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Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday Morning QB: Former Jets coach Eric Mangini's a Brown clown in Cleveland

Eric Mangini was fired by Woody Johnson on Dec. 29, one day after the completion of the worst December collapse in Jets history. His paranoid, ultra-secretive, hard-driving style suffocated the organization, and the list started with Johnson and worked its way through the building and into the locker room.

He wasn't out of work long, however. He was hired by the Browns on Jan. 8. What did Mangini learn from his Jets experience? Apparently nothing at all. The fact that he got another head coaching opportunity immediately convinced him that his way was the right way.

Mangini is running the Browns into the ground and he could be fired again the day after the season ends. In 10 months, he has turned the Browns into a complete disaster. They are 1-7. They have scored five offensive touchdowns - one fewer than the Saints have scored on defense. Thankfully, they have a bye Sunday.

Mangini's hand-picked general manager, George Kokinis, was fired last week. Mangini and Kokinis were close friends - they were roommates when they were low-level employees of Bill Belichick in Cleveland 15 years ago, and Kokinis is a member of the board of directors of Mangini's foundation. But indications are that not only weren't they on the same page, a power struggle developed that Kokinis could not win.

Is Mangini the next to go? Browns owner Randy Lerner was asked by the Cleveland Plain Dealer if he saw a scenario where Mangini would not be back in 2010. "No," he said. But what is he supposed to say with eight games to go? Lerner said he wants to bring in a "strong, credible, serious leader within the building to guide decisions in a far more conspicuous, open, transparent way." It's hard to imagine any established NFL executive will take this job and want to keep Mangini.

Mangini would have benefitted by going back to being a coordinator and reinventing himself. Instead, he took a job offering more money with more power. He was fired by the Jets but wound up with a better job, if not a better team.

"He had winning seasons two of three years with the Jets, got a new job in 10 minutes and tripled his salary," one NFL source said. "That made him become more entrenched in his views."

It obviously convinced Mangini that he was a victim in New York. He is reportedly making $3.9 million a year in his four-year Browns deal. That's about double what the Jets were paying him. Getting another job so quickly validated in his mind that he was right and the Jets were wrong.

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