If Mangini stays, get ready for a year of Gruden rumors

One of the rumors making the rounds in connection with Mike Holmgren’s possible return to Seattle was that Holmgren would then try to lure Jon Gruden, a former Holmgren assistant in Green Bay, out of the broadcast booth.

But Gruden has made it clear that he won’t coach next year, and since football coaches always tell the truth we’ll take Gruden at his word.

But he’s the latest theory that is snaking through the NFL rumor mill.  If Holmgren decides to keep coach Eric Mangini in place for a year, Holmgren then can pursue Gruden after the 2010 season.

The risk, of course, is that if the Browns have a strong season, Mangini will be bulletproof.  Moreover, Holmgren would need to be concerned that Mangini might try to parlay his popularity into power within the organization.

It’s a delicate situation for Holmgren.  If he’s looking to hire a guy who has previously worked for him, Holmgren’s options for 2010 are limited to guys like Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Redskins coach Jim Zorn, and Seahawks coach Jim Mora.

But what about former 49ers and Lions coach Steve Mariucci?  Mooch served as quarterbacks coach in Green Bay from 1992 through 1995 before a one-year stint as the head coach at Cal, which led to his tenure as head coach of the 49ers and thereafter the Lions.

Still, if Gruden is the guy whom Holmgren wants and Gruden doesn’t want to coach in 2010, Holmgren needs another plan.

In our view, the least attractive strategy would be to keep Mangini around.

40 responses to “If Mangini stays, get ready for a year of Gruden rumors

  1. How about making a hire of Leslie Frazier or Ron Rivera and giving them a run at a head-coaching position? Make a new Holmgren Legacy?

  2. “If Mangini stays, get ready for a year of Gruden rumors”
    Translation: Get ready for a year of PFT perpetuation Gruden rumors.

  3. “The risk, of course, is that if the Browns have a strong season, Mangini will be bulletproof.”
    Yeah, I’m sure a lot of people in Cleveland, Holmgren included, are thinking ‘jeez, wouldn’t that suck if we made the playoffs next year?’ What a ‘risk.’
    You’re overthinking it Florio.

  4. Hire Mooch! It’s a shame this man is not a head coach anymore while we have to watch unqualified coordinators be hired each and every year. The guy resurrected the 49ers in the post Young-Montana era!? Why isn’t he heading a team?

  5. The least attractive option to the Browns fans who have seen enough is Mangini sticks around. I am tired of hearing how the guys are all playing for him now,bullshit. They should be playing because they have a job that pays a hell of a lot of money for what theydo.
    No offense to the players that earn their dough, but to say that now it shows how Mangini’s tactics work is total bullshit. We are the poor suckers that had to watch and witness firsthand how the QB competition became the laughing stock of the whole NFL and how unprepared they were to play when the season started. To grant this coach another year to destroy anything else in this organization is a joke.
    Let’s not forget the draft, where we all sat and watched how his draft played out.
    He dropped down to pick up more picks and picked a center (like he did with the Jets) and completely missed in the second round with 2 players that were high picks that barely were suited up all season.
    He needs more time like this town needs another losing season…it doesn’t.
    I for one am glad that Lerner got Holgren, we now have a respected proven leader and he has tough choices to make.
    Go Browns and good bye Mangini

  6. It appears as though Zorn will be back into the Temporary Coach Until Someone More Attractive Is Available pool, hire him for the year.

  7. It seems that the best course of action Holmgren can take is to have strong wording in his contract that will protect him from threats such as Mangini gaining sway. Surely that’s been taken care of. So keep Mangini around and if the team continues improving then Holmgren will get credit for his judgement in not firing the head coach.
    My gut feeling is that Holmgren will allow Mangini to continue building the team for another year. Then, when the team is ripe he’ll go fishin’ for an experienced winner. Enter Chuckie.
    The improvements of late would also open the door to a possibility of Mangini surviving all of this for the long-term. It’s too early to judge just yet (for me that is. It’s evident that many people disagree).

