? If so I gotta say you’re a pretty humble guy.

    • bobby

      I think this argument is unfair. The “talent” debate is an interesting one. You can break down positions/position groups and compare across the league and to me the browns are easily in the top 2/3rds of the league.

      QB- McCoy/ Wallace are 2 guys that can get the job done, while the jury is still out on McCoy. Still, the browns have a guy that could be the franchise QB we’ve been waiting on and a reliable back-up for him. I would take this situation against what they have in Buf, Miami, Carolina, Tenn, Min, Chicago, Seattle, SF, Ariz, Denver, KC, and Oakland.

      RB/FB- Vickers is easily a top 3 FB in the league. Hillis is a top 10 RB this season. They could use an back-up in a hurry, but Hardesty may be that guy.

      WR- The browns are in the bottom 5 in the league. I still think there is potential but getting a #1 (in FA or the draft) would be a huge boost.

      TE- I think we are in the top 10 here with Watson. Having a good year and have depth with Royal, Moore and Smith.

      OL- As a group, the browns are in the top half the league. They need to find an answer at RT, but they have 2 young pieces that should be here for a while, which is more then a lot of teams can say.

      Going onto defense I think theres room for debate. I am a fan of the 34 D, but I disagree with Mangini’s use of it and the players we have to fill it. Mangini has said a 34 is about power. I feel like its about speed and illusion. The teams that can effectively run a 34 have speed in the LB core and they know how to disguise coverages and blitzes. Watch the Steelers or Ravens D go to work. The DL has to be strong to hold blocks and the LBs have to be filling gaps and making tackles. The browns dont seem to have those players. If they were to run a 43, I think they would have one of the best 1-2 DTs and a solid group of LBs in Fujita, Gocong and Bowens. Roth and Bernard would probably go DL, and I dont know how that translates.

      The secondary is a good group as well. Brown and Haden are a top 20 combo in the league. Elam and Ward have potential. Ward could end up becoming our Troy P.

  • coachie ballgames

    “If you’re not going to give guys an honest shot, I don’t know why you bother hiring them in the first place. If you think 14 close games with that roster doesn’t earn Eric Mangini one more year, I don’t know what you want.” Well said.

    I’m also with Frowningham regarding Grossi. The point is not whether Grossi is right or wrong the point is that there needs to be a meaningful conversation which he and the PD are not providing.

    Most of the attention has been on technology when it comes to the death-of-newspapers-discussion. Not enough attention is given to the fact that newspapers didn’t change with the times. Open your daily paper today and compare it to one from 10 or 20 years ago, it very likely looks and reads the same way. A lot of game recaps and practice notes along with one or two middle-aged blowhard white columnists who usually post reactionary or rah-rah pieces that are as fresh as the fish that get wrapped in these rags.

    With the paucity of decent content in these papers is it any wonder people gravitated to the much more varied (ranging from the thoughtful to the salacious-yet-entertaining) content available online?

    • Terry O.

      Mostly agree but WTF does “white” have to do with it? Are you a non-white racist or a former slave owning guilty white man?

      • Anonymous

        yes. But the point is, the caucasian domination amongst the media peeps may turn off black readers or anyone who wants a diverse point of view.

  • Jaceczko

    1. Irrelevant to the Eric Mangini tenure question.

    2. Give me one example of a regime change that hasn’t resulted in at least 60% turnover in all personnel in the company—players, staffers, coaches, everyone—and I’ll entertain this.

    3. Which close game to a team with less talent, specifically, is Mr. Raab referring to? In the same argument, he acknowledges a lack of a critical mass of talent, and denies the same.

    This boils down to the tired old, “wins and losses are the only things that matter.”


    • Biki

      it’s technically not regime change. Holmgren/Heckert is the regime. With regards to massive turnover on players next year, we already have 17 players who will be free agents, which is roughly 33% of the roster, so there was probably going to be a huge turnover next year regardless of who the coach is.

      • Anonymous

        The coach is the only regime that matters in direct correlation to player performance. Unless the GM or Prez is coaching the players/picking the systems and/or schemes. In which case they would be the coach, or should be.

  • Raab

    My bad — I’m embarrassed by how dependent I’ve grown on Esquire’s researchers to save my sloppy ass — on Romeo’s W-L record. To ascribe the mistake to my ‘dishonesty’ is pure assholery. This isn’t the twitter; the scorched-earth, ad hominem tone too often displayed here, whatever its appeal to the preacher and his choir, ill serves the site’s credibility.

