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Mangini, Crennel renew acquaintances on Sunday

Oct 25, 2006 - 12:16 AM NY Jets (4-3) at Cleveland (1-5) Sunday 4:15 pm EST

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- It has been an enjoyable rookie season for Eric Mangini. Romeo Crennel is enduring a disappointing second season.

The coaches renew acquaintances Sunday when the New York Jets visit the Cleveland Browns.

The 35-year-old Mangini is the youngest coach in the NFL. At 59, Crennel is one of the oldest.

Both are best known for their work with the New England Patriots. Crennel was the defensive coordinator and Mangini the secondary coach under Bill Belichick when the Patriots won three Super Bowl titles from 2001-04.

When Crennel left the Patriots after their Super Bowl XXIX victory in February 2005 to take the coaching job with the Browns, Mangini was promoted to defensive coordinator.

Then last January, Mangini was named to succeed Herman Edwards as coach of the Jets.

Mangini has more than proved he could handle the job, guiding the Jets to a 4-3 record. They have already matched their win total from all of last season (4-12) under Edwards.

"We weren't expected to win but four games this year if you let the so-called experts tell it," said New York's Laveranues Coles, who is third in the NFL with 42 catches for 566 yards. "We've got four wins now, but we can't rest our hats upon that."

With a remaining schedule that includes only three opponents with winning records (New England, Chicago and Minnesota), the Jets actually have a chance to contend for a playoff spot in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season.

New York lost Curtis Martin, the NFL's fourth all-time leading receiver, to a knee injury and the defense is adjusting to a 3-4 scheme after playing a 4-3 last season.

Rookie Leon Washington has been the biggest surprise. A fourth-round pick out of Florida State, Washington rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns in the Jets' 31-24 win over Detroit last week. It was the second 100-yard rushing game for Washington.

The Browns had five losing seasons in six years before hiring Crennel. Last year, they finished 6-10 and scored a league-low 232 points.

Crennel has proven himself to be a winner everywhere he's been. As an assistant coach, he has been a part of six Super Bowls, including five championships. He won Super Bowls in 1986 and 1990 as an assistant under Bill Parcells with the New York Giants and earned three championship rings with New England.

But Cleveland has just one win this season and ranks last in the NFL in offense (245.2 yards per game) and 26th in points (14.7 per game).

Crennel defended his offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon for the last several weeks before Carthon tendered his resignation on Tuesday.

The Browns totaled just 10 first downs and 165 yards in a 17-7 loss to Denver last week.

Charlie Frye has a quarterback rating of 67.3, passing for 1,188 yards and six touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Reuben Droughns, who rushed for 1,232 yards last season, has gained just 257 yards on 80 carries.

Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. has been a bright spot with 33 receptions for 317 yards and two touchdowns.

The Jets won the last meeting, 10-7, here in November 2004.

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