CLASSY EXIT: I have no problem with calling it as I see it, nor do I have a problem with taking people to task if I think something is way off base in what they're saying.
The flip side of that is that if someone says something that strikes me as classy, then I have no problem in commenting on that either.
As frequent readers of my material can attest to, I supported what Mike Holmgren did on Monday, and that was turn the page on the Mangini Era in Cleveland. As I've said many times, it was never anything personal, I just looked at the record and direction of the team, and thought that the Browns were on the wrong path going nowhere.
Some disagreed with me, fine, that's what makes a horse race.
I did see this quote from Mangini today:
"I loved being in Cleveland," he said. "The people here have been great to me and my family. The friendships will mean a lot to me and my family. The fans here are great. I'm not the coach, but I am cheering for this team. I want them to consistently succeed for a long time. I really mean that."
Hey, you can't knock the guy for that quote. He didn't need to say anything but chose the high road and I respect that.
Eric Mangini might not have done enough to keep his Browns employment intact, as determined by Mike Holmgren, but you do have to give him credit for going out in a classy manner.
WANTED - ONE (1) FRANCHISE QB: Give credit to owner Randy Lerner for hiring a proven winner in Mike Holmgren. They used to say "all roads lead to Rome." For the Browns, all roads now lead to Mike Holmgren.
His handling of Eric Mangini is a case in point. The Browns finished 2009 with four strong wins. Whether that played any part in Holmgren deciding to retain Mangini has been open to speculation. I believe it saved Mangini just as the opposite - if they had lost the last four - would have worked against him. Would Mangini have been re-hired if the 2009 team finished 1-15?
Apparently Holmgren, who knows more about football than all of us fans combined, agreed with the Browns faithful (including yours truly) who thought Cleveland needed a coaching change.
As for the bigger picture, I don't think the end of season streaks had much of an effect on Holmgren's overall long-term strategy either way. Simply put, Holmgren knows that in the NFL you need a winner at QB. Without that, no franchise is going anywhere.
When Belichick was in Cleveland, the word "genius" was not attached to his resume as a head coach. Why? He didn't have Tom Brady. All football dynasties in the NFL had Hall of Fame QB's. All of them.
From my perspective as a fan, it seemed the 2010 Browns were business as usual. Poor clock management, stupid penalties, dropped passes (on both offense and defense), getting consistently outplayed in the 2nd half.... these are all signs of a 5-11 losing football team.
To a Mike Holmgren (who has the big picture), the Browns have well-identified strengths and weaknesses. His success will be how he puts the parts together, keeping in mind his #1 priority - finding a winning NFL QB.
As a long suffering Cleveland Browns fan, I don't care how he gets it done... Just make the Browns a team I can get excited about at the end of December.