I don't think anybody saw this one coming.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Pro Football Talk, and other various sources, the Cleveland Browns have shown general manager George Kokinis the door after having the position for around nine months. Kokinis was reportedly escorted by security from the team's practice facility in Berea. The firing comes during the team's bye week, and more changes could be on the horizon. According to team owner Randy Lerner yesterday, firing head coach Eric Mangini will not be included in those changes.
The Plain Dealer had the following tidbit:
One league source said "Kokinis is a great guy who does not deserve this. He is taking the fall for the team's problems and it's not right.''
With Kokinis gone though, does this indicate that Mangini's chances of lasting past this season are somewhat slim? If you recall, Kokinis was hand-picked by Mangini to be the Browns' general manager. Mangini and Kokinis came as a package deal of sorts, and if one goes, the other might not be too far behind.
When Romeo Crennel was fired at the end of last season, many coaching candidates were available for the Browns. Not many people thought Mangini would be our head coach, and it was his "name" that first introduced the possibility of Kokinis as general manager. Here is a post from Dawgs By Nature back in January, when Randy Lerner was suddenly "so impressed" with Mangini's interview:
(January 6, 2009) - Link
Eric Mangini's interview with team owner Randy Lerner went over so well last week that the following has seemed to occur:
- Scott Pioli, who seemed like a definite hire after the firing of Phil Savage, isn't even on the Browns' radar anymore, and is close to accepting an offer from the Kansas City Chiefs.
- No other head coaches are being scheduled for interviews, and it doesn't sound as if serious inquiries have been made to Mike Shanahan or Marty Schottenheimer (two veteran coaches).
- Despite only having three years of experience with the New York Jets as a head coach, Mangini will get the say on who our next general manager is -- Baltimore Ravens director of pro personnel George Kokinis.
- Mangini would receive similar authority and/or respect that Bill Belichick has with the Patriots.
I'd love to hear just what in the world Mangini's sales pitch to Lerner was, especially since there were rumors after he was fired that many executives in the league considered him a "rat" due to Spy Gate.
How quickly things have changed.
Regarding Brian Daboll
According to the Plain Dealer, Eric Mangini indicated today that he will not relieve offensive coordinator Brian Daboll of his duties and believes he can still grow into his role. Instead, he'll allow quarterbacks coach Carl Smith to have more input on offense. Bummer. That doesn't mean Lerner won't overrule Mangini though, right?
We'll have more updates as they come along.