The good news (then again, getting a buyout might be the best news) for Browns coach Eric Mangini is that owner Randy Lerner won’t be using the bye week to change coaches of his 1-7 team.
The bad news for Mangini is that there seems to be no guarantee beyond 2009. (Then again, buyout.)
And the confusing news is that Lerner seems to be interested in hiring someone who’ll offer the kind of day-to-day guidance and voice that Lerner simply isn’t willing to provide.
“The highest priority that I have is a strong, credible, serious leader
within the building to guide decisions in a far more conspicuous, open
transparent way,” Lerner said after Sunday’s 30-6 loss to the Bears, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I can maybe defend decisions by saying I’ve sought
advice and I’ve brought people in, and we’ve gone to see people — and
I think my highest priority is to have a stable figure that represents
the voice that explains the decisions.”
Basically, the owner seems to be interested in hiring someone who’d offer a presence similar to Bill Parcells in Miami, but with greater visibility. The person would need to have strong NFL street cred and an ability to help guide the decisions made by the coach and/or the General Manger — and when necessary to talk about the job security of the coach and/or the General Manager.
With so many complaints about Mangini and G.M. George Kokinis, Lerner is the only person currently in position to talk about the situation, and Lerner simply doesn’t want to do it. And that’s his prerogative.
The problem, however, is that hiring someone who’ll fill the role that Lerner envisions will surely want to fire Mangini and Kokinis and hire his own coach and personnel executive.
And as Peter King pointed out earlier tonight during NBC’s Football Night In America, a decision not to fire Mangini and Kokinis after one season could create a situation in which the current regime drafts a quarterback high in round one, the current regime gets fired after 2010, and the new regime as of 2011 wants a different quarterback.
Still, Lerner seems to be on the right track. Men and women who have accumulated and/or inherited a great deal of wealth are not necessarily suited to make sound decisions regarding the hiring of football coaches and other football executives. In Mangini’s case, Lerner locked onto Mangini at a time when no one else was interested.
And so the Browns’ current admiral now seems to be out of ammo when it comes to answering the simple question of why he hired a coach who had been freshly fired by the Jets and unwanted by any other teams with head-coaching vacancies.
Of course, Lerner still must hire the person who would be responsible for hiring the coach and the G.M. And there’s no guarantee that a good decision will be made in that regard.
At some point, frankly, Lerner needs to make once and for all a decision that apparently is long overdue.
Should Randy Lerner continue to be in the football business, or should he sell the team to someone who might do a better job of running the franchise which has only a single one-and-down playoff appearance to show for 11 years back in the league?
We’ve got a feeling that we know how Browns fans would resolve that dilemma.