I cannot believe there is any doubt. Of course the Browns have to fire Eric Mangini and move on. Here's the deal, the Browns beat terrible Chiefs and Raiders teams. I went to the Chiefs game, and I can assure you that had the KC receivers not just blatantly dropped multiple passes, they would have won the game. And while I am giddy that the Browns finally beat the Squeelers and pleased that they beat the Jags, both those games were played in ridiculously cold conditions that greatly hindered the passing game. That didn't matter for the Browns, because they were so incompetant passing the ball that it was not an issue. Look, even the "discovery" of Jerome Harrison is actually an indication of incompetence--Harrison should have been handed the ball a long time ago, by Crennel and Mangini. It took injuries for them to realize that a guy who averages over 5 yards a carry and reminds me of Priest Holmes should get the ball 20 times a game. Even then, it was disgusting to watch the team waste Harrison's running by complete ineptitude in the passing game. As far as I know, they didn't even try a play action pass in those last four games. I know they didn't against the Chiefs.
But leaving all that aside, there's no way that an offensive guy like Holmgren is going to stand for the goat rope we had this year on the offensive side of the ball. So he is going to all but install an offense and/or name an offensive coordinator. How's that going to work? Will the new guy report to Holmgren or Mangini? We all know how it will seem, especially given how much control Mangini demanded and got this past year.
Which brings us to another issue that Mike cannot ignore: Mangini's reputation. The word is out, and very few players in the league want to play for a chubby non-football playing control freak who does not win consistently. Since good ole Eric went and traded away or alienated all the skilled Pro Bowl offensive players (Winslow, Edwards, Lewis) this past year, the Browns need to draw players in free agency, and they won't be competitive with Mangini as coach. Sorry, he's gotta go.
Now let's go get Gruden, keep Ryan as the DC, and turn this thing around.
A few years back, a fellow historian who I had met and befriended when we were on a conference panel together at the Society for Military History introduced me to a journalist friend of his who had some questions about historical issues relating to the U.S. Army. I helped him out as much as I could, although frankly he's a smart enough guy that he didn't need me much. As evidence, he now writes pretty regularly for the Atlantic Monthly. Here's his latest, "SimCity Baghdad." His name is Brian Mockenhaupt. I've mentioned him before, but look him up again (here's a recent sample). He's rapidly becoming the most fair, most informed, and simply the best journalist covering the military today.
Finally, it took a while, but I have finally come of age as a hobbit. Now I go eat ice cream cake.