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Tuesday, July 26, 2005 

New Blood in New England

Good story in the Boston Globe today by Jerome Solomon on Eric Mangini, the Patriots new defensive coordinator. Replacing Romeo Crennel will not be an easy task, especially with Tedy Bruschi out of the lineup, but the early reports on Mangini are solid. He also has an interesting first job on his resume. Thirteen years ago, Mangini decided to take a semester off from Wesleyan University and study at the University of Melbourne. His brother Kyle was an investment banker in the area, so it seemed perfect. But:

Mangini was bored while waiting for school to begin... A girlfriend of Kyle ran into a guy in a sporting goods store who brought up the fact that he coached American football. She mentioned it to Kyle, who passed it along to Eric. After hunting the guy down, Mangini had something to do in his spare time: volunteer as an assistant coach.

That team folded soon after, but some players asked Mangini to work with an expansion team in the league. Before he knew it, he was the head coach.

Then he compiled a 22-3-1 record over two seasons and won the league championship both years.

Mangini inherits a solid defense with a mix of youth and experience, including five linebackers with 10 or more years experience and a defensive line comprised exclusively of players with 5 years or less in the league. He also gets to lean on Bill Belichick, though Belichick's increased role on the offensive side of the football might reduce Mangini's safety net a bit.

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