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Very good Michael Smith article about Mangini


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By Michael Smith


Talk about your rags-to-riches tales.

It was just a dozen years ago, in the summer of 1994, that Eric Mangini was putting his Wesleyan education (political science) to use collecting athletic supporters and folding laundry as a 23-year-old ball boy for the original Cleveland Browns, who later that year hired him as a PR intern.

This Sunday, four days shy of his 35th birthday, in a hotel near Foxborough, Mass., Mangini, the New England Patriots' defensive coordinator, will interview with the New York Jets for their vacant head coaching position and explain to them how he plans to clean up the mess Herman Edwards left behind.

During conversations with Jets executive vice president/general manager Terry Bradway, assistant GM and senior VP for football operations Mike Tannenbaum and, perhaps, chairman and CEO Woody Johnson, Mangini will undoubtedly bring up the fact that in his first season as a coordinator, the Patriots won the AFC East and advanced in the playoffs despite starting, in essence, four cornerbacks. And certainly Mangini will mention that a year ago, as New England's defensive backs coach, he converted a linebacker and a wide receiver into defensive backs and started nine different players in the secondary -- yet the Patriots claimed their third Super Bowl title in four seasons. Mangini can point to many miracles he has performed in six years with the Patriots, but really, all he has to do is name-drop to reassure the Jets that he is, indeed, the young coach who can lead the long-term building of a consistent winner.

Eric Mangini

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Mangini has helped the Patriots' defense overcome a spate of injuries this season.

Calling him the leading candidate might be a bit of a stretch at this point, but according to sources involved in the search process, Mangini certainly has as good a shot at landing the Jets job as any of the other eight coaches they are considering. Among them are former head coaches Jim Fassel, Jim Haslett, Mike Sherman and Mike Tice. This is, as noted earlier, Mangini's first season as a coordinator, his 11th in the NFL. And although his r

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Tannenbaum, one of the best cap guys in the business, would have little trouble reducing the Jets' $30 million deficit for next season, (point number 1) $18 million of which supposedly is tied to phony incentives, anyway.

(point number 2) The bet here is that Mangini would bring Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, whose contract has expired, aboard as defensive coordinator (Ryan was a Patriots linebackers coach before Davis hired him away, after Mangini turned down the gig).

Ok... first things first. Is that part true? 18 million of the 30 is tied up in phony incentives? Well, that dramatically reduces anything, should it be true. I figure Aec would know for sure.

And, why would the best bet to bring in the Raiders DC? Were they that good defensively? Or, would keeping Donnie be in the best intrest? The Jets defense, last year, wasn't that bad. And, apparently, they finished respectfully this year. Or, at least in the top half of the NFL.

Just some food for thought.

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