    I’m sorry that my ode to stability came off as mere lip service. What I should have added is that with Holmgren and Heckert in place, whoever coaches the Browns is working with a couple of guys who are, in my opinion, at the top of the NFL food chain. They inherited a head coach; it is entirely reasonable for them to decide to hire their own.

    • Biki

      agreed. but Holmgren chose to keep Mangini around this year. If they wanted to bring in their own hire, it seems to me that they should’ve done it last year, unless their ideal hire was unavailable last year. We’ll know soon enough…

      • Anonymous

        or unless Holmgren knows Mangini would improve the franchise and culture, do all the tough work, and then open the door for Holmgren/’s guy to come in and look like a genius.

        and I apologize for my assholery assuming that you did your own research and would therefore know the points about the Crennel record.

        Maybe you should fire Esquire and hire Frowns commenters.

        BTW Raab, always wanted to thank you for shouting out for Cleveland after The Hat incident of 2007, a lot of people bashed you for that. and I love your LeBron pieces on Esquire. Keep up the good work

    • Chris M

      I’m going to make the word “assholery” part of my daily vocabulary. Thank you, sir.

      Also Scott, that’s a fair point about H & H being able to hire their own guy. However, that would further prolong the “winner that we deserve” because the team would get blown up yet again. It would also run a guy that myself and many others like me feel is an honest to goodness football coach taking this team in a direction we haven’t seen in nearly 2 decades.

      The bottom line for me? If they wanted to hire their own guy NOW after the team has shown vast improvement this season instead of firing him after last season, that (to me at least) would demonstrate pure assholery.

      • Captain Spaulding

        Yes, not only would firing Mangini equate to pure assholery, it would also go against the widely held belief that stability is important in the NFL (a belief that Holmgren certainly understands as shown by his decision to retain Mangini for 2010).

      • Anonymous

        more like asshattery.

  • Raab

    On the talent issue:

    Whether we’re talking about Holmgren’s record or Mangini’s, the coaching/playing talent nexus is complex. Right/wrong is an utter waste of time here. I’ll simply put it this way: A position requiring one to ignore or dismiss the talent of Hillis, McCoy, Ward, and Haden, the work of the offensive line as a unit, and the Pro Bowl voting, all in order to cling to the belief that the Browns are basically bereft of talent andso Mangini has done a fine job this season — well, that’s just not a position I’d feel comfortable defending. At the least, I think it’s reasonable to dispute those assertions.

    On Gross and the media:

    “Weasels and snakes” and “treachery” aren’t arguments, and correlation isn’t causation. To the extent that any cause-and-effect relationship exists between a team’s W-L record and its media coverage, I think it’s reasonable to suggest that the W-L record is VASTLY more important as a cause.

    • Bryan Joiner

      I don’t think anyone is asking you to dismiss the talent of Hillis, McCoy, et al. I’m not. All I’m asking is that you properly assess it. These are not superstars. They’re not even stars, Peyton’s Fantasy Football status notwithstanding. They’re above-average players, and they represent a fraction of the team.

      I also don’t think that anyone is saying that the coaching staff makes no difference. I think I’m saying the exact opposite, and that a year of 5-11 is no reason to panic because the team has made obvious improvements. (I will stress again that I am neither a Browns fan nor Frowns sycophant.) I understand that you disagree and have no faith in Mangini’s in-game coaching ability, but I find your argument reductive when the situation is—as you admit above—complex.

    • Captain Spaulding


      I don’t think anyone here is ignoring or dismissing the fact that Hillis, McCoy, Ward & Haden are all talented players.

      The point is: how good can any team be if it’s dependent upon 2 rookie DB’s, a back who was 3rd on the depth chart in college, and a 3rd round rookie QB (who wasn’t supposed to play at all this season) to lead them to victory?

      I would say the best case scenario for such a team (especially a team that plays the type of schedule the 2010 Browns did) would be about 6 wins (unless of course that team plays in the NFC West in which case they may win 7).

      All I’m saying is Mangini could have done MUCH worse with this group, and it appears to me that he was actually closer to doing MUCH better, which in my opinion is a testament to his coaching ability.

