Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cleveland Browns: Team plays well but can’t win, Mangini’s seat getting warmer


CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Browns fell to 0-4 after losing to the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 on their home turf in overtime. Despite the loss and playing their best game of the season it wasn’t enough to stop head coach Marvin Lewis and his Bengals from getting the win.

Browns quarterback Derek Anderson threw the ball well. He completed 28-46 passes for 269 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Running back Jerome Harrison rushed for 121 yards on the ground. Muhammad Massaquoi caught 8 passes for 149 and the defense played better. Even with the marked improvement it wasn’t enough to win.

Some of the Browns faithful have requested owner Randy Lerner replace Eric Mangini. Probably not likely to happen to soon but if the Browns continue to lose Mangini’s seat will continue to get hotter.

Typically when there’s a coaching change organizations look to upgrade the franchise. Was Mangini the best guy for this job? Is Mangini doing a better job than the guy he replaced?

Shakespeare once wrote, “Romeo, Romeo, where art thou Romeo?”

Yeah, former head coach Browns Romeo Crennel finished 4-12 last season. He made some strategic mistakes last year but he did lead the Browns to a 10-6 record in 2007. Did Crennel really get a fair shake in Cleveland? One is left to wonder why Crennel wasn’t given at least another season to right the ship.

Was race a factor?

African American head coaches have won 2 of the last 3 Super Bowls. Even with the recent success of African American head coaches history has demonstrated they’ve sometimes operated on short a leashes. It shouldn’t be about race but in some cases it has. Remember when Rae Rhoades was hired as coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1999? In his only, I repeat, “only” season he went 8-8 and was fired.

In 1989 Art Shell was hired by the Oakland Raiders and compiled a 54-38 record before he was fired in 1994. With such a good record no other NFL team would give Shell another chance before the Raiders recycled him again in 2006. Interesting how Shell couldn’t get a look from another team yet Norv Turner and his current 77-91-1 record continues to get recycled.

Because of the success Bill Belichick has had in New England many forget he was head coach of the Browns from 1991-1995 where he compiled a 36-44 record. He had one winning season in Cleveland yet he was recycled and given time to show what he can do. And he has done just that.

Belichick’s protégé Eric Mangini’s first mistake was keeping the quarterback situation under lock and key. Instead Mangini’s “Art of War” tactics in keeping his starter a secret backfired.

Mangini’s second mistake was making Brady Quinn the starter for the season. Mangini succumbed to the pressure of the fans wanting to see Quinn. The Browns should’ve done the right thing instead of what’s popular amongst fans.

In the case of Anderson he’d demonstrated he can play at this level. In 2007 he quarterbacked the Browns to a 10-6 and had a pro bowl year. Last year he struggled at times but not enough to lose his job.

Where is Brian Sipe when you need him?

In closing, you can’t start out 0-4, have your players filing grievances against you and assert you have control of your locker room. If Mangini isn’t getting it done, get somebody in there that can. Fans want a franchise they can be proud of in knowing ownership and upper management is doing their best to provide them a winner.

Hopefully Randy Lerner will take heed of the message and act in the best interest of the organization and the fans.

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