09-07-2013, 06:56 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: The "Q"
Re: Eric Mangini is/was a terrible coach and a lunatic (link inside)
Meanwhile, I'm catching some weird vibes around the building. Things feel off. I'm focused on learning the system as fast as I can, so I don't have a lot of time for psychoanalysis, but it's hard to miss. To a man, the entire Browns team seems to be deep in despair. There is a natural sluggishness that occurs during training camp, but this is something different. The men seem positively broken. They have no fight left in them. The locker room is quiet, so quiet. In Denver, even in the midst of training camp, the locker room was lively and social. Cleveland is a mausoleum. That night at my first team meeting, I learn why.
As I sit down in the emptiest seat I can find, I notice that players have handwritten notes scattered about their desks and their laps. They are reading over them nervously. Coach Mangini, a doughy thirty-eight- year- old frat boy with parted hair and a butt-chin, walks in and takes his place at the podium, a dip in his lip and a Styrofoam cup in his hand. He starts off by welcoming the two new men who were signed to the team that morning: me and some other dude.
—To show them how we do things around here, J.P., stand up. J.P. stands.
—There is a quote written above the door to the locker room; what does it say? —Uh, you must choose: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
—Very good. You can sit down. Clarence, stand up.
He says it under his breath. Muffled chuckles from the audience.
—We have six core values on this team; what are they?
—Damn. Okay, um, trust, communication . . . um, hard work . . . umm . . .
Someone whispers from behind him.
—That's right, Clarence, focus. Okay, two more. Silence. —Come on, Clarence . . . Can anyone help him out? From somewhere:
—Football is important to you.
—Good. Clarence, you gotta know these. And I'm going to keep calling on you until you do. Sit down. B.J., stand up. Tell me the name and number of every offensive lineman on our roster.
B.J. was a rookie defensive back and rattled them off like a pro.
—Okay, good. Very good.
Then Mangini presses play on the video system and footage of the morning's warm-ups come onto the screen. He had the warm-ups filmed and the tape cut up and cued up for the meeting. He launches into a biting critique of each player's warm-up performance, excoriating certain players for not having a sense of urgency during the drills, and referring again and again to the mantras that are written in big block letters around the facility. He preaches the importance of living by their words, and humiliates the most glaring examples of those who aren't.
—You must choose, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
—Every battle is won before it is ever fought.
—Don't sacrifice what you want most for what you want now.
And on the training room wall, "Durability is more important than Ability." As if the injured guys don't feel bad enough already. Might as well say, "If you're reading this, you're a *****." That's what all the notes are. People are making sure they have these ****ing mantras memorized. What the **** is going on here? When the meeting breaks, I track down a fellow tight end.
—Is he serious?
—Yes, dude. Dead serious.