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The Fall Guy
We knew the winds of change were in the air when Randy Lerner not only attended a Browns game, but actually attended a road game, and managed to deliver some allegedly fierce staredowns ... and even made some comments after the contest. And Monday night the heads started rolling, as "General Manager" George Kokinis was fired by the team. In Dave's latest, he says with the firing, Randy Lerner has finally put his finger on the real reason the Browns have become one of the laughingstocks of the NFL - himself.
To suggest that George Kokinis bares any fault for the Browns' dismal 1-7 start or is compliant with the overall organizational dysfunction rampant in Cleveland is pure fantasy. If there is any evidence to the contrary, let's go ahead and assign him the problems of climate change and throw in Northeast Ohio lake effect cloud cover, as well. There's a major reason why the Browns are currenlty suffering in the throes of some deep depression at the moment - and the efforts of George Kokinis are pretty far down the list.
I'll have more on this in the coming days - along with the rest of Browns Nation and collected media everywhere - but as of right now, regardless of Kokinis' official status with the Browns, he is simply a fall guy for Randy Lerner, who has finally realized that perhaps the biggest problem plaguing the franchise now is not the talent on the field, or the coaches on the sidelines, but rather his own inept hand at shaping an organization.
Simply put, Lerner has finally put his finger on the real reason the Browns have become one of the laughingstocks of the NFL - himself.
Call it the Eight Games Too Late Theory, but perhaps Lerner has finally figured out that maybe he was a little too quick to hire Eric Mangini, literally hours after the controversial coach was let go by the Jets.
And before you contend that I am finally picking up arms and joining the anti-Mangini crusade currently sweeping through Cleveland, I am merely stating that Lerner may have had a different awakening of sorts - meaning that he now realizes he may have made a mistake in installing all organizational power in the hands of one person.
One person not named George Kokinis.
I firmly believe that any kind of condemnation of Mangini by Lerner will come far down the road. Today's news - if it indeed turns out to be news at all - actually vindicates Mangini. Consider that in the alternate universe that Lerner inhabits, he could truly believe that Kokinis was at the root of the team's problems.
Certainly, a coach who is on some very slippery career ground such as Mangini would probably do very little to dissuade our clueless owner from turning Kokinis into a casualty of the Browns' dysfunction.
In fact - or, if anything - what Lerner has done with the alleged firing of Kokinis is simply buy his hand-picked coach some time. Or, vice versa, if you believe that Mangini's voice is still as omnipresent as it was some precious few months ago. Along with meeting the heads of the upcoming fan protest, Lerner is simply giving Browns Nation a patronizing pat on the head - something to tide over a sea of angry fans during what will truly feel like an eternal bye week.
As for Kokinis, his exit is symbolic of his overall tenure with the Browns. What exactly did the Browns' GM in name only accomplish during his time in Cleveland? Or, perhaps more correctly, what in the world could he actually do, considering the circumstances of his hiring?
Sorry about your luck, but then again, perhaps Kokinis should have better interpreted his future with the Browns back in January. Considering that Mangini had just lost a standoff with another GM in New York, it almost seems beyond logical that if the situation presented itself again - history would indeed repeat itself.
Only this time, Mangini was ready for battle.
And so for the time being, Kokinis exits Cleveland - allegedly - much the same way he entered - anonymous and a victim of circumstance.
Nov 02, 2009 8:00 PM
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