Over the Christmas holiday, I was surprised by chats with friends who are Browns fans. They were overwhelmingly supportive of bringing back coach Eric Mangini, largely for the sake of continuity. While they concede that they're frustrated with the offense and believe coordinator Brian Daboll must go, they are sick of the revolving door of coaches and general managers since the Browns returned in 1999.
But for president Mike Holmgren, several questions would have to be resolved in his mind before he would give Mangini another season. Here are a few:
1. Can Holmgren foster the kind of atmosphere he wants in his organization when he and Mangini seem to be such different personalities?
2. Will Mangini eventually come around to Holmgren's pass-first mentality and give up on a Neanderthal running attack when the Browns have more offensive weapons?
3. Would Mangini accept an ultimatum from Holmgren on Daboll, possibly with Holmgren picking the next offensive coordinator?
4. Can the Browns get an experienced offensive coordinator to work with Mangini other than Gil Haskell, already on the payroll as Holmgren's senior advisor? Would that pairing work?
5. Is the fact that the Browns lost seven games by seven points or less and three games by three points or less a sign of progress or a sign of the staff's weak game-day adjustments?
6. How will losses to two-win teams Cincinnati and Buffalo and a near-loss to one-win Carolina be weighed?
7. How hamstrung were the Browns by a lack of talent? There are many holes to fill, including right tackle, defensive end, backup running back, No. 1 receiver and pass-rushing outside linebacker.
8. Can Mangini succeed next year if the front seven is upgraded?
9. Can Mangini be given a pass for his 2009 second-round draft picks -- Brian Robiskie, Mohamed Massaquoi and David Veikune? Veikune is no longer on the team.
10. Is Mangini still growing into the job? He turns 40 on Jan. 19.