      • Bryan Joiner

        Wow. Ha. “Great minds,” apparently, though I think Raab will disagree.

        And I think they would have gone 9-7 in the NFC West.

      • Bryan Joiner

        Wow. Ha. “Great minds,” apparently, though I think Raab will disagree.

        And I think they would have gone 9-7 in the NFC West.

        • Captain Spaulding

          Haha, good stuff….

          I was being a bit onservative with 7, either way, they’d be in the playoffs, right?

      • Malcolm Mathers

        Please. Haden and Hillis were great and Ward and McCoy were at least serviceable if not good. The point of contention which Raab and the Captain ignore is the rest of the team; these guys are solid.

    • Anonymous

      Considering that generating controversy is not reporting news, it’s not even discussing controversial viewpoints of something that -is- news, I consider it mildly treacherous. Especially when your influence can be harmful to the readership, by influencing them to influence a team to possibly make bad decisions.

      and T-Grossi has sucked my whole life.

      Scott, have you seen the movie 61*? About Maris and Mantle. One of the reporters in there reminds me of Tony Grossi’s style of ‘reporting’. Take whatever is done/said, spin it in the most eyecatching way to sell papers, and not care whether it besmirches the name/intellect/respect of good men.

      Also, the other respondants kinda hit the fact that none of the guys you mentioned besides the offensive line (Thomas, Steinbach, and -maybe- Mack) are stars. we have serious talent deficiencies in other areas. overall, our team is less talented in most areas (more areas) than most.

    • Anonymous

      W-L record is VASTLY more important as a cause of what? Dishonest treacherous media coverage? It’s not ad hominem when I’m clear about the actions that are treacherous.

      What Joiner and Spaulding said on the rest.

  • Anonymous

    finally, I would like to note that I am firmly entrenched in the “I don’t think Eric Mangini walks on water but firing a coach who makes his team better is silly” club; a.k.a. The “Lets give it another year and see if we start winning games” club.

  • Anonymous

    The ‘quick’ turn-around teams of this year have all, except Tampa, had multiple consecutive losing seasons. So 2 consecutive losing seasons rebuilding (intentionally) is obviously not a big surprise…St. Louis plays in the weakest division in the NFL and hasnt had a winning season since 2004. I’m going to smoke a pretend fatty and wait for the Mangenius Browns to win the Souper Bowl next year.

  • Brian Sipe

    I just hope Josh McDaniles was there last week for more than a visit… He is represented by Bob Lamonte which helps a ton.

    • Biki

      Bring in Joshy McD! he may have been a bit over his head in being a head coach, or in making trade evaluations, but the dude can straight up coach QB’s and call offensive plays! Plus it will be nice to have a Stark County native help the Brownies out!

  • Mspitale

    It is funny how bad/avg teams look good when the schedule helps… a la Bronws ’07 or KC this year…

    Next year our schedule gets tons easier and wer have our QB from day one… those are 2 things Mangini has not had

    also find it odd that all the media talks about is the O and that we are 31st in points scored, but they never mention we are 7th in points allowed, up from 31st last year.

  • Tripodi

    I don’t live in Cleveland anymore, but still follow the Browns as closely as anyone I know. I almost feel lucky that I don’t have the negativity of the Cleveland media rubbing off on me and can still watch this team with an objective view. I don’t care what company/project/firm/team/organization you want to talk about; if you uprooted the entire power structure from top down every two to three years, that company would absolutely fail– no question. People talk about years as if a year is an eternity and that results should be instantly positive. I couldn’t imagine having to have to get used to a new boss, and boss’s boss, co-workers, new playbook, and so on and so forth, every few years. In any sane person’s workplace, that would be enough to drive anyone out of their mind and their work would suffer. Generally a new company starts at the bottom and gradually works it’s way toward profitability (wins) until a watershed points is reached and progress can be had–increasing at an increasing rate. The Rams won 5 games in 97, 4 games in 98 and 13 and the Super Bowl in 99. The Pats one 5 games before their Super Bowl in 2001. The Saint were 8-8 with a ton of close games before their 2009 Super Bowl run. Point being, progress actually does happen and it isn’t instant. It generally goes like this:

    – Losing a lot of games by getting blown out
    – Losing a lot of games by a slim margin.
    – Winning a lot of games by a slim margin.
    – Winning a lot of games by blowing teams out.

