First of all, I think a reality check is in place. We are probably looking at a season somewhere in the 3-13 to 5-11 range. Chances are that Eric Mangini will not be able to show the 2010 squad´s improvement in wins and losses, and in line with the quote of Bill Parcell, you are indeed what your record says you are. Add to that, the fan base will probably be a "Sack Mangini" lean, making it extra difficult for Holmgren to show enough patience and restraint to keep Mangini despite the poor record. After the jump, I am laying out the case for Holmgren to make the unpopular, courageous decision and stick with Mangini.
First of all, Mangini is an excellent game planning coach. He inherited a disaster of a situation, and every divisional game he is required to bring a pea shooter to a gun fight. Consider the divisional matchups. Versus the Ravens, they have 2 HOF draft picks in Ray Ray and Ed Reed, and 2 Pro Bowl (or near) first round draft picks in Suggs, and Ngata. The Browns have exactly 3 of their draft picks on their roster. A Pro Bowl for sure, and likely HOF pick in Joe Thomas. A backup corner, and a developing center with Pro Bowl potential. Throw in the facts that we have not even considered the effective drafts on the Ravens offense (Ray Rice, Flacco, Oher, Heap), nor their ability to cheaply acquire near or Pro Bowl talents like Birk, Boldin, Mason, Pryce, Gregg, etc. For the Browns to stay close to Baltimore with these differences is a sign of a good game plan, and a good game day coach. This same story with Bengals. Loaded with first rounders, pick up of HOFer TO and former top 5 pick Benson on the cheap, and some tremendous drafting in the 2nd round with 8-5, the LB from USC and others. The division organizations, especially Baltimore and Pittsburgh just outpersonnel us.
Secondly, lets think what needs to happen for the Browns to be successful within 2-3 years. We need to utilize high draft picks to add 3 impact players from the following positions. A blue chip QB, a blue chip WR, a dynamic edge rusher, and a ballhawk. We will need to add 1 or 2 solid players each year in the draft from the 3-7th rounds. We will need to add 1-2 players through expert development. I think it is safe to say that all drafts before 2010 failed to add multiple talents and we are starting from scratch. Where does Mangini excell in this equation? While it is fair to criticize him for the 2009 draft, he is Mangenious in player development. In a little over 1 year, here is a (partial?) list of his accomplishments. Cribbs, Rubin, Benard, Evan Moore, Matt Roth, getting TJ Ward ready, Alex Mack´s development from game 1 thru 16, and to a lesser extent Stuckey and Trusnick. Since he has shown full acceptance of his role in the organization (and for a few million I would too), if Heckert provides the talent, I would expect Mangini to a great job developing the talent, and together they would form the combo that would restore the Browns to their former excellence.
I believe in his core values bull shit. I think he believes it. I think it has worked to some extent. What can you say about the 2009 Browns? They showed character when no other team would have. What happened in the Bengal game? When all facts pointed to them losing, they didn´t quit. Without character, this team is 1-15 last year and 0-4 this year. Look at the players he dumped. BE - prolly the Jets would rather have Stuckey. Winslow - Watson is just fine thank you. BQ for Hillis - I´ll give the credit elsewhere. His core players won´t quit - but many are long in the tooth. Give him a couple years with players like Thomas, Mack, TJ Ward, Hillis and we may have something.
So that´s my case. I think the guy can coach, develop players, and can set a winning standard. You are Holmgren, we are 5-11. Most games competitive. What do you do?