Tag:George Kokinis
Posted on: March 11, 2009 4:07 am
Edited on: March 11, 2009 5:12 am

Cleveland Browns Dynamic Duo?

Montana and Rice .

Goose and Maverick .

Mike Freeman and Greg Doyel .

The thing that makes every great duo special is the sacred reliance each member has on their respective counterpart. Joe Montana's greatest never transcends the pages of history without Jerry Rice making acrobatic catches downfield. Take Goose away from Maverick and he becomes another hot-shot pilate gunned down out of the sky. Without Greg Doyel as the punch line of Mike Freeman's jokes...well...I'd rather not imagine the consequences.


The Cleveland Browns' management pair of Eric Mangini and George Kokinis (affectionately known as "ManKok") may not be as proven as their counterparts, but they certainly have the makings of another historic duo. With the recent free agent signings coming out of Berea, one has to question whether this duo...really is a duo at all.

Just how much "Kok" goes into the "ManKok" regime?

The Browns have signed a total of four free agents this offseason (LB David Bowens, DB Hank Poteat, TE Robert Royal, and DT C.J. Mosley). Out of the four, Bowens, Poteat, and Mosley all played under Eric Mangini in New York. The fourth, Robert Royal, played against Mangini two times each season in his three year tenure with the Buffalo Bills. While nothing in the NFL can be assumed with 100 percent certainty, it looks like Mangini alone, not Kokinis, was responsible for the recent additions to the Cleveland Browns' roster.

On the surface, everything seems to be working out just fine. All four players are high character veterans who understand Mangini's system and appear willing to buy in. Both the head coach and GM are saying the right things, and the Browns appear to be moving in the right direction.

...or are they?

We've seen this before from failed regimes of the past. Whenever the dominant member of the head coach/GM tandem is wrong, the franchise takes a step in the wrong direction. Butch Davis and Phil Savage were not united with their respective partners in crime, and the decision-making process suffered as a result. In each instance, both men signed players they knew on a personal level while neglecting various second opinions along the way. Each series of such moves turned out to be catastrophic, and the Cleveland Browns suffered as a result.

Now it is possible George Kokinis played an active role with Mangini in signing all four players. It is possible Kokinis and Mangini reviewed free agents together and collectively decided on landing these ex-Jets. It is even possible Kokinis came to such a conclusion himself and Eric Mangini simply went along with it

Possible, but not probable.

Everything rumored to be true about Eric Mangini indicates that this will be his football team. Mangini's personal media lockdown of the comes from the Belichickian school of censorship. Mangini's head-strong personality coupled with the mild-mannered nature of a rookie GM screams out dictatorship. The order in which the two men were hired leaves no room for partnership. As the days go by it's becoming clear just who is steering this ship, and there seems to be only one captain.

Even if this duo isn't quite as dynamic as originally intended, there is no reason for Browns fans to panic. "NFL Monarchies" have worked in the past and continue to do so today. Patriots' coach Bill Belichick may be surrounded with good football people, but when it comes down to it, he alone has final say on all team decisions. Cowboys' owner/president/GM/czar Jerry Jones has done an adequate job fielding a competitive football team over the years, and he too gives the final word on all football operations. As former monarch Bill Parcells constantly likes to remind us: who better to shop for the ingredients than the cook of the meal himself? It is very possible for Mangini to follow his predecessors in re-building the Browns with complete authority over the football decision-making process

Eric Mangini has put his royal fingerprints all over the Cleveland Browns. The Mangini/Kokinis tandem has definitely shown us more "Man" than "Kok," but all hope is not yet lost. It remains to be seen how effective this regime will function, but we know this much is for certain - a great deal of the burden will fall upon the well-rounded shoulders of a fourth-year football coach.

They might not be Sanford and Son , but if new Browns management can succeed where others have failed, they will be praised and revered.

And that couple might be the most important pairing of them all.






Posted on: March 1, 2009 10:36 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2009 10:37 pm

No Flurry for these Browns

In Cleveland, Ohio, early March is normally a season filled with flurries.

Every year around this time, scattered snow flurries refuse to acknowledge the beginnings of the warm spring months. The Cleveland Indians play in a flurry of irrelevant spring training games while the Browns kick off free agency by making a flurry of moves.

This year in Cleveland, something definitely unusual and I’m not talking about the white stuff on the ground.

For the first time since their reincarnation into the league in 1999, the Cleveland Browns have withstood the devilish temptations of free agency and stood firm in their organizational philosophy.

Browns rookie general manager George Kokinis knows the period of these past few days very well. Kokinis spent the last five seasons working as the director of pro personnel for the Baltimore Ravens under Ozzie Newsome. Part of his job in Baltimore included compiling and analyzing detailed information about prospective free agents. His contributions to free agency helped Baltimore land players such as special teams standout Brandon Ayanbadejo and talented cover corner Samari Rolle. For a man with such as strong background in player personnel, last Friday’s beginning of NFL free agency should have been like Christmas to the George Kokinis.

Instead, it was just another day at the office.

As of today, Kokinis and the Browns have yet to sign a single free agent. In fact, since the “Ko-genius” regime has arrived in Berea, the Browns have done nothing but release, cut or trade pieces of last year’s 4-12 football team. This conservative approach toward free agency comes in stark contrast to that used by the previous Browns’ regime. Former GM Phil Savage relied heavily upon free agency – signing high profile veterans in each of his 4 seasons with the team. The limited success he garnered was marred in inconsistency – as many of his signings never lived up to the lofty expectations that come with high-priced contracts.


George Kokinis and head coach Eric Mangini understand the proper way to run a football organization. Building a winning football team in professional football’s free agency era comes through a solid draft and astute salary cap management. Without these two things, a football team is doomed to mediocrity and inconsistency. Although it is still early, the Browns appear on their way to striking the perfect balance of both.

Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make. George Kokinis and the Browns’ coaching staff should be commended thus far for avoiding the pitfalls of expensive veteran players. If new Browns management continues to exert good judgment and temperance, Clevelanders will have a flurry of something new to look forward to this fall:




The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com