    Clearly this team is still in step two, but seems poised to take the leap to the next level. I believe many Cleveland fans feel the same way I do–that I can see the progress and can almost physically feel the change in this team. We are not disillusioned. We aren’t placated by marginal progress. I’d say you’ve fallen into the same sad state as the Plain Dealer in that it has become so ingrained in and around the culture of this city to bemoan everything negative about the team and ignore all the positive progress that has been made.
    I’d argue that most Browns fans, after a decade of watching utter ineptitude organizationally, can hopefully say we have learned our lesson–that instant gratification doesn’t happen in the NFL, nor does it in life. Good things gome to those who wait. Any other cliches you want to throw around survive for a reason—because they’re true.

    • jim kanicki

      excellent perspective here, thanks.

      but i’m not sure the anti-mangini people are wholly arguing lack of progress. i see and appreciate the growth. juxtaposed to crennell’s teams and the improvement is geometric.

      the nagging question for me concerns his very conservative approach in game. i’ve raised this point before and it’s been challenged… but mangini had another quote today that bothered me. on mccoy: ”I think the main thing for him [in the rematch] will be protecting the football.”

      assuming mangini is back next year and assuming the team is healthy and assuming the draft yields help at WR, OL/DL… will he allow his playmakers to make plays first and accept that turnovers may happen when you’re going for it? i dont know.

      it’s no different from your job. speaking for myself only, i’ve performed better for managers who tell me to go for it, take the initiative, make something happen.

      holmgren seems like the ‘make-something-happen’ manager. if he makes a change, i believe it’ll be on this managerial philosophical difference… not about west-coast offense or 4-3 defense.

      • Captain Spaulding

        ”I think the main thing for him [in the rematch] will be protecting the football.”

        This quote bothers you? If McCoy protects the football last week, there’s a real chance the Browns win that game. Personally, I think protecting the football should be one of the “main things” in every game, and my guess is that every other football coach in the world feels about the same way.

        • jim kanicki

          id rather the main thing for mccoy be making plays.

          ive seen enough 5 yd checkdowns on 3rd and 12, thanks. but hey… the ball was protected right? 1sthalf to 2ndhalf offensive TD count stands at 17-8. but dammit theyre not turning it over right?

          ‘avoiding mistakes’ is not a game plan. ‘protecting the ball’ is not a winning strategy.

        • bobby

          With regard to INTs in the ravens game, if MoMass plays like an NFL WR then McCoy only throws 1 if any INTs. Yes they were a little off, but MoMass needs to fight for the ball and if he isnt catching it has to make sure the defender is not either. As a matter of fact, do we have any WRs that can bail the QB out of a bad throw?

  • Jodawg73

    It’s absurd to even argue that a coach should be fired after 2 seasons. Especially under the circumstances that Mangini’s had to deal with.

    • Chuck R.

      Agree! I just do not understand why most do not see this also. It is absurd!

  • jim kanicki

    this debate gets too religious for me. it doesn’t strike me as absurd make a change, nor does standing pat trouble me. the arguments pro and con have merit. as a contrast, think back to firing romeo, a true no-brainer. in fact, failure to act faster on romeo was a mistake; that recent memory plays a part in a bias for change now (vs waiting another year).

    my main hope is that if a change is made, that there be a go-forward plan in place. (eg, canning schottenheimer may have felt good for modell… but replacing him with bud carson was a stunning step backward.) replacing the OC? know who’s coming in and ensure his philosophy will work with our talent and coaches. replacing mangini? identify the problems that were insurmountable with mangini and understand how the new HC will address them.

    here’s hoping hoping holmgren’s got a plan and he’s working it.

  • Rgrunds

    FrOrange, tan caballero to give your guest a forum. You are just suave…

    OT for the New Year:

    The last day for many of the Underclass that runs Cleveland is tomorrow. Beware; if we are not vigilant, Cleveland will have a headline pertinent to it like this:

    “Forces loyal to Ivory Coast incumbent obstruct UN probe of mass grave”

    Don’t kid yourselves. The political culture of the Solzhenitsyn is never that far from a democracy.

    Good bye Lillian Greene, Peter Junkin and Jabba De Mora.

    • Anonymous

      I always forget to ask you this, but WTF is a FrOrange?

