Monday, November 2, 2009

Kokinis out??

The latest sorry chapter in "As The Unmitigated Football Disaster Turns" has taken place today in Berea. According to numerous reports, including one from The Plain Dealer, the glorious half-season reign of Browns GM George Kokinis has ended. Per the PD's Mary Kay Cabot:

Kokinis was escorted out of the Browns facility in Berea by security, two league sources told the Plain Dealer, and is believed to have been fired.The Browns did not immediately return calls or emails, including an email to owner Randy Lerner.

Lerner spent considerable time following Sunday's 30-6 loss to the Bears on Sunday talking one-on-one with Dawn Aponte, Vice President, Football Administration, who was under Kokinis' jurisdiction in the football operations department.

Afterwards, Lerner told two reporters that he wouldn't fire Mangini during the bye this week but that was searching for a football authority to guide the organization.

"There's absolutely no question about that," he said. "The highest priority that I have is a strong, credible, serious leader within the building to guide decisions in a far more conspicuous, open transparent way..I think my highest priority is to have a stable figure that represents the voice that explains the decisions."

Even though Mangini has been the voice of the organization since his hiring, Lerner seemed irked that Kokinis didn't take a more high-profile role in the organization.

Kokinis' ouster comes just days after the Browns dismissed Mangini's hand-picked director of team operations, Eric O'Brien. O'Brien was Mangini's righthand assistant with the Jets.The move also comes just weeks after Lerner brought Bernie Kosar on board in an unofficial capacity as another pair of eyes.

So, what exactly does this change, besides making the Browns look even more dysfunctional? Perhaps this is a shot across Mangini's well-fed bow, telling him that he may be next to go. Maybe Lerner didn't want to fire both of his hires at once for fear of scaring away a big-name GM from joining an already constantly in-flux organization.

Otherwise, Kokinis's dismissal means nothing for the immediate future, and there's no way #19 is going to be named GM, no matter what your Bernie Fathead may be whispering to you at 2AM. We need a guy with NFL experience, and although I do believe Kosar is a football genius who would be a great guy to have within the organization, one year of picking players for the Arena League's Cleveland Gladiators is not nearly enough to recommend him for such a critical, high-profile gig.

I cannot commend Lerner for pulling Kokinis's plug, if that is indeed what happened today. Too little, too experienced GM should have been brought in after the firing of Phil Savage. Did Lerner not learn the lesson from that failed experiment? Now we have fans planning "Brown Outs" in limp-wristed protest of a team that makes one pine for the days of Jerry Ball and Darrin Chiaverini. I cannot remember a lower point for this organization. This is not just a bad season in a decade full of them, this is incompetence of historical proportions, the kind Terry Pluto (or Stephen King) could easily be mining for the subject of his next book.

Lerner can shuffle deck chairs all he wants. The only way this ends is if he cuts his losses, does what's right, and sells the franchise. You gave it a go Randy, and it is not working. Sell low and give Cleveland back its football team.