Three Yards And A Cloud Of Dust


Certainly, Eric Mangini is no Bill Cowher, who was everyone's first choice to replace the deposed Romeo Crennel in Cleveland. But he's also not an overmatched college coach, like Butch Davis, or an assistant/coordinator with no prior head coaching experience, like the too-gentlemanly Crennel.

(A word here for Romeo Crennel, who did many good things with former GM Phil Savage in rebuilding the Browns. He was a smart, tough coach who always carried himself with class and quiet dignity, even as his team fell apart around him. In the end, even with that wonderful 10-6 season last year, he didn't seem like the right man for this most mercurial of teams-- between a profanity-spewing boss, a passive-aggressive set of players and the most rabid fan base in pro football, Crennel's steady low-key nature probably wasn't aggressive enough to put it all back together. But he is a good man who deserves another chance with a more stable team, and I wouldn't mind if the rumor in this article was true, and he stayed on as the Browns' defensive coordinator, although for the life of me I can't imagine why he'd want to).

Back to Mangini-- he's young, he's smart, and he's already shown he can deal with coach-killing prima donnas. He did good things with the Jets, and if that team's ownership hadn't been seduced by the Favre press hype and had stuck with the more productive Chad Pennington, Mangini might still be the Jets' coach. I think he'll be a good fit for young quarterback Brady Quinn. In other words, he's not a glamorous choice, but he might be a strong, solid one-- less a gorgeous touchdown pass than a tough shove forward that gains a few yards. In the current world of the Browns, that certainly counts as progress, and if the team can avoid the injury-and-illness plague that took out so many key starters this year, 2009 could be a good year for the Brownies.


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