      • Rgrunds

        FRowns plus Orange…the other Browns color.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to suggest that, in spite of his unfortunately tragic point of view on this particular hot-button issue, that Mr. Raab is infinitely cooler than his rather uncool fellows on said side of said issue. And his thoughts are at least well-thought out and well-put together. I also like his point here that there’s no real ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in this argument, until
    a) Holmgren brings in a different guy who completely changes things up and wins a Super Bowl in a very short amount of time, or
    b) Eric Mangini wins a Super Bowl in Cleveland, or
    c) Eric Mangini goes to another town and wins a Super Bowl there.

    Any of these 3 things failing to happen, everyone here is right in a sense, except when Scott suggests that it’s not all Tony Grossi’s fault, which is utterly laughable, because Tony Grossi, well, look at the guy’s face. People should tell him that applying self-tan lotion while tanning causes your skin to look too small for your head.

    But seriously, Frowns’ point that firing a coach when he’s making continual progress with a team seems silly is valid, although Scott’s point that he doesn’t think progress is being made is also valid, although I think getting close to the idea of a synonymous relationship between ‘progress’ and ‘wins’ is not smart. The Browns have had a much harder schedule practically across the board, yet the team boasts better stats in most categories than last year, especially in important categories like net points. The Brownies have learned how to put themselves in a position to win. Next year, the next logical step is to start winning those games, and I think that if the Big Show keeps Coach around and they get him a couple more important pieces to the franchise, that the Browns will win a lot of games next year.

    If they provide Mangini with more resources and he fails to improve the team, then I’d be comfortable saying that his progress has stalled, and you have a good argument for getting a new coach.

    But seriously, anyone flaming a coach for 5-6 wins on the team they’ve had with some of the stuff that’s gone down outside of a coach’s control, a team that Vegas pegged for 5-6 wins, is silly. Which Scott isn’t doing, but at the end of the day, we’re all right here, so…let’s hold our breath for the next month and hope that whatever move the franchise -does- make, it takes us in the right direction.

    If Eric Mangini gets fired and wins a Super Bowl, you guys will find me dead in my closet.

    • jim kanicki

      knocked it out of the park here, believe.

      • Anonymous

        Baseball has always been my first love.

        Don’t tell Frowns, though.

      • Raab

        To be perfectly clear, the mistake about Romeo’s W-L record was my own mistake. My reference to Esquire’s researchers was based on the fact that they make certain my factual errors never make it into print. They don’t research my blog posts.

        I’m not trying to defend Grossi and his colleagues. All I’m saying is that winning games makes it much, much harder for beat writers and columnists to be relentlessly negative. I’m saying that a team’s success or failure drives the tone of media coverage — not vice versa.

        Finally — I promise: finally — I must say that a Cleveland fan’s inability to discern the crucial, unsubtle differences between winning and losing is unique to Cleveland, and I don’t think that’s because fans here are savvier or dumber. I think it’s because fans here — especially younger Browns fans — have known little but defeat. If you look at the list of Browns coaches since 1999, Eric Mangini may seem like the best of a sorry lot. All that tells me is that the bar here isn’t just low; it has been hammered into the ground.

        If you believe the losses to the Bills and Bengals are some sort of “proof” that the Browns lack talent, but should have NO effect on judging the coaching staff, you really should lobby for Mangini not just to be retained, but to be named Coach of the Year. When you simply dismiss out of hand any and all evidence that doesn’t support your position — when you claim, as does one commenter above, that Hillis is NOT a star, for example — you do your position no favors. You merely seem foolish.

        • Anonymous

          Hillis lacks some of the criteria that many people would require to consider a running back a star, such as big-play ability, the ability to make defenders miss (not just check into hospitals), a varied attack, etc. Some will cite the long-term durability issues of a runner whose running style generates -extra- mileage on his body (as -seemingly- evidenced by his dropoff in production the last several weeks), and others will point out his league-leading fumble statistic. All in all, the only reason I temper my star-struck view of Peyton Hillis as an all-star is because he has a few wrinkles he could really stand to iron out of his game, like learning (like Peterson finally did) how to simultaneously punk 3-4 opposing players -and- keep a grip on the rock. And as a guy with numerous long-term injuries from subjecting my body to punishment without letting other injuries recover, I think that (while its only knock against his star-dom is the possibility of preventing him from finishing any given season strong) it’s important for Hillis to develop a new wrinkle or two in his game, add some (necessarily) subtle juke action to his style to keep big linebackers from squaring him up and letting him break off more big runs.