  8. Why worry about how hard it will be to fire Mangini if he is successful? Why would you fire a successful coach anyway? Lets break it down. Say Holmgren keeps Mangini next year. He uses his lack of success this season to reign in his power and diminish his control in the name of helping him to succeed as a football coach. (Not unlike what happened to Holmgren himself). If Mangini embraces the opportunity Holmgren can point to that step back as helping Mangini succeed as a coach. He builds on his legend by stabilizing the organization and developing his coach. Holmgren wins. If Mangini fails next season, he can then fire him anytime within the season and say that he gave Mangini an opportunity that he simply wasn’t up to. Again, he wins. Holmgren is a survivor who has a reputation for surrounding himself with fine people. He is not going to put himself in a situation without first accounting for all the possible permutations of an organization in such disarray. Either way, look for Holmgren to make the personnel moves this off season that will improve the Browns next year regardless of who the coach is, which may be Holmgren himself, especially if he fires Mangini in season.

  9. Personally I’d like to know if Mike Holmgren has any connection to Jim Harbough. An interesting side note would be the Harbough brothers coaching against each other twice a year.

  10. Mmmh, let me think:
    Mornhinweg: failure as Lions HC
    Zorn: failure as Redskins HC (I still remember how he coached like a girl in the 2008 season opener – ye gods; plus Swinging Gate)
    Mora jr: Failure as Seahawks HC
    Gruden: Failure or not, drove the Bucs to the ground.
    Mariucci: Failure as Lions HC, arguably a failure as 49ers HC. Never won a single game which mattered.
    Holmgren Coaching tree or not, this is not really a frightening lineup for a guy once described as “Mangenius”. I am not saying Mangini is a good HC, but look at the names you mentioned. That’s coaching waste.
    BTW, you forgot Dick “Cheerio Chaps” Jauron, Harvard alumni and failure as Bears and Bills HC, and Mike Sherman (of whom I have so little memories, so he must have sucked badly)
    Ah, Gruden and Mariucci suck as commentators, so please Browns, hire them both.

  11. This should be interesting. What respectable
    NFL coach or prospect would in his right
    mind want Cleveland and the Browns. The
    city, team and owner are all losers. Maybe
    Lerner should move the team to one of the
    Dakotas. North Dakota would be best. This
    way Lerner could consider a franchise in the
    Canadian Football League. Bismark is the
    capital of North Dakota. The Bismark
    Browns!

  12. You’re right, keeping Mangini is the least attractive option. Because, despite what this site might think, Holmgren is more concerned with winning football games than internal politics. And if you’re trying to win football games than keeping Mangini around is clearly a terrible decision.

  13. Agreeing with JuicyMelon here.
    As a Browns fan, I really hope that Leslie Frazier gets the head coaching position (if it becomes available)
    While he doesn’t specifically have any direct connection to Holmgren himself, Frazier has been ‘groomed’ to be a head coach. He has a nice lineage in place.
    Coming from Philadelphia and then Minnesota, Frazier will want/will run a system similar to that of Holmgren’s philosophy. I am not saying it will be verbatim, as each coach will put their own spin on it, which case it will be three times removed from Holmgren core. That is not to say that it wouldn’t be an interesting blend however, both the Vikings and Eagles have had success on the field in recent years. The formula clearly works and I believe with Holmgren tutoring and molding what Frazier puts on the table, it will be a very good product within a 4 year span.
    Also worth mentioning, if the Browns follow their current path of mimicking what the rest of the AFC North is doing, Frazier fits the mold. A young defensive coordinator from The Vikings. I do realize however that Holmgren may change this as it hasn’t blossomed into fruition in the past.

  14. What about Pat Shurmur. He has ties to Holmgren coaching tree via Andy Reid and Holmgren knew his late uncle Fritz.He is well schooled in the west coast offense. Andy Reid’s former assistants have done well in other coaching positions. Say what you like about Brad “Chilly” Childress( long time Eagles offensive assistant) his teams have made the playoffs and really that’s all that matters in football. Mike Tomlin was hired to head coach the Steelers after a short stint as a coordinator in Minnesota.

  15. All this post is, is Florio taking a gamble that this scenario happens in the future. If it does, he can put up future posts referencing this one to show what a prescient (look it up) genius he is. If it doesn’t, this post will just fade away and no one will remember it. Another cheap, pseudo-journalistic manuever by the master of the art form.

  16. Yeah. Mangini staying and the Browns reaching the playoffs would be devastating for us Cleveland fans. Yes that is sarcasm. Sometimes I think these articles come out of boredom.

