I know the hiring of both head coach Eric Mangini and GM George Kokinis has not exactly brought joy to the hearts of Browns fans everywhere, and nowhere is anyone running in the streets singing U2’s “Beautiful Day.” I’ll admit that I have my own fears and reservations about this new regime, but I do think it can be successful, or at least have a better shot at being successful than the Savage-Crennel debacle. Here’s why (and it’s actually quite simple): the two are friends.
It sounds ridiculous, but it’s going to go a long way in helping turn this team around. It is no secret at this point that former coach Romeo Crennel and former GM Phil Savage could hardly ever agree on anything, making for a particularly tense relationship. It is essential that a coach and GM see eye-to-eye on personnel matters, as it just makes the day-to-day process of running a football team that much easier.
Mangini and Kokinis once shared an apartment together when they worked with Browns some 15 years ago. If there is any question that they are going to work well together, it should be squashed. What’s more important is that these two understand how to run a football team to prominence and not into the ground. Kokinis saying he wants to build the team through the draft is certainly not a bad start. Savage could have proclaimed that mantra all he wanted, but the only results that came to fruition were expensive contracts to aging veterans that worked short-term and revealed their flaws in the long-term. The same goes for the draft – it’s surprising how no one seemed to care that the Browns’ first pick in the draft last year was in the fourth round. That’s what a flash in the pan 10-6 year will do to you.
I can sense that these two are in it for the long haul. Whether or not you agree or disagree with their core beliefs when it comes to running a football team doesn’t matter. What matters is that both men are dedicated to building the team through dedication and hard work. Mangini seemed insane at first for requesting Kokinis as his GM, but it doesn’t seem as ridiculous anymore. Browns fans really should have some level excitement about what these two can accomplish – imagine what Mangini could have done in New York if he had the same support from his front office. The question isn’t whether or not these two can work together, it’s whether or not they’ll have anyone singing “Beautiful Day” in the streets.