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This is the fourth edition of this series that we'll be continuing through the end of June, highlighting game-changing moves that have occurred since the end of last season. The first one was about keeping KR Joshua Cribbs a member of the Browns, the second one was about the new look to the secondary this year, and the third one was about the removal of quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson. This week, we talk about the Browns allowing head coach Eric Mangini to stay in charge for another season.
Game-Changing Offseason Move #4: Keeping Eric Mangini in Charge
This one has a lot to do with the addition of team president Mike Holmgren, which if you haven't guessed it, will certainly be a future game-changing post in itself. Keeping Mangini as head coach of the Browns was not a move people originally anticipated, but looking back to the end of last season, it's clear why he is receiving another chance.
The Browns won their final four games under Mangini. When the season is considered lost and there really aren't a ton of superstars on a roster, you don't anticipate going on that type of streak. At the end of the season, there was a definite sense that the philosophy of the coaching staff started to play a factor:
- To counter inept quarterback play, the Browns stayed committed to running the ball. FB Lawrence Vickers started buying into the blocking schemes, and Jerome Harrison was given the opportunity that Romeo Crennel gave him. The commitment is also a tribute to Brian Daboll, who didn't follow the trend that many coordinators do by feeling they always need to mix in the pass just to keep the defense honest.
- Utilizing the talent of Joshua Cribbs became more important in the offensive gameplan.
- The role players that Mangini picked off the waiver wire or via trades -- such as Jason Trusnik and Matt Roth, provided some stability to a linebacker unit that was missing two starters.
- When the veterans were removed from the game due to injury, the youngsters who are the future of the team, played hard for their head coach.
After all of the momentum the Browns built up at the end of the season, gutting the coaching staff (and therefore the roster) probably would not have been the right move. Mangini now receives the "fair" opportunity to continue building the Browns program in his second year with new talent (Scott Fujita, Sheldon Brown), rookies (Joe Haden), and second-year players who are ready to contribute (David Veikune, Brian Robiskie). Whether the move works out or not, there is no doubt that the decision to keep Mangini was a game-changing offseason move.