BEREA—At least, he’s causing a stir.
Mike Holmgren’s two days in Cleveland visiting with Randy Lerner and the Browns has created quite a stir in Browns’ headquarters.
Whether he lands with the Browns or ends up somewhere else, everyone is taking notice.
Eric Mangini maintained he doesn’t feel threatened by the fact that Holmgren could be his new boss or even the beginning of the end for him as Browns head coach.
“It’s not unsettling at all,” Mangini said. “I’m focused with the task at hand. I am really happy with the progress the team has made and that’s from staying on the task at hand.”
Mangini said he met with Holmgren while he was in town.
“It was one of those meetings that went well,” he said. “He has a wealth of knowledge and you learn so much more about football.
“I’ve known Mike for a while,” he said. “I had a good conversation with Mike at the owner’s meetings a few years ago. I talked a little bit with him before the Seattle game last year. I think he’s a good guy. He’s a very talented guy.”
Mangini was asked what they talked about and he divulged very little information. Mangini has maintained that he is fine with the process of bringing in a football ‘czar.’
“We talked about a lot of things,” he said. “The team, where we’re at. I think it’s something designed to get to know one another.
“Any time you bring in somebody with that experience, it really helps,” he said. “To hear another voice, it’s a positive to hear from someone who has experience.”
Early after George Kokinis was let go, it sounded as though Mangini would be involved in the process for a new GM.
“I’m not looking to get that involved in the process,” he said when asked if he knew if other candidates would be brought in. I’m focused on coaching the guys.”
Mangini said he wasn’t sure on the timetable of a hiring.
“The most important thing is to get the right person in place, whether that’s today or in three weeks or whenever.”
Holmgren is known for coming from the Bill Walsh coaching branch of the West Coast offense and Mangini was asked if he thought the pair could co-exist.
“I think you’re often labeled with the coaching tree you come from, but whether it’s the West Coast, East Coast, it’s all about winning,” he said. “However, you get to that point.”
Some of the players were willing to talk about the possibility of adding Holmgren.
“I was with him for eight years,” Floyd Womack said. “He drafted me. He’s a great guy, who does his job well.”
Fellow offensive lineman Joe Thomas said he’s convinced the Browns will do what’s right.
“I have no doubt the organization is heading in the right direction,” he said. “As a player, we can’t worry about changes that might or might not be coming.
“I do know that (Holmgren) is a well-respected name in the NFL,” he said. “To get two Super Bowls earns you respect.”
Womack said the Seahawks were well put together in 2005, when they went to the Super Bowl berth under Holmgren.
“We had chemistry and everything clicked,” he said.
Quarterback Brady Quinn didn’t want to be brought in to the Holmgren discussion, even though Holmgren is known for developing young quarterbacks and Quinn could be a huge benefactor of Holmgren’s presence.
“Our focus is on Kansas City,” he said. “We’re hoping to carry over some momentum. It’s as simple as that.”
Cribbs Player of the Week: WR Josh Cribbs was named the AFC Special Teams player of the Week for his performance against the Steelers.
Eric Mangini said that Cribbs was the Browns’ offensive player of the week, as well.
“He did a great job for us,” Mangini said. “Not only did he play well on special teams, but on the offensive side, as well.”
Cribbs had two punt returns for 61 yards, including a 55-yard return to the Steelers’ eight that set up a field goal. He also rushed for 87 yards on eight carries, including a career long of 37 yards. He caught a pass for nine yards for a total of 200 all-purpose yards.
Cribbs won the award for the second time in his career.
Mangini said that LB David Bowens was the team’s defensive player of the game and Blake Costanzo was the special teams player.
Pioli the Matchmaker: Mangini said that Chiefs GM Scott Pioli is responsible for setting up he and his wife, Julie, when they were on staff with the Ravens.
Shop with Steinbach, Thomas: OL Eric Steinbach an OL Joe Thomas and other Browns players will be at Dick’s Sporting Good in the Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted on Thursday Dec. 17 from 6-8 p.m. There will be a pizza party, donated by Donatos at 6:30 p.m.