  17. The ancient Greeks had a word that fits Gruden – ‘hammaria’, which essentially means your biggest strength is also your tragic flaw. He knows so much about the QB position and is so obsessed with it, that he never ends up developing or sticking with one.

  18. @afiresnake: pretty much everything you said is wrong. By your logic, Belichick should never have gotten the NE job because he was a failed coach in Cleveland.
    Thanks for playing though.

  19. It’s a good thing johnnydom and others, that what’s good for “Browns fans” isn’t necessarily what’s good for the Browns. Just because a coach is fat, uncompromising, doesn’t suck up to the media, and doesn’t have a whole lot of personality doesn’t make him a bad coach. So stop whining that Mangini isn’t getting it done…he was brought in here to take the trash out and that’s exactly what he did. You claim that you want a team that you can be proud of, year in and year out, yet you are not willing to let someone build it for you.

  20. He should give Mooch a try,Mooch had the worse GM ever when he coached the lions and really unfair judge him off his time there…
    Big Show + Mooch something worth being excited about and may be able to right the ship

  21. This ‘story’ isn’t even a rumor. It’s someone sitting around having a few drinks and linking names together that have been linked in the past.
    So lets see. Holmgren got hired in Cleveland. Hmmm. What if he keeps Mangini, what if he doesn’t? Hmmm. (Have another sip). What if Mangini does good next year? Hmmm.
    WTF is this? This is not reporting anything, this is sitting around mentally masturbating over the Christmas holidays.

  22. Mangenius shouldnt even be allowed to coach a team for a game of madden. He either is one of the most over rated coachs of all time OR has the worst luck of any coach, just happening to land on a team that is failing despite anything done by the coaching staff. I think he falls under the first catagory. Over rated (even with a 48 madden rating)!!!

  23. Mike Florio says: “In our view, the least attractive strategy would be to keep Mangini around.”
    Your point is very well taken since you’re voicing the perspective of strategy through Cleveland lenses, but keeping Man-genius behind the wheel of the Browns is actually the most attractive strategy if you’re a Steeler fan, Raven fan or Bengal fan.

  24. If Mangina stays the Browns fans best brace for another “Year of Sucking Dangerously.”
    Holmgren needs to axe Benito ASAP if for no other reason than the fans, players, media, and The Voices all compel him to.

  25. Dont waste your time guys. Jon gruden is coming to the Raiders for 2010 year. I heard it so many times at the Raiders facility. Al Davis doesnt want the media to know about this. Gruden was here two weeks ago for monday night football 49ers vs Arizona. He spent some time with Al Davis before the game and he was partying at Ricky’s bar with the Raiders players and fans. The media could say what ever you guys wanna say but watch in three months you guys will hear that Al davis is hiring former oakland raiders head coach back. Thats why when they ask gruden he says no he will not coach in 2010. Its a surprize Raiders fan…

  26. Yes im beginning to think Holmgren will keep Mangenius, he doesnt have those many options. Especially if the team wins the last two games.

  27. As I said in October, Holmgren will get hired and he will hire a Walshian to be the head coach. I forgot about Mooch, we would love that here in Cleveland. C’mon Mike, Go Get Him!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Excerpt from “Hey, Tony! Tony Grossi answers your Cleveland Browns questions”
    December 27, 2009
    Hey, Tony: Mike Florio said on PFT that Mangini needs fired now because if he keeps winning you can’t get rid of him. Last time I checked the goal is to win correct? Why on earth would wins be a bad thing and why is Mangini so hated, he cannot be that evil of a guy. — Michael Spitale, Galena, Ohio
    Hey, Michael: I don’t buy the reasoning behind firing a guy solely to avoid seeing him win. In the case of Florio, I believe much of his Mangini-bashing is sourced in player agents with personal grudges against Mangini.

  29. Have to be honest right now with all of you!
    I don’t care if it the grand dragon of the Mississippi Chapter of the Ku Klux Klan comes in and coach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am tired of the freakin’ losing!!!!!!!!
    I want a coach, that has some sense – I want 11+ solid draft picks and I wish the injury bug will fly away 134 miles southeast and lock down to a hefty helpings of heinz ketchup and mustard!
    Basically, I want to win! Bring in whoever! Long as they freakin win!!!!!!

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