- If you have read some reports in the local Cleveland media, you would assume new head coach Eric Mangini has had no communication -- directly or indirectly -- with the current coordinators. As previously reported by theOBR, the Cleveland Browns football organization has informed offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker they could interview with other teams. Now, why would the Browns and Mangini permit such moves in this competitive environment if the new head coach did not approve of such activities?
- With certainty, this column can say neither coordinator on former head coach Romeo Crennel's staff will remain in their current role. Each coach may be offered a position on Mangini's staff, but, according to team sources, this appears to be unlikely.
- Crennel has indeed been excluded from the defensive coordinator role and it does not appear the veteran coach will be on Mangini's staff. A team source tells theOBR that Mangini would like for Crennel to be a part of the organization in some capacity, and an advisory role has been a subject of discussion.
- Yes, as John Taylor of theOBR reported, Rob Ryan, formerly of the Oakland Raiders, has been released from his contract and will be the defensive coordinator of the Browns. Ryan is in Cleveland as he and Mangini continue to compile their wish list to fill out the defensive side of the staff. According to a league source, Mangini and Ryan appear to be targeting no less than one assistant coach on the defensive side of the ball of the Raiders.
- League sources tell theOBR that Mangini also has no less than three New York Jets assistant coaches in mind to help fill out his staff. As of this writing, Mangini still would like to secure the services of former Raiders head coach and assistant on Mangini's staff in New York, Bill Callahan. Callahan remains a candidate for the Jets' head coaching position and is currently under contract. TheOBR has been told by sources in New York that it is unlikely Callahan will gain the head coaching position and could be released from his contract if he's officially taken out the search. However, if Brian Schottenheimer is named the head coach, that may be enticing enough for Callahan to remain in New York.
- Brian Daboll, the quarterbacks coach under Mangini with the Jets, remains the leading candidate to be named offensive coordinator in Cleveland. With Ryan having agreed to the defensive coordinator position, Mangini could announce the official hiring of both coaches over the next few days. One obstacle could be the potential role of Callahan as Mangini may be looking at the coach as an assistant head coach and position coach. Either way, unless a significant and unforeseen issue develops, Daboll will be on Mangini's staff.
- From what theOBR has been told, the Jets are looking to solidify candidates in their coaching search as there has been some concern regarding Mangini looking to strip the available staff in New York, while also having the pick of the litter amongst available or promotable assistant coaches around the league.
- Rich McKay of the Atlanta Falcons has officially removed himself from consideration for the Browns general manager position. McKay, from what theOBR has been told, felt the opportunity in Cleveland was not a match for him. Naming a head coach and working toward putting together a staff without his involvement is cited as immediate reasons for his decision.
- As this column has been noting since the termination of general manager Phil Savage, T.J. McCreight remains a solid and significant player in the Browns front office. Team owner Randy Lerner believes McCreight is every bit the talent evaluator Savage -- if not better -- as well as privately noting McCreight has been an exceptional employee and worthy of a major voice in the front office.
- Under the direction of McCreight, the front office and personnel staff has continued to scout players. There has been some insight given to theOBR from those close to the situation that the staff likes working with McCreight. McCreight is known to be personable, thorough and much more at ease working with the group, as opposed to being a voice that was often unavailable.
- George Kokinis, the president of pro personnel in Baltimore, is scheduled to interview with Randy Lerner for the Browns' vacant general manager post. Kokinis has been rumored to be the front-runner for the post; if his interview with Lerner is less than impressive, however, the possibility remains for Lerner to look toward another candidate. Though such an occurence is unlikely, the possibility exists.
- Speculation in league circles has been that Lerner was overwhelmed with Mangini's desire, knowledge and determination in leading the Browns back to prominence. Mangini had a deft knowledge of the Browns' situation, as well as relaying to the team owner that being the head coach of the Cleveland Browns was his dream opportunity and feels he will provide the leadership, determination and guidance the organization requires.
- While there has been some speculation that Mangini worked his exit from New York to be in position to become the Browns' head coach, those close to the situation claim the subtle New York Times report is nonsense. However, they did tell theOBR Mangini was a different coach as the season progressed. Some believe that was due to his discomfort and not agreeing to the Brett Favre saga that played out at the behest of the team owner and general manager.
Lane's Skinny Tidbits: Let's Not Be Naive
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