As Eric Mangini closes in on what could be his last game as head coach of the Browns, Mangini is trying his best to make a case for another crack at leading the team, given the impending arrival of Mike Holmgren as team president.
On Friday, Mangini dusted off his effort to compare the Browns to the Patriots.
Yes, the Patriots, who have won one fewer Super Bowl title this decade than the Browns have won games this season.
Asked Friday whether the Browns have “something special’ about them like the 2001 Patriots, Mangini had this to say: “I feel like it’s a lot closer to that because what you see is guys, really take pleasure in somebody else’s success. It’s not a function of, ‘I got a pick. Let me go celebrate to the crowd. Let me make sure everybody on TV knows who I am.’ It’s not that. It’s not this personal ‘look at me’ type stuff.
“It’s more guys running down and jumping on top of each other and celebrating with each other, whether it’s offensively, defensively. Special teams come off and everybody’s into [it]. The quarterbacks are into special teams tackles as much as anybody. If someone’s not getting it there’s not a sense of anger towards that person or alienating him, it’s, ‘How can we help him understand this better?’
“When you get in that situation, good things happen. It’s not always easy to get there. I think it’s more hard to do that than anything else, but when you do start approaching things that way it’s back to like the essence of team sports, where everybody’s all in.”
It sounds good, but then again the 2001 Patriots won the Super Bowl. The 2009 Browns are going for a season-ending four-game winning streak against non-playoff teams, after losing 11 of 12 to start the year.
Mangini also paid a little homage to Eddie Haskell, smooching the rear end of the Big Show by praising his ability to assess quarterbacks.
“I think that what we are going to have to do is just take a step back and take some time,” Mangini said. “There’s a real aid in having a guy like Mike [Holmgren] come in who’s got so much experience with quarterbacks and he’s a fresh set of eyes. He can look at things objectively. He can look at it in the context of his experiences. I am sure he going to add great insight into that and analysis. Being a defensive coach and not coaching that position you can analyze it in one context, but having someone who has coached it, who has been an offensive coordinator, a head coach he’s going to see it differently. Also, there’s no bias. He can just be objective.”
Mangini probably also thinks that whole “defensive coach” thing helps his cause, too, since the combination of an offensive mind and a defensive mind in theory gives the Browns the ability to put both ends together and win more than four or five games in 2010.
In our view, Mangini’s smartest move would be to abandon any efforts to subtly make his case through the media for a second season. Holmgren is smart enough to see through the reality that Mangini thinks he’s smart enough to influence the process via backhanded comments made with his own self interests firmly in mind.