Jim Harbaugh

Figuring out what Jim Harbaugh sees in Eric Mangini

Eric Mangini

Eric Mangini SF 49ers

Eric Mangini was hired as a “senior offensive consultant” in June. Why a guy who’s always been known as a defensive coach would get that job is anybody’s guess. During the 2013 season it was learned that Mangini was in charge of determining whether or not to challenge a call, which means he was about as good at his job as Shaq was at making free throws.

What Maiocco is referring to is a contingency plan in case Greg Roman left for a head coaching job. Geep Chryst would’ve become the offensive coordinator, and ManGENIUS would end up sliding into a role not many would’ve expected him to fill: quarterbacks coach.

  • Yes, even though Mangini played linebacker in high school and nose tackle in college.
  • Yes, even though Mangini has never held the position before.
  • Yes, even though the only team that scored over 20 points per game under Mangini’s watch was the 2008 New York Jets, who had Brett Favre as their quarterback.

What does Harbaugh see in Mangini — who made it clear after he was hired that his main goal was to become a head coach again? The following ideas may be completely off-base, but other than these three options I’m drawing a blank.

1. Harbaugh loves having Mangini around and expected another team (college or NFL) to poach Greg Roman before Vic Fangio, because Fangio just wants to coach a badass defense and not worry so much about the extra dosage of politics that comes with being a head coach. Since Harbaugh will always be the real quarterbacks coach, letting a QB-outsider like Mangini take the role would allow Harbaugh to control the signal-calling with minimal meddling.

2. Since Fangio’s unit performed far better than Roman’s throughout the 2013 season, Mangini was also around in case Fangio got a head job. That could either mean becoming defensive coordinator, or being named a position coach if Ed Donatell, Jim Tomsula or Jim Leavitt were promoted to that role (there sure are a lot of Jims on the 49ers’ coaching staff).

3. Colin Kaepernick grew up worshipping Brett Favre and plays like his childhood hero (if his childhood hero ran like Edwin Moses). Maybe the connection Mangini had with Favre after one year either allowed Mangini to make some sort of connection with Kaepernick, or convinced Harbaugh that Mangini could explain the finer points of Favrebacking to young Kap.

“I really, truly believe being a coach’s son the way I am, having a dad who coached for 42 years, that’s all I was ever around as a youngster. The adults were coaches and friends of my parents or acquaintances, or professionals that he worked with. And then as a player, all I ever had was coaches. I think I have a real good skill for picking great coaches. And that’s been a real talent of mine, I believe. And it was that way at USD, it was that way at Stanford, and it’s certainly the way it is here.”

The above quote was from Harbaugh’s press conference on Friday. Harbaugh has a right to brag about his ability to pick great coaches, but it’d be nice if he or someone else (Trent Baalke, perhaps) described exactly why Mangini was hired and why he’s up for jobs that don’t seem to make sense based on prior experience.

11 Comments
11 comments
rodofdisaster
rodofdisaster

Wanna see what he sees? Look at the last two times Mangini coached against Belichick. Beat him with Favre in prime time a week before destroying undefeated Titans in 2008 and destroyed them in 2010 w Colt McCoy and the Browns, making Tom Brady look silly. He may not have had success with the Browns but had 2 of 3 winning seasons with the Jets.

Slam
Slam

The guy went from the penthouse; dinner with Tony Soprano and the crew.... to the outhouse; "Harbaugh might make him QB coach".


Fascinating.


And while we're on the subject, Harbaugh was Jon Gruden's "quality control" coach for the Silver and Black. He wasn't considered qualified enough to be a position coach.

jlcritser
jlcritser

To me Mangini is just another set of eyes for Harbaugh and staff. I don't want him as our future head coach, though.

Lime
Lime

Mangini will take over as Head Coach when Harbaugh leaves for (insert top college job) after next season...

coredump
coredump

Whoever is doing 95.7 on the late drive time slot these days threw out the notion that 49ers ownership better get it together and sign Harbaugh long-term so a team like the Raiders doesn't go all-in and sign him away.

Seems pretty implausible, but conspiracy theory kinda stuff usually is.

Slam
Slam

@coredump Harbaugh wouldn't go to Oakland for all the tea in China.

Slam
Slam

@coredump Harbaugh wouldn't go to Oakland for all the tea in China.

coredump
coredump

I tend to agree (I kinda chuckled when I heard the 95.7 guy put it out there) but everybody has their price -- and we don't know what Harbaugh's is yet.  One wonders if Jed knows.

And FWIW, Harbaugh seems to speak pretty respectfully of Mr. Davis, though admittedly he's referring to Al rather than Mark.

But, I don't see Harbaugh going across the bay either.  I figure about equal chance of that or Gruden coming back, and both are pretty long longshots.

Slam
Slam

@coredump Al Davis made a serious effort to keep Harbaugh, Jim was one of Al's "guys" and Harbaugh always speaks respectfully of Mr Davis.


While it's true that 'everybody has their price", the Mark Davis Raiders are playing Billy Beane payroll small ball, which is why he signed a first time GM Reggie Mac, and first time Head Coach Dennis Allen.

DBToyz
DBToyz

never liked this acquisition from the beginning

Topraman
Topraman

Eric Mangini--jack of all trades, master of none

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