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Thursday, January 8, 2009
Browns going back to the future?

By James Walker

 Al Pereira/Getty Images
 Are the Browns spinning their wheels by hiring their second former Patriots assistant in four years?

Posted by's James Walker

Let's start by saying I have no qualms with the Cleveland Browns hiring Eric Mangini. He is the most qualified and experienced head coach Cleveland has hired since returning to the NFL in 1999.

Still, this entire process feels like 2005, and this has to scare some Browns fans.

For instance, Cleveland hired another former assistant from the New England Patriots. Think Romeo Crennel four years prior.

The Browns reportedly are interested in Baltimore Ravens personnel type George Kokinis to be general manager. Think Phil Savage four years prior.

Get the picture?

Mangini, with two winning seasons with the New York Jets in three years, has proved to be a good head coach who should improve with time. And although Mangini and (likely) Kokinis get along and deserve opportunities based on their own merits, repeating history is always risky if it didn't work the first time.

The previous regime consisting of the Bill Belichick disciple (Crennel) and Ravens front-office worker (Savage) combined to go 24-40 in Cleveland.

If the new regime of the Belichick disciple (Mangini) and Ravens front-office worker (Kokinis) struggle this time, the Browns can blame only themselves for repeating the same formula.