Though 2006 was a good year, a few things bothered me about Mangini. I thought he was a good coach that year, but I found it odd that he would not commit to any of his players as starters in the preseason or even week to week. He insisted that everyone needed to earn their jobs on a week to week basis. This always struck me as a bit childish in Pro sports.
I like the idea of guys being accountable for poor performance on the field, but in the NFL isn't that the case just because there are no guaranteed contracts? If you stink it up, I am all for letting a player go, or benching him, but that doesn't mean you should act like every player is on the same playing field as the next guy and could lose his spot. Chad Pennington for instance may not be the most talented QB, but always showed a huge drive to win games and compete at a high level. I felt like Mangini was just doing this for show, and wanted to create a media buzz that painted him out to be a hard ass just like his mentor Bill Belichick.
I am fine with promoting competition, but I feel like guys like Belichick and Tom Coughlin have a much better approach. They both have really strict rules that HAVE to be followed, and develop a situation where the system is more important than any given player. Under their systems I feel like the players don't need to be told their job is on the line because someone with similar skill could easily fill their spot because the system is so strong. It is a privilege to play for those teams. If Mangini created a system of winning, there would be no reason to run the team as if they were a high school football team.
On top of that, his philosophy seems to have completely gone out the window when Brett Favre showed up. The same guy who promoted week to week competition for the past 2 years let Brett Favre come in and take Chad Pennington's spot without playing a down? Granted they did win more games this year, but Pennington has clearly had a better year than Favre. He has also said that he welcomes Favre back next season, and will give him all the time he needs to decide if he wants to come back. What? What is the backup plan? They have no other QB. It is a bit absurd to me for a guy to go from open competitions all the time to just handing over the QB spot to a legend and insuring he has the spot next season even after a mediocre 2008.
I feel like Mangini is desperate to prove his worth as a head coach in the NFL, and I question whether any of his past antics were driven by real philosophy or perhaps he just wanted to prove he has his own unique identity. Mangini seems to have a good mind for football, but perhaps it is time he mans up and just tries to win some games. He will never be Bill Belichick but maybe it is good enough to just be Eric Mangini and not worry about what anyone thinks.