Even Rolling Stone is throwing rocks at Browns coach Eric Mangini.
In its latest issue, the iconic music magazine stepped outside its usual arena with a harsh critique of Mangini, comparing him to Augustus Gloop, the fictional overeater in Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and calling his short coaching tenure in Cleveland “a sort of Hurricane Andrew of football mismanagement.”
Mangini, fired by the New York Jets in December, has become a target of abuse — much of it from outside Cleveland — for some of his decisions this season, most notably his handling of the Browns quarterbacks and excessive fines levied on players who break his rules.
The Browns are 1-5 with their only win a 6-3 decision over the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 11.
Long before Rolling Stone piled on, Mangini was being slammed for some of his coaching methods. He has fined players for not adhering to his policies — like parking in the wrong spot — and he slapped one unidentified player a $1,701 fine for failing to pay for a $3 bottle of water during a hotel stay.
Some players complained privately about the length of training camp practices and more hitting than some of them had experienced since high school. Mangini also has subjected players to pop quizzes during meetings, his way of making sure they are learning their playbook and about each other. He forced his rookies to take a 10-hour bus trip this summer to his football camp, and made his team practice outdoors in the rain.
Mangini won’t tolerate anyone not part of his program.
He traded playmaker Braylon Edwards to the Jets one day after the wide receiver allegedly punched a friend of NBA superstar LeBron James outside a Cleveland nightclub. Mangini has transformed Cleveland’s roster, bringing in 26 new players from last season, including 10 who played for him in New York last season.
One of them, linebacker David Bowens, said Mangini is unfairly portrayed as tyrant.
“His office is always open,” Bowens said last week. “It’s not like it’s a total dictatorship around here.”
Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi went as far as saying the Browns have quit on Mangini in lopsided defeats, a charge many of Cleveland’s players dismissed after road losses to Denver and Baltimore.
Taibbi wrote: “In the NFL, if you don’t show your players that you have a plan that works, the T-minus to an on-field player revolt is usually about a month. In Cleveland, we’re there.”