How much is Eric Mangini to blame?

September, 22, 2010
9/22/10
2:00
PM ET
It's natural in the NFL that most (or all) of the criticism falls on the head coach -- and Eric Mangini is getting the brunt of it for the Cleveland Browns' 0-2 start.

But with a Browns team lacking so much talent, how much is Mangini really to blame?

Watching Cleveland closely in training camp, preseason and so far in the regular season, here is the AFC North blog's diagnosis of the situation:

Blame Mangini for...

  • [+] EnlargeEric Mangini
    Kim Klement/US PresswireWhat is coach Eric Mangini really to blame for in Cleveland?
    The inability to make second-half adjustments, maintain leads and getting out-coached late in games.
  • Hiring and sticking with an inexperienced offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, who hasn't done anything with the Browns' offense since arriving to Cleveland.
  • Gutting the roster, which included several talented players, and replacing them with players with average ability.
  • Drafting poorly in 2009, which includes whiffing on second-round bust David Veikune and reaching too high for another second-round pick in Brian Robiskie.
  • Creating a stiff culture in Cleveland that, at times, is not fun or comfortable for players.
Do not blame Mangini for...

  • Hinging the 2010 season on questionable quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. The Browns paid Delhomme, who is coming off the worst season of his career, $7 million this year to convince him to come to Cleveland.
  • The front office not doing anything to upgrade the receiver position when it was clear this was the weakest area of the team.
  • Making Delhomme and linebacker Scott Fujita their biggest free-agent signings on offense and defense, respectively, when the Browns needed a much bigger splash in the open market to narrow the talent gap with their rivals.

If Cleveland's ship continues to sink, Mangini likely will be the one to take the fall. But the Dawgpound should at least be fair to point out what the coach's shortcomings were and what factors were beyond his control.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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