Right now might be a good time for Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner to issue a public statement in support of coach Eric Mangini.
Mangini isn't getting much love from the fan base, many of whom sat through the 31-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday as if it had been a church service.
He's definitely not getting any support from the players. Whether some of that has to do with giving up on a coach they don't like or if it's due totally to a lack of talent is hard to tell at this point.
Lerner is the one person who can step forward and wrap a figurative arm around Mangini's shoulders and say everything will be okay, even if he knows it's not true. Owners have been issuing statements of support for embattled coaches for years, although in many cases it's usually a prelude to dismissal of the coach.
The problem is Lerner is nowhere to be seen. He is to hide and seek what Garry Kasparov is to chess - a grand master.
If Lerner would hold a finger up to the winds of discontent, his arm might be pulled off. You'd be hard-pressed to find a fan who thinks Mangini has a plan to end the sorry excuse for football that we've seen this season.
Virtually everything Mangini has touched since assuming the coaching reins in January has turned to dust. None of the nine New York Jets who have made their way west has made an impact. Quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson are messed up to the point that therapy might be required.
Remember when much was made about the Browns getting safety Abram Elam in the draft-day trade that gave the Jets the fifth overall pick? It was later learned that Mangini insisted Elam was included in the deal, which also gave the Browns a first-round pick, defensive end Kenyon Coleman and quarterback Brett Ratliff.
If Mangini thinks Elam is a defensive force, then, Houston, we have a problem. Elam is barely noticeable on game days, except when he's missing a tackle.
What has happened to Quinn and Anderson is of more concern. Prior to the start of the 2008 season, the Browns were considered to be in great shape at quarterback. It was felt that if Anderson followed up on his Pro Bowl season of 2007 that Quinn could be traded in return for high value.
What do you think the market would return for either of the quarterbacks today? If Buddy Ryan was the coach, he'd probably say a six pack would do.
How can you explain two players seemingly losing their playing skills so quickly? Anderson, if memory serves me correctly, did pass for 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2007. Quinn, I seem to recall, looked decent in preseason of his rookie year of '07 and in three starts last year before suffering a hand injury.
Neither has received much support from a Roberto Duran-like receiving corps - Hands of Stone - but that doesn't explain the lost look Quinn and Anderson have these days. Why would Quinn want to return to the lineup, other than, of course, about $11 million of escalators in his contract?
If the losses continue to pile up - and they will - there will be calls for the firing of Mangini from multiple media representatives. In fact, it's already begun.
Lerner has to know that, assuming he gets newspapers and cable television wherever it is he's hiding.