“When you are going out to hire a head coach and a General Manager, it
seemed to me that the head coach hire is the more urgent one,” Lerner
said. “The longer you wait, the less people are available.”
The problem with that logic? Of the four other head-coaching
vacancies with teams other than Mangini’s former employer (Rams, Lions, Broncos, Raiders), Mangini had generated no interest.
Nothing. No interviews, no rumors, no speculation. Nothing.
. . .
So, as it now stands, whoever gets the G.M. job in Cleveland will be stuck with a head coach for the first four years of his tenure. And this means that, if George Kokinis doesn’t take the job, Lerner will be in the unveniable position of having to persuade a G.M. to work with a man who might not have been the G.M.’s first choice in a head coach.
Or his second choice.
Or his tenth choice.
Friday, January 9, 2009
If you want to hear a glowing report about how the Browns have turned the corner and finally appear to be on the right track, please stop reading now.
I have no problem with Eric Mangini being hired as the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Absolutely none. He's young, he's had two out of three winning seasons, and I thought he got a raw deal in New York. To be truthful, I think on paper he makes more sense than just about any other head coaching candidate, including Mike Shanahan.
The substance of this hire is not the problem. The process culminating in the hire, however, is indicative of everything that is wrong with and dysfunctional about the Browns. The problems with the process have been well documented elsewhere so I'll just boil then down to a few lingering questions. 1) Why did Lerner hire a coach before a GM? 2) Why haven't we heard any explanation as to why no other franchise wanted this seemingly desirable coach? 3) Did Lerner have any assistance from football people when making this decision? 4) Why didn't Lerner interview Shanahan? 5) Why wasn't the owner of the organization up on the podium next to the new head coach when he was introduced?
To this point, Lerner has not offered anything in the way of competent answers to any of these questions. Consider a few blurbs from a recent profootballtalk.com article:
I'm not trying to say that Florio and profootballtalk.com are the gospel when it comes to the NFL. That being said, at the very least, this adds credence to my belief that for one reason or another, the other owners and GMs around the league are all secretly laughing and pointing at the Browns...again.
I have defended Randy Lerner since the day he inherited the Browns. I thought he made a defensible decision when he hired Savage and retained him over Collins and that it was simply unforseeable bad luck that Savage turned out to be such a disaster. While it concerned me that Lerner continued to allow the organization to butcher its media relations, I still blamed Savage first and foremost.
With regard to this hiring process, however, whether you wish to view it as puzzling, a bit of a head scratcher, or just completely embarassing, I place the blame squarely on Lerner's shoulders. It is my sincere hope that Lerner lands Kokinis as planned and the Browns begin to get things turned around for good. With that said, however, as one CMCR commenter recently suggested, if this thing gets turned around, it will be because of dumb luck rather than shrewd, calculated, and thoughtful action on the part of the owner.
Sadly, thus far, it appears that the winds of change have only blown more of the same old incompetence into Berea.