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Holmgren, Mangini and Cribbs

"Five Years" is the two words that keep playing in my head. 5 years, of course, is the length of the Mike Holmgren contract. He has 5 years (maybe less) to prove that he is the "serious, credible, leader" that owner Randy Lerner sought after the team was reeling following the Chicago game. Now he's here and Browns Nation largely seems excited because many folks seem to feel that while Holmgren has never been in a "Czar-Type" role like he is here, he still is someone that has been there, done that and is the right man to lead the Browns back to respect. I didn't care whether or not he retained Mangini and I don't care what he does about Cribbs.

Did I have my opinion on Mangini?  Do I have one on Cribbs?

Yes.

But I'm taking more of a overall "give Holmgren his 5 years" approach. When you bring an "expert" in of the caliber of Holmgren you just get out of his way and let him implement things as he sees fit.  Keep Mangini and his coaching staff?  Sure.  Play hardball with Cribbs?  OK. The die was cast on this team being molded in a different way once Randy Lerner uttered the words "serious, credible, leader." 

Mike Holmgren obviously saw and heard enough to give Mangini and his coaching staff one more run at it.  For whatever reason, at the moment, he doesn't think that Cribbs is worth what Cribbs and his agents think he's worth. That's his call because for all intents and purposes, from a football standpoint, this is HIS team.

Do I agree with these 2 moves?  I'm on the fence about the Mangini decision.  The team looked good the last 4 games while looking completely inept the first 12 (yes, I feel that the Buffalo win was still inept).  Did the light go on for the coaching staff and team?  Or will they revert back to ineptness?  We've seen this before.  Whenever it looks like the Browns are going to turn the corner and make a serious long term run, they regress.  Remember 2003 after the playoff run of 2002?  Remember the 2008 season after 2007's 10-6 mark?  However, the past doesn't equal the future.  I hope not.

As far as Cribbs goes, he's only scratched the surface as to how the team could utilize him.  Putting aside his kick returning abilities for the moment (which are the greatest in NFL history), let's talk about how he runs, or specifically how he RUNS OVER people.  He is like a freight train when he gets into the open field and there are a lot of ways that Mangini and his staff could use him.  In fact, with no Josh Cribbs on the roster, there is no 4 game win streak at the end of the year and Eric Mangini is probably looking around to see if there are any defensive coordinator openings.

I don't have a problem with Cribbs renegotiating his contract.  That's his right.  Football players are all 1 play away from their career being over.  If he feels he's worth more and the team will pay him, then so be it.  Teams don't have a problem with getting rid of a guy when he's no longer productive and not paying the non guaranteed portion of his deal, so why shouldn't a player try to get as much as possible if his market value goes up?

I do understand that you are potentially opening up a can of worms whereby other players might want to come in and redo their deals but it is what it is.  Josh Cribbs market value has GONE UP whether the team wants to pay it or not.  It's up to Mike Holmgren whether or not he wants to pay the additional money it's probably going to take to retain Cribbs.

That brings me back to what I originally said about "5 years."

Holmgren has got several decisions to make in a short amount of time.  He's already decided on Mangini.  Cribbs will come to a resolution one way or the other soon.  There will be many others.  Some will sit well with fans.  Some won't. Doesn't matter. This is now Holmgren's team.  This is now his chance to implement his plan to get the Browns to the Super Bowl. I say, leave him alone to do it. 
 
We don't really have a choice anyway, right?

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