Putting a question marks in a headline is known as a blogger’s crutch of sorts, but in this case I really don’t know the answer. In a related story, I have submitted paperwork to get my name changed from Steve to Bob.
The 49ers hired Eric Mangini before the season to work as an “Offensive Assistant,” which sounded innocuous enough. In all honesty, I couldn’t have cared less about this hire up until the aftermath of Sunday’s loss.
I assumed it was a hire based on connections and reputation. Mangini has held several NFL coaching jobs, he was on television for a while, and Jim Harbaugh thinks he’s smart and could help the offense prepare for different defensive schemes. Sure. Great. FINE. If they think they need someone who goes by the name of “Mangenius,” even though it’s nearly impossible to quickly recall anything genius-like he’s done in the NFL, who cares? All the other coaches were still in their same roles, so the addition of Mangini is just window dressing.
From Eric Branch:
The 49ers didn’t have any timeouts for the final 10:26 of the first half after Jim Harbaugh whiffed on two replay challenges.
In the first quarter, he thought Saints quarterback Drew Brees had crossed the line of scrimmage before tossing an eight-yard completion to Darren Sproles. Replays clearly showed Brees was behind the line.
In the second quarter, Harbaugh challenged an incomplete pass to wide receiver Jon Baldwin, who nearly had a 14-yard touchdown catch, but lost possession of the ball as he fell out of bounds. Harbaugh consulted with offensive assistant Eric Mangini, who was in the coaches’ booth, before throwing each of his challenge flags.
“We didn’t have a video review on the first one,” Harbaugh said. “(On the second challenge), we knew he was in. We knew there was a question of whether the ball was bobbled and we decided to challenge it.”
Remember when everyone made fun of Paraag Marathe when he was the one tasked with watching the replays and letting the guys on the sidelines know if they should throw the red flag or not? I could be wrong (and it wouldn’t be the first time … today), but it seems like Marathe would’ve at least remembered “the Calvin Johnson rule” when Baldwin lost the ball after hitting the ground.
It’s not like challenges have been a big part of this season before the loss in New Orleans. If ESPN is correct (fingers crossed), the 49ers had only challenged four plays heading into the Saints game — twice against the Cardinals and twice against the Titans — and were successful once in each game.
It seems weird to fixate on a guy who advises on challenges, but we don’t know what else he does.
Nov. 11 question: What does senior offensive consultant Eric Mangini do during the game to contribute to the game execution?
Harbaugh: “Several things, not going to go into all of the assignments for all the coaches on a week-to-week basis, but he does several things for us.”
Okay, fair enough.
Oct. 24 question: Have you had an opportunity to sightsee, or is it just been here grinding away in the room and film room?
Greg Roman: “Oh, grinding. Grinding away, yes. Oh yeah. Started on the plane. The whole coaching staff has been doing a great job working late into the night. And I shaved this morning. But, none of us have really had much time to do anything except get ready for the game. A lot of our families are here though. It’s great to see the kids running around. My kids and my wife, they were at the Harry Potter exhibit yesterday with the [senior offensive consultant Eric] Mangini kids. So, everybody’s been having fun as far as our families.
Sept. 13 question: What has senior offensive consultant Eric Mangini brought to your team so far?
Harbaugh: “Good football coach. A lot of things. A lot of things that he studies, picks up on and tells the coaches, players. Teaching.”
Yep, probably enough of that. Mangini seems to be someone who’s hanging out and making some decent money while he bides his time before his next head coaching job, while his suggestions on replay challenges succeed at the same rate as someone predicting coin flips. And that’s where we’ll conclude the last post you’ll see this season about Eric Mangini. Glad we got that settled.