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Under-fire Mangini trudges on

By Marla Ridenour Published: November 2, 2009

BEREA: When it comes to the 1-7 Cleveland Browns, the national consensus is off with their heads.

General manager George Kokinis was escorted out of the Berea headquarters and is no longer with the team, league sources said Monday.

Coach Eric Mangini is on the hotseat, although owner Randy Lerner said after Sunday's 30-6 loss at Chicago he would not make a change during this week's bye.

Quarterback Derek Anderson is under fire, falling to almost unprecedented statistical lows. NBC Sunday night analyst Rodney Harrison, a former Pro Bowl safety for New England and San Diego, called for Anderson to be cut.

First-year offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is drawing as much fan wrath as Mangini for a unit ranked 31st in the league.

Running back Jamal Lewis is so disenchanted that he said in the Soldier Field locker room that this season will likely be his last.

On top of that, Lerner is looking for a football executive, apparently realizing the void in his organization mired in mediocrity since 1999. He may be on the verge of hiring former Browns and New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, who retired from the Giants after the 2006 season.

But Mangini seemingly emerged unscathed after a Monday morning telephone conversation with Lerner, convinced that Lerner has his back and understands his plan.

''I never got a feeling otherwise in all my conversations with Randy,'' Mangini said.

''This is a process, we talked about that quite a bit,'' Mangini said. ''There's things that go along with that and that doesn't mean we're not looking to win every game, it doesn't mean we're not looking to improve each week. Randy and I share the same vision and we talk quite a bit about the best way to achieve that. I've always had really good conversations with him and always will.''

Mangini sounded like he tried to sell Lerner on his experience in New England and with the New York Jets. The Patriots were 5-11 in his first season as an assistant coach under Bill Belichick in New England, but went on to win three Super Bowls in the next four years. The Jets were coming off a 4-12 season when Mangini took over as coach in 2006 and turned in winning records in two of his three seasons.

"I believe in the things that we're doing and I understand it doesn't happen overnight,'' Mangini said. ''I've been fortunate enough to be part of this process in the past and seen it done a lot of different ways and I appreciate
the fact that it doesn't happen the same way each time.

''There's not one formula in terms of specific ingredients, but there is a very specific approach that you have to take and I believe in that. It has been successful. It will be successful here."

Among the other issues Mangini addressed Monday:
* Daboll's future: He said he's sticking with Daboll as offensive coordinator, even as he touted the credentials of quaterbacks coach Carl Smith, who spent 11 years as offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints and two more with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Only one team, St. Louis, has scored fewer than the Browns' 78 points.

''I've known Brian for a long time,'' Mangini said. ''He's very smart, I like the systems he's worked in, both in New England and New York. I think we share the same vision offensively and I think Carl's a great compliment to that.

''This is the second time I’ve hired a new offensive coordinator who hadn’t done it. I think (the Jets') Brian Schottenheimer has gotten better over time. He wasn’t always perfect his first year. He’s another guy who's very smart and talented. He’s done good things in New York and I think he’ll continue to do good things there, just like I believe Brian will continue to grow as a coordinator and do very good things here.''

* Starting quarterback: After lifting Anderson with 3:02 to go against the Bears, Mangini was not ready to name Brady Quinn the starter for the Nov. 16 Monday night game home game against Baltimore. He said he will evaluate the situation during the bye.

Anderson's 33.3 completion percentage the last four games is the lowest by any quarterback with at least 80 attempts since Chicago's Vince Evans in 1981 and Anderson's 320 yards passing in the same span is the lowest since Evans' 272 in the same season.

Anderson's 36.2 rating is the lowest through week 8 since Mark Wilson of the Oakland Raiders compiled a 29.2 rating in 1981.

* On Lewis retiring, even though his contract runs through 2010: ''Everybody makes decisions as to when they decide to leave football,'' Mangini said. ''I know that Jamal's approach is consistent, I know that Jamal works hard, I know that Jamal takes losses extremely hard, which is what you want, which is what you look for. If a player didn't take a loss hard, that's a problem. If a coach didn't take a loss hard, that's a problem. You put a lot of time and effort and work into achieving that goal. When you work hard, it's harder to accept defeat.''

* On whether his team is too willing to accept losing:

''I don’t think that’s the case,'' Mangini said. ''Seeing the way they work, seeing the way they study and the way they’ve done things in my time here, I don’t think that’s the case at all.''


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