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News » Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2009-01-30

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2009-01-30

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2009-01-30
As the Browns' new general manager, George Kokinis will have final authority on the 53-man roster, but he emphasized the importance of coming to a consensus with head coach Eric Mangini.

"In the end I'll have final say on the 53, but it's not what's important here," Kokinis said. "What's important is getting together, being on the same page and making the decision that's best for the Cleveland Browns."

Mangini and Kokinis have been friends since both worked for the Browns under Bill Belichick starting in 1994. By then Kokinis was in his fourth year in the scouting department; Mangini was a ballboy, then a P.R. intern and in 1995 a coach's assistant.

Last week Kokinis and Mangini met in Berea to learn whether they would be as compatible in a work environment as they are as acquaintances. Mangini seems convinced after his powwows with Kokinis that power plays between him and Kokinis will not be an issue.

"There is a big difference between knowing someone over time and that type of relationship and then talking through a lot of the things that we're going to have to deal with day to day whether that be the draft, free agency, the 53-man roster, the types of players, how we want to travel, medical or equipment," Mangini said. "We tried to go through every aspect of the organization to make sure we talked through ideas and felt that process out.

"I think that's critical because there are going to be so many different things that we're going to agree on and that we are going to disagree on. You understand the other side has done their work, research and has an opinion based on that body of work. The give and take of ideas and the process I think will be very thorough."

Kokinis would not be specific when asked to evaluate the Browns current roster. He knows the Browns makeup from being the Ravens pro personnel director the last six years.

"Overall, there is skill, talent and capable players and we're going to move forward in building on that," Kokinis said. "I don't want to go into the evaluation of the football team now. We're in the process of getting the coaching staff together. It's important for them to evaluate and know what they want to do with this team in terms of their schemes and whatnot. I'm going to be looking at everything on offense, defense and special teams and doing my evaluation and then we'll come together."

Kokinis said he wants input from Mangini plus offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and quarterback coach Carl Smith before making a decision on quarterbacks Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn. Then he alluded to the perennially successful Steelers, who on Sunday are playing in the Super Bowl for the seventh time. The Browns are one of five teams never to have played in a Super Bowl. The others are Detroit, New Orleans, Jacksonville and Houston.

"I'm really interested to see what (the Browns' coaches) want to run," Kokinis said. "(The Steelers) have been so good because they fit their personnel to what they want to do. In New England, they fit their personnel to what they want to do. The best teams do that.

"For me to sit here and say we're going to pick one (quarterback) over the other, I need to be more familiar with what Brian and Coach Mangini want to do. It's tough for me to come up here and say we're going to pick one because I think he's got a stronger arm. I can't do that right now."

The draft is April 25-26, less than three months away. Kokinis, 41, will be running the draft for the first time. He does not believe being hired after the Senior Bowl means he is behind in his draft preparation. Coming from Baltimore as Savage did, he is familiar with the terminology and grading system Savage had the Browns' scouts using. Plus, he knows many of the scouts because of the Ravens ties.

"The college process is something I'm very familiar with," Kokinis said. "It's not foreign to me. I've been part of 17 draft rooms. I've been in all the meetings. I know how they work. I used the same meeting style for college in free agency rooms.

"I don't feel anxious about starting at this point. I know the process. The scouts were scheduled to come in for meetings on Feb. 6 long before I got here. I feel good about it. I feel good about my preparation moving forward toward the draft."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009

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Joe Jurevicius Name: Joe Jurevicius
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