Posted on: January 7, 2009 7:49 pm

Habemos Coachum!

On top of a the training facility in Berea, Ohio, orange and brown smoke begins to disseminate while the eagar crowds of Browns fans gather at the entrance - eagarly awaiting the announcement. A multi-billionaire named Randy Lerner emerges from the balcony to deliver the good news to the Cleveland faithful:

"Habemos Coachum!"

The thousands on hand errupt in wild cheers and celebrations - for the Browns have selected their 15th head coach in franchise history: Eric Mangini.


I've got to say, it's been a long time since it felt this good to be a Browns fan. While CBS writers Mike Freeman and Pete Prisco may disagree, Randy Lerner's hiring of Eric Mangini was the best possible move the Browns could have made.

In Mangini, you get a bright, young head coach with the pedigree and wherewithal to make a long-lasting impact in the organization. You get a coach with the experience necessary to handle situations with dignity and class. Simply put, you get one of the brightest football minds in the game.

While Eric Mangini coached under Bill Belichick, Bill did everything in his power to keep his bright young student in house. He repeatedly asked Mangini to decline coaching interviews, and for years he did. Belichick was also the one to give Eric his start in coaching - having him break down film while the two coached in Cleveland at the tender age of 23. If Bill sees enough upside to want Mangini by his side, I have no doubts as to whether or not he's a capable coach.

It's been rumored his players didn't like him in New York. Fine. Ask any given player who played under Parcells early in his career and I guarantee you wouldn't want children around for the response. Head coaches are not necessarily supposed to be loved by their players. They are master motivators designed to get maximum effort out of a given group of guys. To say players don't like him does little to determine how successful a coach he may turn out to be.

Look, everyone makes mistakes. I hate to use the Belichick analogy again, but he was hated and looked down upon right after he finished his stint in Cleveland. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone using the words "genius" or "legend" back then as they so freely do today.

I have complete confidence that Mangini is the right man for this job. He will learn from his mistakes in New York and lead the Browns exactly where they are destined to be.
Posted on: September 28, 2008 5:07 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2008 6:13 pm

Week 4: A Win is a Win, No Matter How Small

We won! We won! The Cleveland Browns won!

It's nice to see the team finally get on the good side of the win/loss column. For a while there, I thought it might be time to dust off the ol' brown paper bag...

The Good

  • Victory: We finally won a football game! As much as I'd like to say the Browns won today, they really didn't. The Cincinnati Bungals did more to determine the outcome of this game than the Brownies did. The penalties, the inexperienced backup quarterback, the timeout management, and the lack of execution did the Bengals in and eventually cost them the game.
  • The Gameplanning: Despite a Carson Palmer-less offense and a notoriously susceptible defense, I thought Mel Tucker and Rob Chudzinski developed a good game plan against Cincinnati. On defense, the Browns did not let T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson single-handedly beat them. Short completions were sacrificed over the middle of the field, but for the most part the Browns contained the injury-plagued Bengals. As expected, the offensive game plan was spear-headed by a contrite Chudzinski determined to get the most out of Jamal Lewis.
  • Braylon Edwards' TD celebration: Classy! I liked that little tribute to Cleveland's strong rock 'n' roll history. Those powerful guitar chords were nice to see. An overall tasteful celebration.  Braylon dropped to one knee - which scared me with the new celebration rules. Players are not allowed to leave their feet - which Braylon did not; however one knee generally equals two feet in the NFL and I'm glad the officials didn't call him for it. On a side note: I wonder what song he was thinking about...
The Bad

  • Game Management: I'll continue to harp on this until I see the team improve. While the game management had vastly improved from weeks past, it was far from perfect. Two situations really jumped out at me in this game:
  1. At the end of the second quarter, the Browns came up with a stop with :50 seconds left. With two timeouts left for the half, the Browns should have used one of them to give themselves a chance after the field goal attempt. Josh Cribbs is a great return man and if he gave us decent field position, we could have taken a shot at the end zone or at least gotten into field goal range with a timeout at our disposal.
  2. 4th and 5 leading 17-12 with 3:30 left to play in the second half on the Cincinnati 37. Personally, I would have tried for the conversion. Since the Bengals did not have any timeouts, a conversion of 5 yards essentially wins you the game. A punt only nets 17 yards on a touchback, and the last thing you want is to give the Bengals a shot at driving 80 yards and winning the contest.
  • Derek Anderson: While I wouldn't characterize his performance as "bad", it certainly wasn't good. Anderson missed a few throws such as the pass thrown at Heiden's knees and the interception, but he played within himself which was good enough for a Browns' victory. Anderson's second half play inspired hope for the offensive unit, and perhaps served as something to build on for week 6.
The Ugly

  • This game: Yup, it was ugly. The penalties, fumbles, missed tackles, and timeout management for the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals were downright sloppy. I'm glad to see both teams represented the state of Ohio so well. The biggest message I'd like Romeo to deliver to the team over the next two weeks is one driven by avoiding complacency. From an in-game perspective, the Browns should have very little to feel good about after leaving Cincinnati. Make no mistake about it, there still is work to be done.

Paul Brown must have been looking down on these two Ohio teams today with shame and embarrassment . The organizational fundamentals and discipline Brown made so famous with both franchises was no where to be seen on Sunday afternoon. The Browns need to clean up their play, retool, and focus over the bye week. The New York Football Giants will pose a more serious challenge, and the Browns will have no chance to compete in their current condition.

But hey - now's not the time to get down about that. Today's win means there's still a glimmer of hope in Cleveland - albeit a small one. The first step to a cinematic ending is to write the script - and we have a great starting point heading into the bye week. After all, you can't have a movie script without drama and controversy, right?

The national stage has been set! Coming soon to a theater near you: Cinderella 2: The 2008 Cleveland Browns' Story.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com