Mangini to Stay as a Patriots Assistant
Patriots Insider Staff
Assistant coaches can make or break a team, as many a head coach can attest to. Like normal humans, the head coach can only handle a certain level of hands-on involvement before they become overwhelmed. It is their assistants who help them when times are tough, and can jump into the fire to save a situation no head coach could resolve.
Call it the Peter principle, call it something else, the simple fact is that extending oneself too far, without having competent assistants, has claimed many a career of a promising and talented head coach.
Looking back over the years, one can see that the New England Patriots have benefited from having not only a decent assembly of players, but also a talented and complimentary group of assistant coaches spreading Belichick's philosophy and coaching techniques.
Certainly the focus of the team comes from one source, and that is coach Belichick, but one would be remiss to think all of the credit belongs to one man. Belichick knows that the best way to communicate his message is to have the people closest to him, his coaching staff, spread the word for him. No one person can be everything to all people, and Belichick knows this.
That is one of the many reasons it is imperative for the Patriots to retain assistant coach Eric Mangini. What Mangini lacks in coaching pedigree and longevity he makes up for in his ability to buy into the "system." And spread Belichick's philosophy. It's his belief in doing things the Patriot way, and his sense of loyalty that has put him in the position of being one of a number of rising coaching assistants in the NFL. Mangini, you see, is no ordinary assistant. He's a person who's from all outside perspectives is a hardworking, loyal and talented NFL coach.
Mangini's career, as short as it's been, began at Wesleyan University, in Middletown Connecticut Yes, that tiny state on the east coast not well known for being a football powerhouse, yet churning out some of the best talent the NFL has seen. From Steve Young, former Greenwich high school standout and QB for the San Francisco 49ers, to Bill Romanowski, LB for the Raiders, to names like Dave Campo, a Central Connecticut alum and head coach for the Dallas Cowboys, to Chris Palmer, another NFL head coach from Southern Connecticut and former head coach of the Cleveland Browns, to Kevin Gilbride, SCSU coach and former San Diego Charger head coach and NFL assistant, to Tebucky Jones, a New Britain HS all-star, and former New England Patriot DB to even another Connecticut alum Joe Andruzzi, SCSU alum and starting guard for the Patriots.
Connecticut certainly has spawned some notable careers in the NFL, and Mangini's would be another one to add to the list. Even if it is from a lesser known University such as Wesleyan.
Wesleyan is a private school that sports a proud heritage of sports and academics, yet it was it's little known division III football program that gave rise to the budding career of one Eric Mangini.
So why is all the attention given to Mangini?
To put it bluntly, Belichick has lost the most valuable assets he's had in his coaching tenure, assistants Romeo Crennel to the Cleveland Browns and Charlie Weis to the University of Notre Dame. While these promotions were long overdue for those assistants, it leaves the Patriots with significant voids in their coaching staff. At least one of those voids has been filled from within.
Mangini is expected to be designated the next coordinator on the defensive side of the ball, in Crennel's absence. While Belichick has other options at this juncture, it's hard not to assume he has full faith and confidence in the kid he gave a job to days past as an intern in Cleveland.
According to reports on the web, Belichick has told the media that Mangini will be the next coach of the Patriots defensive unit. This means Mangini has turned down offers from the Raiders in 2004, the Dolphins in 2005 and the Cleveland Browns, all for more lucrative contracts than what's being reported to be a $500,000 - 600,000 offer from the Kraft family to remain in New England.
Loyalty certainly has it's benefits. We'll see how well Mangini can fill the shoes of the veteran Romeo Crennel. From all early indications, Mangini is the right guy for the job.
Stay tuned Patriots fans. With Belichick and a new crew, 2005 is going to be an interesting year.