Could Eric Mangini and Todd Haley Improve by Being Less Douchey?

Larry Johnson has certainly had his share of past transgressions. He has been charged with crimes three times in the past–twice for allegedly assaulting a woman and once for allegedly brandishing a gun during an argument with a former (can’t imagine why!) girlfriend.  Moreover, this year he has generally been ineffective, rushing for just 358 yards on 132 attempts for a paltry 2.7 yards per carry.  It was therefore unsurprising that Johnson launched an attack on twitter, essentially saying that his father, a defensive coach at Penn State, had better coaching credentials than Haley (many would argue, based on Johnson’s abysmal performance this season, that there are about a dozen running backs in the college ranks who could do a better job than he has done this season too but I digress).

While the messenger certainly needs to be taken into account in this case, it is not as if Johnson is alone in feeling that Haley is a douche.  As the great Jason Whitlock mused, “Larry Johnson’s tweets aren’t that surprising or interesting. What do you think these guys think of Todd Haley?”  It is evident in the body language of the Chiefs that they despise their head coach.  Coaches in the NFL can get away with being, well, dicks if their methods are proven effective on Sundays.  If I had to guess, Bill Bellichick is not the nicest guy in the world to his players but they respect his knowledge and ability to get the job done when it counts.  Not every coach is going to have the even-temperedness of Tony Dungy but they can’t get away with being complete pricks at the NFL level if the players perceive them to be assholes without having earned the right to be so.  The 1-6 Chiefs pretty blatantly feel this way about Todd Haley.

Another coach who appears to have lost his team as a result of being a gigantic asshole is Eric Mangini.  After having little success as a dictator-coach of the Jets, Mangini learned from his past mistakes that the best approach as new coach of the Browns would be to act even more obnoxiously.  To “bond” the rookies together in training camp, Mangini forced them to embark on a 20-hour round-trip adventure on a bus to go “volunteer” at a football camp in Hartford, CT.  He followed this up by imposing a barrage of fines on his players for petty offenses, once fining a player $1701 (the maximum allowed) for not paying for a bottle of water at a hotel.

Further, as Adam Schefter reported, “Two witnesses to the incident from within the Browns organization said [rookie running back James] Davis injured his shoulder in a post-practice drill in which he was not wearing pads and the linebacker that plowed into him was. Three other NFL sources corroborated the witnesses’ account.”  Mangini has also isolated Brady Quinn.  While Quinn looked worse than dreadful in his three starts this year, history has shown that the first half dozen starts are not an appropriate litmus test for how a quarterback will fare in his career.  It is not as if Brady Quinn’s back-up was a future hall-of-famer either; in his relief appearance of Quinn and proceeding four starts, Derek Anderson has thrown two TDs versus seven INTs en route to a 43.8% completion rate and 40.6 QB rating.  JaMarcus Russell thinks Anderson’s performance could improve.  Why, then, is Anderson the unequivocal starter while Quinn’s house is on the market?  The simple answer, even when accounting for Quinn’s prodigious performance incentives, is that Mangini is an incompetent douche.  Despite these incentives, Mangini has given no indication that Quinn will be the starter even when these incentives become unreachable.  Cleveland owner Randy Lerner should, in a similar manner to Titans owner Bud Adams, demand that Quinn be named starter so he can see if the franchise’s considerable investment has any chance of being realizable.

While Haley and Mangini continue to flounder, one former curmudgeon head coach was able to reinvent his identity and saw his team win the Super Bowl in the wake of his new temperament.  Following an 8-8 2006-07 season that saw the Giants lose to the Eagles in the first round of the playoffs, the New York media was calling for the head of Tom Coughlin.  Citing Coughlin’s unpleasantness, star running back Tiki Barber retired from the team in his prime while veterans Michael Strahan and Jeremy Shockey appeared listless and Eli Manning looked like he may never develop into a quarterback worthy of being the first pick in the draft.  After this season, Coughlin realized that his methods were ineffective and entered the next season as a comparatively much more pleasant presence as head of the team.  The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl.

The 2009 Chiefs and Browns do not have anywhere near the talent level of the 2007-08 Giants.  However, these teams are absolutely dismal, having combined records of 2-12 and routinely being blown out in embarrassing fashion by teams that are not even in the top tier of the league.  If not for the other half-dozen putrid teams in the NFL, the Chiefs and Browns would be being talked about as being two of the worst teams in the history of the league.  Given that Mangini and Haley’s methods have proven ineffective–so much so that they are both at risk of losing their jobs after their first season at the helm if their squads do not show marked improvement–what do they have to lose by emulating Coughlin and ceasing to be complete dicks who nobody wants to work for?







2 Responses to Could Eric Mangini and Todd Haley Improve by Being Less Douchey?

  1. brad bauer says:

    Agreed. The fact that eric mangini conned his way into a million dollar job while the nations unemployment level rises is bullshit.

  2. Pingback: Odd Dilemma for Badger Fans « Keepthefiresburning's Blog

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