Tag Archives: Cleveland Browns

In The New NFL, Sometimes Winning IS Losing!

5 Jan

Winning can never be a bad thing, right?  After all, in the NFL, winning is the assignment.  It’s the name of the game.  Just win, baby!

Except, sometimes winning can blind you to things in sports.  If you somehow pull off a victory or more victories than expected, it can fool you into not making needed changes. 

That’s true whether you’re 11-5 or 5-11.   Take Dallas.  They’ve the NFC East Champs.  They are 11-5 and they seem to have left behind the kind of bad football they’ve been known for at the end of the season.  All of which means that Wade Phillips’ job just may be safe.   Only Jerry Jones knows for sure.

Let’s say the Cowboys even go so far as to win a game or two in the playoffs, let alone get on a run and win the Super Bowl.  Each additional playoff win makes it that more likely that Phillips is staying put in Dallas.

That’s great for Phillips, but maybe not so great for the franchise.  Now, I hate the Cowboys as much as any Giants’ fan, but even I can’t lie about the fact that Bill Cowher and Mike Shanahan are far better coaches than Wade Phillips.

Why do I mention Cowher & Shanahan?

Because they are two available head coaches that Dallas could bring in to replace Wade.  Worse yet for Dallas and their fans, Shanahan is most likely going to be taking the Redskins job very very soon.  Once Shanahan gets the Skins turned around, Dallas will be faced with facing off with Shanahan twice a year.  Who would you bet on in a tight NFL game – Shanahan or Phillips?

No question about it.  Shanahan.  Yet, the Cowboys will be stuck with Phillips.

So, clearly winning can mess up the future of a franchise.  But what if your franchise admittedly doesn’t have much a future?

The Browns are a mess.  Yet, somehow at the end of the season they’ve managed to win four in a row.  Eric Mangini, who it seemed the players hated, even gave him a victory Gatorade bath after their last game.  So, maybe the players have come around (or maybe they were trying to give him a pneumonia we’ll never know for sure).

But, with Mike Holmgren coming in as the Czar of all things football for Cleveland, the four game streak is going to make it much tougher to fire Eric Mangini. 

Mangini should get credit for the streak and for hanging in when it seemed like he was hanging on by a thread.  Eric Mangini is not, however, the best coach the Browns could hire.

Will Mike Holmgren see that or will he be seduced by the win streak?

As the Boy & Browns prove, winning can be a bitch…

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Browns Hire Mangini! Promise To Be Less Fun Next Year!

8 Jan

Just read that the Browns have hired Eric Mangini to be their head coach today.  Not only that, but he’ll get input into who they hire as their next GM.

So, if my calculations are correct, Mangini, who went two games under .500 for his brief three season Jets career, comes out of all of this with more power than he ever had in New York.  Guess that’s what getting a team to 8-3 and then collapsing down the stretch will get you in the NFL these days.

For whatever else Mangini does in Cleveland, the Browns will certainly be un-fun.  Mangini is a dour guy as a head coach.  Parcells, who I loved when he was Big Blue’s coach, could be pretty dour too.  With Parcells though, you had glimpses of a great sense of humor and the real sense he enjoyed the NFL.

Mangini is no Parcells as a coach.  Will all know that.  While both guys can be dour, Mangini takes it to another level where he simply doesn’t seem to allow himself to enjoy all that comes with being a head coach in the NFL.  The bigger problem than Mangini not being the life of the party or not being a good quote is that his negativity bleeds into his teams.

I think there’s a direct connection between the Jets collapse and the fact that very simply that team wasn’t allowed to really come alive.   I’m not saying that’s the only reason, but I do think that when people are allowed to express their personalities a little bit and when leadership sets a tone of some of the pro experience being flat out a cool ride, that teams do better.  I guess they’re just looser.  And we all perform better when we’re looser.

Good luck to Eric Mangini and good luck to Browns fans.

Today they say goodbye to Romeo Crennel and hello to Eric Mangini.

Today, I’m thankful I’m not among them.

Coach This! A Chrystal Ball Guide To Who’s Coming & Going!

9 Dec

Perhaps only the Pittsburgh Steelers, Utah Jazz and Atlanta Braves have truly learned the value of continuity.  Every other pro sports franchise these days either can’t find the right guy to hire or doesn’t give that guy enough time and support to really turn things around.

With that volatility in mind, here’s some quick thoughts on various pro coaches, their futures and recent pasts:

Marty Schottenheimer– Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage, the current coach/GM combo for the Cleveland Browns are in a lot of hot water.  One year after their breakthrough 10-6 campaign, the word is one or both of the two are likely goners.  And who’s rumored to take over?  None other than Marty Schottenheimer, who started his long and distinguished regular season career with the original Browns back in the ’80s.

Marty is a winner and has been everywhere he’s been, except for the playoffs.  The Browns may have overachieved last year, but they do have talent.  Wouldn’t it be something to see Marty Schottenheimer bring his career full circle by wrapping things up in Cleveland with the Super Bowl title he’s chased so long?  Stranger things have happened!

