Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini has been on the job for more than 100 days, which seems to be a popular time to rate performances of executives.
He didn't orchestrate a primetime press conference full of softball questions from the media to toot his horn. As is his style, Mangini continues to quietly go about the business of trying to put together a team he hopes will eventually become a perennial playoff contender.
You remember when the Browns were contending for the playoffs every season, don't you? Considering in was in the late 1980s, maybe you've forgotten.
Since the end of Bernie Kosar's effective days as a quarterback, the Browns have posted all of three winning seasons - 1994, 2002 and 2007. About the only thing they've contended for is to see which Ohio-based NFL franchise is worse.
It's now Mangini's turn to try to stop the coaching carousel from spinning out of control. It's a tall order, but one that any 37-year-old one would accept one week after being fired by the New York Jets.
First impressions of Mangini weren't favorable. There were reports that he had a mural of Browns Hall of Fame players covered with paint. He somehow missed 350-pound defensive lineman Shaun Rogers in a VIP room prior to the start of a banquet in downtown Cleveland. Rogers considered it a snub and reportedly wanted to be traded. Mangini said he simply didn't see Rogers.
Since then, things have gone smoothly for Mangini. In fact, free agency was so quiet that few people around the NFL noticed what the Browns did.
What they've done is actually put together a plan and have followed it closely. Mangini and general manager George Kokinis appear to be on the same page, which wasn't the case in previous regimes.
Dwight Clark ran the show as general manager in the first seasons after the Browns returned to the field in 1999. Coach Chris Palmer had the unenviable job of trying to make sense of the mess Clark dumped on him, which resulted in confusing news conferences and five combined wins in '99 and 2000.
Butch Davis took control as coach in 2001 and answered to no one but president Carmen Policy and the late Al Lerner, who owned the team.
Davis put his imprint on everything in the building. When it all fell apart in 2004, owner Randy Lerner couldn't wait to force him out.
Romeo Crennel coached the next four years, and Phil Savage assumed the GM role. Savage held all the power, while Crennel tried to hold his own during three losing seasons during a four-year run.
Savage and Crennel were not only on different pages; they weren't reading the same book. Savage seemed to become enchanted with his power and showed thin skin when any of his decisions were questioned.
No one knows how the Mangini-Kokinis tandem will work out over the long haul, but there are promising signs. In classic Bill Belichick fashion, the two avoided making a couple of big splashes in free agency and instead created small ripples by signing several second-tier players to fill holes until more help arrives in future offseasons.
The Browns then turned four draft picks into eight with multiple trades. The deal that gave the Jets the fifth overall draft pick sent three players defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman, free safety Abram Elam and quarterback Brett Ratliff. Coleman led all Jets defensive lineman in solo tackles last season with 43. Inside linebacker Eric Barton had a team-high 93 solo tackles on a defense that was seventh in the NFL against the run. He'll be an upgrade over Andra Davis, who signed with the Denver.
Elam was the key player in the trade in Mangini's thinking. In New York, Elam would have backed up Kerry Rhodes, one of the best free safeties in the NFL. He'll start for the Browns and has a chance to become a quality player.
If the Browns can hit on several of their draft picks, they should be better than the 4-12 team of last season. No one would dare talk about the playoffs, but at least a plan is in place.
It's a small step but a giant leap for a franchise that has been clueless for a decade.