Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

From Cleveland to Villa Park

Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner is apparently a quick study.

According to a story out of England, Lerner is using his experience reshaping the Browns this off-season as a guide to fixing what ails his Premier League team, Aston Villa, which found itself without a manager when Martin O’Neill walked out five days before the season started.

Lerner’s plan to name Gerard Houllier as his new chief at Aston Villa has been inspired by his “other side across the pond,” the Cleveland Browns.

According to the report, “he was in a similar ­situation with his Cleveland side last year as the club ­suffered a difficult start. His solution was to ­appoint ­experienced Mike Holmgren as club president and ­allow him to oversee team ­operations while Eric Mangini ­continued as head coach.

“The set-up has shown signs of success and Lerner fancies testing out the policy in the Premier League.

“Villa have not yet decided on a formal title for Houllier but Lerner has been hugely impressed by his credentials and director of football seems his most likely position. He would take on a similar role to Holmgren, in that he will oversee all football ­operations including scouting, transfers and contracts.”

It’s good to see the Browns front office being acknowledged for the work they’ve done in trying to turn this team around. It’s just too bad that credit comes from an English paper, rather than from the national media here at home, who seem content to recycle the same bowl of soupy drek, like the Associated Press’ latest coach on the hot seat* story, featuring Eric Mangini:

“The Browns won their final four games, long after they had become irrelevant in the AFC standings, then Mangini persuaded Holmgren to give him another chance. The roster doesn’t look any stronger after a 5-11 season, and unless Mangini shows some versatility in demeanor and strategy, his stay in Cleveland could end with another firing.”

Yep, the team didn’t improve in any area since last season. Good analysis there.

We can already see evidence that the Holmgren/Heckert/Mangini trio is working out. It will be interesting to see how well Lerner’s plan translates across the pond.

*Why is the seat always a hot one? I was talking with a physics professor at work a few years ago and he was explaining how extreme cold and extreme heat do the exact same damage to our bodies, our brains just perceive them differently. So an extremely cold seat would be just an uncomfortable as a hot one.

***

A bit of a disturbing article in USA Today about more NFL teams are expected to face blackouts this season.

The Browns are listed as “no blackouts expected,” but I just went online and could buy tickets for the home opener against Kansas City. If the team gets off to a slow start this year, they could run into some trouble selling out games, although having a strong home schedule will help.

***

Finally, the Browns waived David Veikune, aka Chaun Thompson 2.0, today. Fellow 2009 second-round picks Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi really need to come through this year.

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