Wade Phillips– He’s got to be done now, right?  This past Sunday is a perfect example of Phillips’ head coaching legacy.  Up ten with nine minutes to go and he lets Offensive Coordinator/HC in Waiting Jason Garrett start winding down the clock way too early.  What should have been a huge road win and boon to Dallas’ playoff hopes ends up as another crushing defeat and Dallas will likely miss the playoffs.

Phillips is apparently a great defensive coordinator.  And, if he wants to stay in the NFL, that’s what he’ll be next year.  He’s finished running Jerry Jones’ squad.

Norv Turner – He’s Phillips’ flip side.  Turner is a great offensive coordinator who just can’t get it done as a head coach.  San Diego has way more talent than their record shows.  With Turner at the helm that’s not a surprise.  By now the league has caught on and neither Phillips or Turner will be a head coach anywhere other than in their current jobs.

Dick Jauron–  After starting the season at 5-1, it’s all gone down hill for the Bills.  Based on that strong start, Buffalo extended Jauron’s contract.  What has Buffalo brass got to be thinking about that extension right now? 

I never understood the urgency.  But, maybe it’s cosmic payment for Jauron.  After all, he did a decent job in Chicago and got bagged there kind of unfairly.  (He got screwed over)  So, this could be the way the football gods make it up to him and his family.

PJ Carlesimo– A great college coach, who loves the NBA lifestyle too much to return where he really belongs.  Apparently, he’s a great NBA assistant and was very popular in that role in San Antonio.  Somehow he loses his people skills when he gets that head coach title.  Rule number one in the NBA is don’t alienate your franchise number one draft choice, especially when he’s going for 20 a night in his rookie year.   PJ forgot that.  And now the NBA will forget his name for future coaching openings.

Eddie Jordan– I can’t believe the  Wizards were stupid enough to fire him.  If I were a GM looking for my next NBA head coach, I’d have Jordan’s digits on speed dial.  The guy has won in places that no one wins.  As a player, he led Rutgers to a Final Four.  As an assistant coach, many felt he deserved more credit than Byron Scott for the lowly NJ Nets fortunes turning earlier this millennium.  Leaving Jersey for another perennial loser in DC, Jordan managed to regularly get the Wizards to the playoffs before being dismissed.  Some day, Eddie Jordan will win an NBA title as a head coach.  And that day will come before the Wizards franchise grabs its next title.

Kevin McHale– What a great player and what a horrible GM.  His reign of terror in Minnesota goes on unabated.  There’s no logical explanation for his lasting so long there even if he’s a massive b-ball icon in the state.  It’s bordering on the ridiculousness of Elgin Baylor’s time with the Clips or Mike Millsbury’s time with the NHL’s Islanders.

Now, however, McHale may be close to done.  Ownership fired the ‘Wolves head man and today word came out that McHale will be stepping down from his executive duties to take over as coach for the long term.   Only McHale can save himself now.

Hmmmm….. That move didn’t work out too well for one Isiah Thomas.  To be fair, McHale pulled this stunt once before and manged to go about 19-12.  For the Timberwolves these days, that would be a HUGE improvement.

So what’s the take away?

Everyone finds their level in life and in sports.  Great coordinators or assistants aren’t always great head coaches.  As a GM, it’s your job to know the difference.

If you’re a GM and you’ve got an Eddie Jordan at the helm, then be patient.  But, not so patient that he ends up turning into undeserving lifer like a Kevin McHale.

Dennis Kucinich is out. They’re Dropping Like Flies!

25 Jan

Go to fullsize imageDennis Kucinich finally wised up and got himself out of the race for President.  Now the only questions are can he withstand a challenge to his house seat and what took so long for him to get the message that he wasn’t going to be elected President?

If I were a citizen being repped by Kucinich, I’d be ticked.  He’s spent months of his time on his completely improbable bid for the White House.  How about making sure my garbage is being picked up in Cleveland, buddy?

As someone not lucky enough to live in Kucinich’s district, I don’t think he was doing the nation any favors either.  I get the whole idea of staying in the race even when it’s obvious that you can’t win for some higher purpose like influencing the direction of the debate.  Perhaps that will end up being John Edwards fate.  But, let’s face it, no one was listening to Kucinich.

I love an underdog as much as anyone else, but at a certain point you’ve got to realize when the market just isn’t there for what you’re selling.  And nobody was buying Kucinich. 

Clearly after seven years of the Bush Administration, the country seems open to a less conservative or perhaps less Republican approach to governing, but outside of Kucinich’s immediate family it was chrystal clear that our nation wasn’t putting the former mayor of Cleveland into the White House.

But cheer up Clevelandites (or is it Clevelanders), your Browns and Indians are both on the up swing!  And it’s that what’s most important after all?