A lot to like about this hire. I am not concerned about what may happen in the future in terms of Mangini replacing someone who leaves. The more likely scenario is that Mangini leaves after a year or two. (more on that later)
This move has Bill Walsh written all over it. Mangini is well recognized as a very good defensive strategist. Very good at recognizing what an opponent is doing and countering it. He begins from that mindset. (I believe that is part of the reason he has failed at previous HC jobs.) In one of his books, Walsh said the 49ers were the best and most balanced offensively AND defensively when George Seifert was DC. Walsh noted very intense film and classroom sessions where Walsh would set down a new play or game plan only to have Seifert snicker as he tore it apart defensively. George held nothing back. Walsh told of times when Seifert would laugh at new plays or game plans. But between the two of them, they would come up with a compromise that made the offense better and kept the defense alert for new wrinkles such as Walsh had just developed. Therefore, I see Mangini being Roman/Harbaugh's Seifert. Nothing genius about this. Just good planning. Just borrowing a page out of Bill Walsh's insightful career.
Mangini has a lot to prove in this move. He has a great mind and a big ego but he also realizes he has to get back in the game somehow if he is to ever be an HC again. No better place in terms of national media attention than a team most pick as a Super Bowl participant. If he can get this offense, and defense over the hump to be consistent against top teams, he will be guaranteed a few interviews for the inevitable openings next spring.
Harbaugh also has a lot to prove this upcoming season. He failed to have a very high quality team ready to play on a week-to-week basis. That W-W-L pattern MUST NOT
be repeated. I lay part of that on his very volatile sideline demeanor where players began tuning out his ranting, but even if that were not the case, he must get this team ready to play every week. No more surprises from relatively weak teams like the Rams.
Harbaugh inherited a much better team talent-wise than most national media folks realized. Prior to his arrival, the dismal record of Singletary/Nolan led most pro observers to overlook the talent that was here. They just did not look deep enough to see the potential, hence the performance of Alex Smith, Bowman, the OL, etc. went unnoticed. As a result, when Harbaugh came here with some credibility and planning, the potential was all realized and a lot of teams were caught by surprise in 2011. Last season was different. They did not sneak up on anyone, hence they lost games they NEVER should have lost. That is on Harbaugh. It is his responsibility to get them ready. Consequently, the Mangini hiring is a move to make sure that they are not overlooking something that needs attention. Mangini is the outsider who can challenge Roman's play design and play-calling as Seifert used to do. Mangini is not bound by the prior relationships as Harbaugh it. He can look more objectively at what Roman, and other teams, are planning to do, and point out the flaws, and the strengths.
I like it. I don't care how long it lasts or who comes later. The Super Bowl window is open now like it may never be again in the near future. As Ronnie Lott used to say, "The job is to win THIS YEAR. Don't worry about next year. There may never be a "next year" for you. Get the job done now." Eric Mangini may well be the piece that makes that happen.
[ Edited by dj43 on Jun 7, 2013 at 1:51 PM ]