          The problem with him (fantastic a runner as he is) in the current Browns system is that you can almost -always- count on him to put up between 2 and 5. Which is good, except when you need 5-7 on third down; a draw play to a more elusive back may net the required yardage before defenders can close, whereas Hillis’s slower style allows teams to play the pass more, since he is limited to his (still considerable) receiving and blocking skills.

          I could write books about how amazing Peyton Hillis is to me, but I still feel like he needs to get…just a little bit better.

          Also, our run blocking has been atrocious late in the season, providing little to no push (if not less), somewhat neutralizing our superstar.

          Finally, Scott, I’d like to note that as much as you can cite ‘poor adjustments’ and/or game planning, when opposing teams put their whole team in the box, and our wide receivers can still manage to fail to get open enough to take in the easy, poorly covered 6-7 yard catches that other run-first teams thrive on, or the uninjured quarterback of the week can’t get him the ball, it massively frustrates the ability to game-plan an effective, consistent offensive assault on a run-first team.

          Because the most potent weapon of a run-first team is the ability to steal chunks of yards through the air due to overcompensating run protection. ANY NFL TEAM can shut off another team’s ground game if they choose to, no matter how good that ground game is. But with a ‘star’ like you say, on the ground, the lack of open receivers when we pass against stacked formations is unbelievably bad. Result: teams stack the box even more, neutralizing Hillis even worse, and the passing game remains anemic. Frowns has written about 4,120 articles this season illustrating numerous examples where the passes failed completely, without any help from the coaches somehow not planning them correctly.

          Give Mangini AJ Green, Julius Jones, Sidney Rice, Larry Fitzgerald, Vincent Jackson, or some other dangerous receiver to take the pressure out of the box and, oh, I don’t know, make an opposing defense use their nickle, dime, or quarter (ever), and maybe get a back who can spell Hillis for 5-10 carries a game to the tune of something more than 1.8 ypc, and just a DECENT right tackle. Not even great, just good. Then watch this offense. If he is given those things and the team still fails, then you can ask the coach why. But this is a team game, and there’s no such thing as a 1-trick pony in an NFL offense. Even ‘all-passing’ teams feature effective draw-play/receiving/blocking RBs who function as mini tight ends, so while they pass most of the time, they almost always feature a rocket-laser armed accurate QB and a dazzling array of receiving weapons. And no John St. Clair starting at RT. None of that. At all.

          You gotta admit, Raab, as a guy who follows NFL teams, running through your entire Qb depth chart (almost twice), with fatal roster holes on offense (or defense), is not conducive to winning games. And who said they felt the Browns “were good” at WR this off-season? Sure wasn’t Eric Mangini. Thanks, Tom Heckert. But unlike Mangini, nobody’s called for his head…we just keep hearing about how he drafted DeSean Jackson….

          Almost like people are biased.

          • bobby

            The Patriots have had great offenses with awful WRs. They take no-named RBs all the time and make them serviceable. I would argue the browns O is much more talented outside of QB then the Patriots “dynasty” in the early 2000s. I think with good coaching there should be no reason you cannot take adv. of every D in the game. The Patriots burn the Steelers every single time they play by passing 75% of the time. Every defense in the NFL has holes. The name of the game is finding those and taking advantage of such. You think the Eagles had great WRs with McNabb at the helm (until Jackson)? They just knew how to find holes in opposing defenses.

            This is where my whole problem starts with Mangini/ the coaching staff. The browns have a week to prepare for a team and Mangini/Daboll script out the first 15 or so plays on O. They usually are pretty successful. Then the D adjusts and the Browns cannot seem to figure out what they do and keep trying to go with what’s not working. I dont understand how the browns have excellent 1st and 2n drives then it disappears until the last drive of the game when they need it. Its like the coaching staff waits until they know they have no more time to finally start taking shots.

            Do you actually believe Mangini will change his game planning and his adjustments with a great WR and a back-up running back? The answer is no, not in a long shot. If Bill Belichick was running this offense, would it look so anemic? Once again, no.

        • Bryan Joiner

          I find it wonderful that when someone disagrees with you on Peyton Hillis’ ability, you dismiss the rest of their argument, which is what you’re complaining about in this very comment. We’re not the ones who tried to big-up all the Browns’ “stars” by lumping them in with Hillis: you are.

