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Mangini focuses on games, not his job, as Holmgren joins Browns

BEREA, Ohio -- Eric Mangini is banking on Mike Holmgren's coaching background to buy him another year with the Cleveland Browns.

With Holmgren set to assume control of the Browns' football operations sometime next week, Mangini's future will be in the hands of the 61-year-old former coach, who agreed Monday to become the team's new president.

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At just 3-11 during a first Cleveland season that has been anything but smooth, Mangini's fate remains unclear. Holmgren could keep Mangini or decide to bring in his own coach. Either way, Mangini believes Holmgren's experience as the coach of the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks could work in his favor.

"I think if you've been a head coach, you understand the different things that go into any season," Mangini said Tuesday. "Mike's last year in Seattle, they had a tough season and were 4-12. You go through those things. We were 5-11 in New England with Bill (Belichick). Jeff Fisher (Tennessee's coach) was taking a lot of heat early on and he did a nice job of turning it around.

"There's a lot of variables that go into a season. You have to look at what the situation was, assess it and see how you want to move forward."

Mangini is marching on with a drumbeat amplifying that he could be one and done in Cleveland. Speculation around the NFL is that Holmgren will bring in his own coach to help revive the Browns, who have fired two general managers -- Phil Savage and George Kokinis -- in the past year.

Publicly, Mangini is putting up a strong front. He's confident that the Browns have improved under his watch.

He hasn't been given any assurances from tean owner Randy Lerner or Holmgren, but Mangini isn't concerned about receiving any long-term clarity about his status.

"I won't focus on that this week," he said. "I won't focus on it next week. That's really a discussion for after the season. Whatever the decision is, the decision is. I'm very comfortable with the things we've done, and I know the things that we're building here. So it's not going to be a focal point."

The Browns have shown progress in winning their past two games, proof Mangini's supporters point to that he's turning around the team. Following Sunday's 41-34 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown said Mangini could help his case with two more wins.

Mangini, though, doesn't feel any added pressure.

"I can't say this enough," he said. "It's not keeping a scorecard as to what's important for job security. It's not putting together a PowerPoint presentation or resume. I'm not trying to be flippant. I believe in the things we've done, the progress we've made, the staff we have. I feel comfortable with where we're headed."

Holmgren's imminent arrival -- he's expected to complete his deal this week -- didn't trigger any type of celebration in Cleveland's locker room. Browns players went about their business as they prepared for this Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.

"It doesn't really change the job that we've got to do," Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Thomas said. "As players, you've got to do your job no matter who the coach is and no matter who the president is or whatever title you want. We're just focusing on doing our jobs in these last two games, and then whatever happens in the offseason happens."

Kick returner Josh Cribbs said having a football mind of Holmgren's character is huge for the Browns.

"It is because you know we have a great chance of winning now," he said. "The chances of winning goes up. You have all these minds in this organization now and they're all going to put their heads together and string along some wins in the future."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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