As the 2009-2010 Browns season closes, I take a look back at the year that was “Mangini” in “Good, Bad, and Ugly” form. I promise that I’ll pick some other topics in addition to Browns going forward. Maybe some music posts, maybe some food posts…we’ll see…but probably lots of Browns too.
1- Keeping Eric Mangini as coach for 2010. Although this technically happened in the “offseason,” I think it deserves a mention here. I believe that Mike Holmgren made this decision for four reasons: (1) he didn’t want to give a new coach a contract when there is a possibility of no football in 2011; (2) he wanted stability and continuity in the organization until Holmgren gets established; (3) he can work with Mangini because Mangini doesn’t demand full power; and (4) he wants to see if Mangini can continue (and possibly finish) what he started here.
No, Holmgren did not care about the 3-4 and 4-3 differences when choosing a coach. No, Holmgren did not care that he runs a West Coast Offense and Mangini ran a running-power based offense. Remember Tom Heckert, GM candidate for the Browns, who supposedly cancelled his interview with the Browns after Mangini was hired because he couldn’t work with him? Well, one rumor is that he interviewed with Mangini (per Rizzo on WKNR), and later cancelled his interview with Seattle.
All in all, it seems like the pundits were wrong about Holmgren and Mangini (I’m looking at you Michael Reghi, Greg Brenda, Aaron Goldhammer, Mike Florio, John Clayton, and Chris Mortensen, etc.) and will write columns softening their previous stance. Others will write columns like this because they got it right. But not many.
While I was rooting for Mangini to have a second year, I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t a shock. It was. But I appreciate the hard decision on behalf of Holmgren
2- The 2009 Draft.
I know many Clevelanders have panned Mangini’s first draft, but I think he (and Kokinis, if he made any decisions) did a fair job. Here is the list:
- 1st: Alex Mack, C
- 2nd: Brian Robiskie, WR
- 2nd: Mohamed Massaquoi
- 2nd: David Veikune
- 4th: Kaluka Maiava
- 6th: Don Carey
- 6th: Coy Francies
- 6th: James Davis
Not only does Alex Mack look like a future pro bowl center, but Massaquoi is a very nice pickup in the late 2nd round. While Robiskie, Veikune, and Francies did not see the field much, and Davis was hurt in the “opportunity period scandal of ’09,” it takes three years to accurately judge a draft. The best find, though, just may be fourth rounder Kaluka Maiava. Just compare the stats of Maiava and the person “everyone in Cleveland wanted:”
Kaluka Maiava (as a back-up): 45 tackles, 34 solo, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Rey Maualuga (as a starter): 63 tackles, 39 solo, 1 sack, 3 forced fumbles
I’m not saying Maiava will be better than Maualuga in the long run, I’m just saying that the people who were outraged at passing Maualuga in the second round should look at the stats again… looks pretty even (solo tackles, sacks and forced fumbles). And remember that Maiava did not play often until the end of the season when DQ and Barton were injured.
With the addition of 11 draft picks in 2011, I think the Browns will have a good base of smart, disciplined players that are hungry to play blue-collar football. I, for one, certainly appreciate that.
3- Eric Wright. I wrote that Eric Wright should have gone to the Pro Bowl and included some stats. Well, let’s update those stats to include the last game of the year:
Eric Wright: 65 tackles, 57 solo, 2 for a loss, and 4 INT’s.
Darrelle Revis: 54 tackles, 47 solo, 0 for loss, 6 INT’s and 1 TD.
Nnamdi Asomugha: 34 tackles, 30 solo, 8 for a loss, and 1 INT.
Champ Bailey: 74 tackles, 63 solo, 3 for a loss, 1 forced fumble, and 3 INT.
Hmmm. Just saying. And lets not forget that Wright’s tackling vastly improved during the year. From this.
Let’s hope he continues his improvement, and gets some help on the other side not named “McDonald.”
1- The Quarterback play. Ugh (watch at :20). Double ugh (watch at 3:28). Triple ugh (watch at 1:18). I almost put this under ugly, that’s how “ugh” it is. DA proved that he cannot be trusted with an offense, and BQ looked like a rookie, plain and simple. Will Brady Quinn be the QB next year? Probably.
But will he improve? Oh God I hope so…
2- 1-11. This was the low point in the season, although the Browns had played “better” since the bye week. Even the Bills win was bad. But credit the coaching staff with getting the players focused, coming up with great game plans (especially Rob Ryan’s Steelers game strategy). But I will not forget how I felt every week until the Pittsburgh game.
I wanted to punch someone really hard.
1- The Media’s Obsession with Destroying Mangini. I should just point you to Pro Football Talk and tell you to search “Browns” or “Mangini.” Or send you to Cleveland Frowns to read the other side of it. But, I won’t be lazy. Ok, maybe a little…
- Water Bottle: it was Braylon Edwards. ‘Nuff said.
- “Opportunity Period” Injury to James Davis: after a report from Adam Schefter, the media made a big deal about this. Browns cleared via videotape
- Bus Ride: Yes, this is Mangini’s fault, but ruining a charity event to destroy someone? Really?
- Kokinis: we won’t know the truth behind this unless the arbitration becomes public. But it’s telling that Lerner fired Kokinis with cause and yet they retained Mangini.
- Talking about Mangini’s firing since October: didn’t work out so well, did it?
2- The “Protest.” I’m sorry, I’m just laughing too hard at the thought of the major “protest” that Dawg Pound Mike planned. Besides giving Cleveland a black eye in the media, it did absolutely NOTHING. Well, it did start a debate in Cleveland over whether there is a point in protesting or not. So, that’s something, I guess…
3- Jamal Lewis. Not only does he complain about, *sniff*, working too hard, but he has a horrible season (500 yards, 0 TDs, only one 100 yard game) and exclaims he is going to retire. Then, Lewis gets hurt and the team responds with a four-game winning streak under which the running game experienced a renaissance. Then, last week, Lewis stated that he may not retire after all. Can you say jealous of Harrison? U-G-L-Y.
4- The Josh Cribbs Situation. This is simple. Cribbs signed a 6-year contract three years ago. Cribbs wants a new contract with three years left. He is currently making around 700k a year. The Browns offered him 1.4 million. Cribbs is insulted by the offer and cleans out his locker, stating that he may never return to the Browns. Key point: Cribbs is under contract for three more years. Cribbs’ only hope is that (1) the Browns up the offer; or (2) the Browns get a great trade for him. Otherwise, and I’m sorry to say this, but Cribbs will have to hold out for three years. I know that this situation will be resolved as soon as Holmgren puts his staff together, but the fact that Cribbs and his agent decide to give the Browns a black eye just three days after Cleveland is abuzz with new possibilities and a new leader = UGLY.
The media jumps on these stories from Cleveland. Does Cribbs actually think a good negotiation tactic is to embarrass his team and city? UGLY.
*All in all, this has been an interesting season. I learned a lot about my loyalty to the Browns and was even inspired to blog about it. Here’s to 2010 and another 9-7 prediction season from everyone in Cleveland.