          I’ll also say that if the Cleveland fan’s inability to “discern the crucial, unsubtle differences between winning and losing is unique to Cleveland,” you and Pete are evidence that it cuts both ways. I urge you to consider that pretty much every non-Clevelander on here thinks Mangini has earned another year, and we do so despite the fact that we like nothing more around here than telling Pete he’s full of shit.

        • Rgrunds

          Raab, you really should get Pinktakkos a cameo in Esquire. He is the best archivist in the NE Ohio region and is capturing an entire identity for a generation. He’ll be the Pepys diarist for Cleveland. Better get him while he’s hot. Cleveland needs a redemptive voice since Plato’s Republic has been turned upside down there. Maybe the area should be administered by another contiguous state or just become a Trust asset of Canada. There may be a surcharge to have Lillian Greene in their jurisdiction.

          I also would like to point out his other talents and potentials: Peter would be a GREAT tunnel support in a construction site somewhere or just licking out septic tanks on a free-lance basis.


  • Anonymous

    To show how we can all get along here, let’s observe a shiggle-funny YouTube music video for a song perfectly harmonizing blue grass country and gangster rap:

    If this can happen, we can all figure this thing out, says I. Or maybe I just need to sleep. More on this tomorrow…

    • Anonymous

      Sorry Frowns, I decided I needed to flag my own comment for inappropriate language. I shouldn’t be allowed to have a computer this late at night.

  • commenter formerly known as p

    hey so i have no idea if the cheddar bay picks belong here, and really no idea where i am in the standings at this point, but i want to get in on tomorrow’s bowl games b/f it’s too late (because man – i SUCK at those NFL picks!)

    here goes:

    ***ND +3 miami
    i’m just not buying that miami is *so* much more talented than notre dame that this game is somehow insurmountable for the irish. talent is fine and good but a complete lack of discipline all year long + a coaching change = erratic play. all nd has to do here is keep its cool and play disciplined and they’ll be fine fine fine. nd crushed utah, army and most importantly beat USC – which they hadn’t done in way too long – to end what had been a terrible, miserable, debacle of a season until that point. no reason at all why they won’t build on that success with a signature win tomorrow.

    the rest:
    stanford -3 va. tech
    wisconsin +2.5 TCU (if i wasn’t such an ND homer this would have to be the money pick – how is wisconsin possibly getting points?????????????)
    LSU -1 texas a&m

    hope this finds you kanicki!

    • jim kanicki

      gotcha cfkap. hope you’ve got a clean slate here… you’re still in the hunt!
      1 pullo 57.5
      2 sneeda 56.0
      3 cuuugs 55.5
      4 cfkap 53.0
      5 edge 52.5

      why is wisky getting points? no respect for our next RT, gabe carimi! BOOKEND BADGERS! please let him slide to us in 2nd rd…

      • Anonymous

        Considering that he anchored a line that pounded out the kind of offensive onslaught the Badgers did with a ground-centric game, I’m -totally- drinking your kool-aid.

        My question is this, though: is he more of a powerhouse run blocker for the strong side of the line? Left tackles’ primary job is, of course, to protect the blindside and they’re trained to best protect the passer. Of course, having a true pass protecting left tackle playing right tackle would make sacking our quarterback a truly daunting task, like in 2007 when the Statue of Anderson was guarded by all-world rookie Joe Thomas and former badass left tackle Ryan Tucker…

        • jim kanicki

          fair question. i wonder if height is more beneficial for pass blocking? munoz (best ive seen) was 6-6, carimi is 6-7. after the trucking thomas took from john abraham, i’d be cool trying carimi at LT. plus, browns seems to like to run right for some reason (vickers is usually lined up right, the bills’ goal line stuff was to the right, i know the are more examples because i’m always surprised and take note when they run right.).. it wouldnt suck to have thomas blasting away on that side.

          picking an OT is like a two-fer. as in: lauvao looked like crap vs jax, but playing next to st clair could make a lot of guards look bad.

          likely moot points here, he wont be there at #7 in 2nd rd unless he craps the bowl and combine. heckert would need to ante up this years and next years 2nd rd to the pats. or.. they could move back in the 1st round and get him plus picks. (ie, solve the WR problem with a FA instead of jjones.) i’d be very happy with that but id be in the minority.

          does anyone trust that pashos can (finally) replace ryan tucker?

