Patriots vice president Scott Pioli is taking his sweet time getting back to the Browns about that GM job. Despite reports that Pioli had to make a decision last Thursday or the deal was off, the Browns are still interested in the guy who played a very big role in assembling those New England rosters that won three Super Bowls earlier this decade.
So now Cleveland waits. Pioli still has to meet with the Chiefs, and depending on how it plays out, Browns owner Randy Lerner could opt to hire a head coach and worry about finding a general manager later. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot, Eric Mangini is the early favorite, although other names are also in the mix.
Two other head coaching candidates -- fired Broncos coach Mike Shanahan and Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz -- are on the backburner for now. Shanahan was contacted by the Browns, but told them he will be on vacation with his family for the next two weeks and will not interview during that time, a source said.
If the Browns haven't hired a coach by then, they might still reach out to him.
If the Browns haven't hired a coach by then, their fans will have already burned down the city.
Interestingly, according to her source, Cabot writes that the team's research showed "that landing the right coach was more imperative than finding the right general manager." If that's true, and the organization really likes Mangini, I'm not sure what's holding up an announcement.
That said, I don't buy the good coach > good GM argument, although, to be fair, I haven't given it much thought. I suspect the Falcons and Dolphins would disagree too, and this doesn't exactly bolster the argument:
One league source said the roster is in bad shape after the reign of fired GM Phil Savage, and that only one current defensive player - Shaun Rogers - would be good enough to start for AFC North rivals Baltimore or Pittsburgh. Another said that neither linebacker Beau Bell nor tight end Martin Rucker, two players the Browns traded up to select in the 2008 draft, will cut it in the NFL.
For what it's worth (and I'm guessing not much) I think Kamerion Wimbley could be a starter in Baltimore or Pittsburgh. But that doesn't change the bigger problem: the Browns aren't very good. On the upside, they still have Brady Quinn!
As Scott Pioli Keeps Browns Waiting, They Could Turn to Eric Mangini originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Sun, 04 Jan 2009 10:35:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.