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Eric Mangini Thursday press conference transcript

By dan Published: October 15, 2009

Here is today's press conference transcript from Browns head coach Eric Mangini

(Opening statement)- “Good morning everybody. How are we doing? I thought yesterday was a positive start to the week. I really liked the way that we’re communicating defensively. I think that’s helped us over the last few weeks. The more that we get into that pattern, and it’s everybody, it’s the corners, safeties, linebacker, d-line, the more we get used to that just being standard operating procedure, the better off we’ll be. I’ve said this multiple times, where whether it’s a problem formation, a problem play, an adjustment, it’s so much better to be all wrong together than half right and half wrong. A lot of times, you may have a little lapse as to what you’re doing. At that point, you have to turn to the guy next to you and ask questions. I think it carries over offensively. It carries over on special teams. We’re making some progress there. I’ve liked the progress that we’ve made defensively over the last few weeks, especially on third down. I think we’re about 16 percent better than where we had been in the prior three games and that’s key. With Pittsburgh, they’re an excellent third down team. We’re going to have to play well on third down in order to be successful.

“Offensively, we’ve made minor strides on third down and we need to continue to make jumps each week, keep those drives going. There are some opportunities that we had where we had guys open and either didn’t execute on the catch or the throw, or whatever it is. There are smaller strides there that I think can be more significant as we take advantage of the opportunities that we have. Today, that’s the focal point, is third down. We’ll review what we did yesterday and I’m looking forward to another good day.”

(On his impressions of Jamal Lewis last week)- “I thought he had some outstanding runs. What I liked, that he did last week, was the yards after contact. I thought there were some really good plays where he go into the second level, lowered his shoulder, fell forward, picked up some extra yards. I thought the run that he had on third down, down by the goal line to generate a first down, was good. Where I’m happy with the offensive line, this is really the whole offensive group, unless I’m wrong, this is the first time there’s been back-to-back hundred yard rushers that were different since ’85. I think that doesn’t happen just because of the back, it happens because of the group. We’ve made some progress in the running game. Pittsburgh is not an easy team to run on, so we’re going to have to continue to do that. Some of it’s going to be clean. Some of it’s going to be a little bit cloudy. Everybody has to be able to do their job. They have a good, aggressive secondary, which makes the receivers that much more important with the perimeter run support and things like that.”

(On if there were any changes in the blocking schemes)- “There’s always going to be some plays that are wrinkles. You saw the plays where both Jamal and J.C. (Jerome Harrison) were in at the same time. [That was] a little bit different. (Josh) Cribbs had a carry. Some of those things are always going to be mixed in. How they’re going to appear could be different each week, but the core part of the running game has remained fairly consistent.”

(On if Lewis has to take on the fullback role when he and Harrison are in the backfield together)- “The blocking schemes that we have there, it’s not like it’s direct down-hill run, take on the inside linebacker type stuff. Some of it’s more scheme. Some of it could be passes. What’s nice is it does add two guys that you could do things with and you can do different things with. You could throw the ball too, if you wanted to.”

(On how Alex Mack has improved)- “I think the main thing he’s done is slow down a little bit. That happens a lot of times your first few games is, you’re getting to the right spots, but you want to get there so quickly, you want to make sure you execute the assignment, you want to do all the things right, that sometimes you’re not as patient as you should be on the first level. You’re not as patient as you should be with the things that you have to do prior to executing that part of the assignment. He’s slowed down. The game has slowed down a little bit. As we go, it should get better and better. I’ve liked his base in the running game. He’s done a nice job with his base. That’s allowed him to get some push on either the nose guard, or the one technique or the combination blocks. I think he’s communicating better and that comes with experience and time. There have been a lot of areas where he’s improved.”

(On how he thinks Mack will do against Casey Hampton)- “[It will be] challenging. He’s a good player. He’s been a good player for a long time. I think it’s challenging. He’s faced some good players though. He’s going to have to play with good technique and understand how physical a guy this is. I think he does. He also does a nice job, too, with his film study and understanding what it takes to prepare each week.”

(On what he recalls from the Jets 2007 win against the Steelers)- “What I felt with that game is, we did a nice job really understanding what we had to do to win the game. That’s a real key, Tony (Grossi), is each week you identify certain things that you have to do. There’s a way that you have to do it and you can’t deviate, because when you deviate it creates opportunities, especially for a guy like Ben (Roethlisberger). He doesn’t need many opportunities to kill you. It can be one play. Looking at that game, and looking at other times that we’ve played him in the past, that’s always been the main thing, is really understanding what you have to get done and then actually going and doing it.”

(On if he has looked at that game to prepare for this week)- “Whenever we play somebody that we’ve played in the past, whether it’s here or somewhere else, you look at the things that they do. You keep a file on each coordinator, so somebody may have changed teams three times, but you faced them all different places. You have that information. You see what’s consistent, what’s not consistent and you try to look at it.”

(On if the formula from the 2007 Jets game will be used for the game this week)- “It’s more of a look at the coordinator, than it is the players on each side. When you’re assessing that, it’s looking at the coordinator. I’m sure they do the same thing. You look at the coordinator. You look at the head coach. You try to identify things that are pretty consistent over time, regardless of who they have. They may not have exactly the same player. They may have a similar type of player. It’s deployed differently and it’s deployed a little bit differently because of that guy’s skill set, but the concept has stayed consistent.”

(On the Steelers having the same head coach and coordinators since 2007)- “You look at those things. Is it 100 percent? No. The greatest example of that was when we played, it was ’98 maybe. We were playing Buffalo and Dan Henning was in Buffalo. Bill (Parcells) had played Dan Henning a bunch of times. Dan had hit him with this screen out of 22 personnel to the fullback. He had hit him with it back when he was with the Giants, I think. We practiced it and sure enough, it came up.”