          • Believelander

            Most teams ‘like’ to run right, Kanicki, as the construction of the modern offensive line places your best ‘back to the wall’ (pass blocking) linemen on the QB’s blindside, and your biggest, baddest, most powerful (but less adept pass blocking) linemen on the right side, where the back can get the bigger push, and the QB can see the pass rush coming better.
            I’m not personally a fan of this strategy, but it’s what works for the NFL, so who am I to argue? I actually kind of like the idea of having an excellent pass blocker at RT because the majority of bootleg plays are going to go in that direction.

            Interestingly, a lot of the big rip runs you see go left are precisely because the more agile, more mobile, more svelte ‘pass blocker’ tackles and guards are ‘less good’ at run blocking; they can get out into space ahead of the back, allowing the TE/FB to absorb rushers near the line of scrimmage while they get to the second and third level and give the running back interstates to run down. Vintage 2009 Eric Steinbach on our late-season run where he would swing up into the second level, shed a linebacker to the inside, then absolutely end a cornerback or safety, springing Harrison for a big run.

            This style hasn’t been seen on the 2010 Browns because Peyton Hillis is not as fast and agile to take advantage of a zone run scheme, which is the forte of linemen like Mack and Steinbach, and to an extent, Joe Thomas. Despite being 6’6″, Joe is only just around 300 pounds, and one of the fastest offensive linemen I’ve ever seen.

            I think if we get a gargantuan right guard and Gabe Carimi has both strength and speed like Thomas, the Browns, with a multi-purpose back like Hardesty working in conjunction with Hillis and Vickers, could literally run roughshod over the league next season.

            But one thing I didn’t get from this year’s draft was acquiring Shaun Lauvao to play right guard, unless the goal was to eventually have him replace Eric Steinbach when Eric’s days are done.

            I guess we’ll find out in April.

          • Believelander

            Oh, and I don’t really trust many guys to replace Ryan Tucker. Even in his twilight, the guy was a monster lineman for the Browns, and never got the cred for how good he really was until we lost him post-2007 and our line took a dump.

  • Anonymous

    Wisconson +2.5 over TCU (money play):

    Wisconson won a game eighty-three to twenty. Which is by a margin of sixty-three points. As in, in sixty minutes of football, they scored sixty-three more points than their opponent. They also made Ohio State look like a divison III school. For all these reasons, plus their maniacal fans and the fact that John Clay actually looks like he was chiseled from a block of stone and made flesh, and the fact that they took Ricky Stanzi’s patriotic ass out, and many other reasons, I’m going to weigh in for 3 points on the assertion that this one’s over before it even begins.


    • Anonymous

      83 is a big number!

      • Anonymous

        83=9^2+2, or 7*11+6. It is also the square root of 6,889, which is the number of great reasons the Browns have to keep Eric Mangini (list coming soon. Just saying).

        Conversely, the square of 20 is 400, so when you think about it, the hypotenuse of the beatdown that the Badgers put on the Hoosiers is 80.55433, which is a pretty big hypotenuse. Just can’t get over them being, well, not favored, it’s almost like Vegas wants to give me money.

  • Rgrunds

    Raab, you really should get Pinktakkos a cameo in Esquire. He is the best archivist in the NE Ohio region and is capturing an entire identity for a generation. He’ll be the Pepys diarist for Cleveland. Better get him while he’s hot. Cleveland needs a redemptive voice since Plato’s Republic has been turned upside down there. Maybe the area should be administered by another contiguous state or just become a Trust asset of Canada. There may be a surcharge to have Lillian Greene in their jurisdiction.

    I also would like to point out his other talents and potentials: Peter would be a GREAT tunnel support in a construction site somewhere or just licking out septic tanks on a free-lance basis.


  • Denny

    Hey look Pete, your site is new and not just in Instapaper.

  • Mspitale

    ESPN’s Chris Mortensen warned on last week’s Countdown not to be surprised if Weis was replaced by Josh McDaniels after the season. That report seemed so out of left field it didn’t really light a media fire.

    Now longtime Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley throws gas on the notion, saying that Weis could end up as the offensive coordinator at University of Florida. Here’s Dooley on his radio show, via

  • Ewfletch

    Save Eric!

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