Tavern talk: Lerner says Mangini will be back

More on the Browns

Browns owner Randy Lerner agreed to an email interview today with Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Tony Grossi. Here is the link. Lerner shed little light on the reasons behind the removal of general manager George Kokinis, but he did say that coach Eric Mangini would be back in 2010. Good luck, Browns fans. Maybe since Lerner doesn’t want to make a change, he can ask Mangini to get the Browns out of those bad-looking brown pants. That might help.

Houston Texans: Can they beat Indy?

Quietly, the Houston Texans have put themselves in position for a meaningful game in Week 9 against the Colts. If the Texans are able to defeat the Colts on their own field in front of their own fans Sunday, they’ll make a huge statement to me and the rest of the NFL. Matt “I Love Me Some Texans” Bowen has been sitting back and not bragging, but he’s feeling better and better with this three-game winning streak. Beating the Bills is not impressive, but dominating the Bengals on the road and holding off the 49ers late in the game have me concerned for the first time that I might actually have to watch wrestling. Ugh, the thought of it. (FYI, in case this happens, I will load my iPhone with Season 3 of “The Sopranos.” Re-watching that season always seems to make everything much better. Who could ever get too much of Gloria Trillo?)

Can the Texans give the Colts their first loss of the season? That will be difficult, but it’s possible. The underlying factor in the game will be pressuring Peyton Manning. Last week, Manning said he had to grind out a win, but closely watching the tape, he did not have a typical Manning day against the 49ers. He missed some throws that he normally never misses. The first pass of the game was a touchdown, but he overthrew the ball — which rarely happens. The Colts are beatable, but only when Manning is not on his “A” game. This is a big stage of the Texans to be on right now, and given the state of the AFC South, they can make huge statement about the playoffs and me possibly losing my bet. I shudder to think how obnoxious Mr. Bud Heavy will be next week if his Texans win. We all know he’s a horrible winner. Just ask “The Tipper.”

Where are the Seahawks?

The Seattle Seahawks play in the northwest and rarely do I ever write about them. For some reason, they just do not impress me as a team in terms of their offensive and defensive lines. They have a different approach to building, which doesn’t always appeal to me (I don’t agree with spending all that money on wide receivers and linebackers. To each his own, I guess). But watching them lose in Dallas, they just are not able to play well on the road because of their two lines — and because they have such a home-field advantage in Seattle with crowd noise, they might want to consider only using the road games to evaluate their team this offseason. Loud stadiums create a significant advantage for the home team, which can lure it into false expectations.

Seattle needs to repair both lines, and the most critical factor is that they can’t seem to keep quarterback Matt Hasselbeck healthy. When he’s not the Matt Hasselbeck of old, this team is a bad team with no quarterback — and that means another top-10 draft pick. They have no long-range solution on their roster at quarterback, which is not good for anyone involved. If Hasselbeck was playing like he did in the past, he could mask some of their inadequacies as a team. But he’s not the same as he was, which happens to quarterbacks when they get hit too often. Their eye level is down and more focused on the coming pass rush than the play down the field. Not many people thought the Seahawks would be this bad, but with another year of debilitating injuries to key players, they’re a team in transition and may not have hit rock bottom just yet.

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