Herald: Mangini not ready

Michael Felger covers the New England Patriots for the Boston Herald. He knows a lot more about Eric Mangini than reporters in New York who are annointing him the next big thing.

"Is Eric Mangini ready? Is he even that good? wrote Felger about the leading candidate for the Jets opening. "How would anyone from the outside have any idea?

"The uncertainty surrounding the Patriots young defensive coordinator is considerable, but that's not stopping the New York Jets. Reports continued to intensify that the Jets will offer Mangini their head coaching job as early as Sunday when the sides meet for an interview in the Foxboro area.

"What a reach.

"Jets owner Woody Johnson is said to be obsessed with Bill Belichick's program, which is reasonable enough. Mangini also has close ties with the Jets front office (most notably assistant general manager Mike Tannenbaum, a fellow "Belichickian" and Needham native). But put those factors aside and it's hard to see what has so enamored the Jets to Mangini.

"His resume is paper-thin, and in the first season in which he had any real control over the defense (this one), the results were spotty at best. The Pats were 26th in total defense, 31st against the pass and 17th in points allowed.

"In fact, the defense was underwhelming in virtually every area, with the exception of run defense, in which the Pats surged to eighth in the league. But how much did Mangini have to do with that? In addition to his coordinator duties, Mangini is the Pats' full-time secondary coach, and Belichick said last week he had to spend more time with the front seven this year than at any point in recent memory.

"Perhaps that was subtle way of tempering the Mangini hysteria, or perhaps it was just a statement of fact. Here's all we know: The Pats were underwhelming for most of the year in the two areas where Mangini had the most control - the defense in general and the secondary in particular.

"There were injuries, of course, and it's entirely possible the defense could have been worse if not for Mangini. But how would the Jets know that? It certainly looked a lot better under Romeo Crennel in 2003 and '04, when the Pats were also ravaged by injuries.

"Mangini's 2005 defense played great against bad offenses and got torched by good ones. For that Mangini becomes a must-hire?

"It just doesn't make sense."

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