What We've Been Told

Get an inside look at the Browns coaching search, and learn more about recent news reports which have caused chuckles inside of Berea. Lane brings the scoop, per usual.

- As the general manager search continues, Browns owner Randy Lerner doesn't feel pressured into making a move too quickly. Lerner, according to what we've been told, believes getting the right head coach immediately far outweighs expediting the hire of a GM. It isn't that Lerner wouldn't like to have a GM under contract now, but candidates dropping off radar and others seemingly taking their time with the process have left Lerner in the position of waiting to interview some candidates, looking at a sequence of candidates and simply continuing the process.

- George Kokinis, Vice President of Pro Personnel for the Baltimore Ravens, is next to interview for the Browns GM position. According to numerous sources and reports, Kokinis is the leading candidate for the Browns post. Still, keep an eye on some underlying issues regarding his position. One of these may be pressure being applied by those he is close with in Baltimore, reminding him how former Browns GM Phil Savage was treated by the organization, as well as communicating some concern about the actual stability of the Cleveland organization.

- Rich McKay withdrew from consideration because of his concerns about the Browns process of hiring a head coach and continuing their search for assistant coaches without a GM in place. A belief which has gained steam within league circles is head coach Eric Mangini is going to be a major voice within the Browns organization - which includes a close relationship in personnel moves. Numerous GM type candidates are wary that joining the Browns organization may result in their having more of a title than actual authority.

- The song remains the same regarding Scott Pioli of the New England Patriots. Pioli, believed to be the front-runner for the Browns GM gig, has been conducting business with the Kansas City Chiefs in an attempt to secure the GM position. As was the case with the Browns, Pioli has had numerous discussions with the Chiefs and both parties continue to talk, similar to how Lerner and Pioli went back and forth prior to Lerner hiring Mangini as the head coach. Pioli has not officially withdrawn from consideration for the Browns GM vacancy, nor have the Browns excluded Pioli from their list of candidates, although the chances of Cleveland becoming a landing pad for Pioli are remote.

- Speaking of the Patriots, the team's offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, interviewed extremely well with the Browns. If not for Mangini becoming available, McDaniels could have been the name associated with the Cleveland Browns as head coach. The Ohio native truly impressed the owner of the Browns.

- A couple reports recently caused the decision makers within the Browns organization to chuckle in disbelief. Mike Lombardi, a former front office - something - for the Browns under Bill Belichick, reported the Browns are seeking to trade QB Derek Anderson and TE Kellen Winslow. TheOBR has been told that the new head coach has not begun to entertain specifics regarding the roster, particularly trades. Mangini's first 48-hours at the helm of the Browns has been somewhat the same as the prior 48-hours, namely, spending his time lining up assistants and candidates to join him in Cleveland.

- With each passing day, this column learns more about the issues between former head coach Romeo Crennel and Savage. While some details are a little sketchy, it would be safe to say that Savage was far less than upfront with the former head coach about numerous issues from personnel to the active game-day roster. This includes some disturbing dialogue initiated by Savage to Crennel which supposedly had come from the team owner on more than one occasion, according to sources.

- While Crennel was well-liked in the locker room, numerous players have discussed the 2008 season with theOBR and the message has been crystal clear. Crennel is a solid man and he did not have an issue dealing with players. At the same time, Crennel did not have a great relationship with his immediate coaching staff, many of whom were selected by Savage. Throughout Crennel's tenure, there was an element of mistrust between he and Savage which was only magnified when the former GM simply refused to listen to pleas from the former head coach regarding personnel.

- As Mangini takes the reins in Cleveland, the defense is expected to look the same - but different. Rob Ryan, the Browns new defensive coordinator worked with Mangini on Bill Belichick's staff in New England prior to being the defensive coordinator in Oakland. The Browns base defense will be the 3-4, but expect some subtle changes to the scheme. The new defense will likely include an increased aggressiveness and physical presence if the personnel is in place to do so. Reports of the defensive philosophy being the same as under Crennel are somewhat accurate, but with the noted subtle changes having a significant impact.

- Reports from here and elsewhere speculated that Mangini was assembling a potential staff prior to his hire. Since then, theOBR has learned this was indeed the case. Upon his meeting with Randy Lerner, Mangini had made numerous calls to available coaching candidates. Despite speculation that Mangini wanted Bill Callahan (his assistant head coach with the Jets) for the offensive coordinator position in Cleveland, we have been told this was not the case. Mangini quickly approached Brian Daboll to run the Cleveland offense. Mangini prefers the New England style of offense that Daboll, his quarterbacks coach in New York, learned as a member of the New England Patriots. As for Callahan, he has not been released from his contract with the Jets, although Mangini would like to bring the former Raiders' head coach in to be his assistant.

- It appears Callahan is playing the waiting game, as he is a candidate for the head coaching position in New York and could join the staff of current Jets' offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, if he gains the head coaching position of the Jets.

- Sources tell theOBR, Mangini could name as many as four assistant coaches to his staff, beyond the aforementioned Rob Ryan and Brian Daboll, in the coming days once coaches once coaches are able to get out of their current contracts.


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