(On if there is something special about Cleveland playing at Pittsburgh)- “Yes. Just talking a little bit about that yesterday, I think it was yesterday, the sense that you get in the community, the sense that you get from the people that have experienced it. Even the new guys, it’s palpable. You feel it. You understand it and you appreciate it. It’s fun.”

(On Heinz Field being tough to play in)- “I’ve played there some times where it’s been, those AFC Championship games, loud. You try to simulate as much as you can. We’ve worked with noise for ages, but it’s loud.”

(On how the Steelers defense has been consistent for so long)- “I don’t know, how many years has Dick (LeBeau) been there? I’m not sure. He’s been there quite a long time and been consistent over time with the things that they do. As you build up reps, whether it’s the young guys coming in who are in the same system that’s been there and get tutored by the guys that have been there, those reps, that consistency, I think really helps. I think when you have consistency it really helps with what you’re trying to get done, because everything that you do isn’t breaking new ground. The older guys can help teach the younger guys. The problems are usually the problems and you have different answers to it. I think in that perspective, it really is a positive for any organization.”

(On if the consistency is the same with the Steelers coaches)- “I think the more reps you can build up, the more you can carry over. If it’s possible, it helps. [They’ve] been a successful organization for a long, long time. You appreciate that.”

(On if the receivers have worked with the JUGS machine)- “Yes, that’s definitely transpired. It will transpire again today. It’ll transpire tomorrow. What you don’t want to do is get to the point where that’s all you’re thinking about. I really believe that you never look at it as a slump or anything like that. Once you fixate on that part of it, you have no chance to get it fixed. What you fixate on is, what do you have to do to catch the ball better? What do you have to do to hit the ball better? It’s those things that you work on, not the classification, or whatever it is. It’s a good group of guys. They’re all working at it. They’re all working together. I think we’ll continue to improve.”

(On if the receivers work with the JUGS machines after practice)- “During individual period, there are different drills that go on, whether it’s one-on-ones, where you’re catching it against a defender. Each day there’s a skill set that the players work on, based on what the day is.”

(On what Phil Dawson was able to do in practice yesterday)- “He did some minor kicking, which is progress. We really have to go through the end of the week. As you can see, Billy’s (Cundiff) still here, so we’ll see how it goes.”

(On how long it took him to realize that the Steelers game was special the first time he was coaching here)- “It didn’t take long. It’s one of those things that hits you in the face. I don’t know what the timeline was. I know we played them three times in, was it ’94? Eric Green, Eric was there at that point. I remember he caught a touchdown. That was a big man. We played them in the playoffs. You remember it. You appreciate it. You feel it.”

(On if the playoff game against the Steelers was the reason the Browns ended up with Andre Rison in 1995)- “I wasn’t in any of those meetings. I don’t know what was discussed. I know we had an in-cut late in the game that we could have probably made some hay on. That was above my pay grade.”

(On if Ben Roethlisberger has the best intangibles of any quarterback in the NFL)- “Wow, that’s a loaded question. I think he has great intangibles. Peyton Manning, you’re not real excited when he has the ball with two minutes left. That’s not a great feeling. Tom Brady, he’s pretty good with two minutes left.”

(On if Roethlisberger can beat you with the intangibles more so than other quarterbacks can)- “Wow, there have been a lot of great quarterbacks. I mean, he’s impressive in that situation, but there are a lot of them that you’re not fired up. You really hope they run out the clock.”

(On if teams have to win back and forth in order to have a rivalry)- “In terms of those other years, I’m looking at it as this year. It’s an opportunity. How we are going to approach things. The things we’re trying to get done and the way we’re going to play football. To me, that’s the important thing. There’s been a lot of progress with that over the last couple weeks and that’s what I’m looking to continue to do. It is a process. I’ve been happy with a lot of the things that we’ve done. Believe me, there’s plenty and plenty that we have to do, but it’s understanding how we want to play each game. How we approach each game. I think there have been some good things there.”

(On if it is true that once a defense plays for all four quarters they keep doing so each week)- “I think it’s really understanding how you have to play. I know my first year, we were in the high-teens, or 30s in a lot of categories defensively. After the bye week, if you split the season in half, we were almost top ten in everything prior to that point. There’s a way that you have to play it. There’s a way that you to fit. There’s a way that you have to work together. There’s a way that you have to communicate. When you get to that point and you really understand it, then good things usually happen. Last year, I think it was 45 sacks, or 44 sacks, and it wasn’t one guy having a bunch of sacks. It was the way that we got it. It was beating the scheme. It was coordinated coverage. Those things, they’re all important. When you get to that point, where you really get it, I think that’s when you see a lot of good things happen.”

(On if it is premature to say that the defense is at that point)- “I think we’ve made steps towards that point, but it’s also, Tony (Grossi), consistency. Can you do that week in and week out? That’s the key. Looking at it the first year, it was a totally different picture one through eight, then it was the second part. There was a lot of hard work that went in to get to that point.”

(On why it is so hard to sack Roethlisberger)- “He’s made a lot of guys miss sacks. He’s strong. He’s really strong in the pocket and he has good awareness. He doesn’t let the pressure affect his vision down the field, but he’s very aware of where it’s coming from. Sometimes it’s him just stepping up and making the guy from the edge miss. Sometimes it’s realizing that they’ve lost contain over here, and he has to be seeing that from his periphery and then working that way. Sometimes he just pulls it down and goes. He’s not an easy guy to get down. Usually those bigger guys, once you’re on them, you’re on them. Now, you may have to drag them down a little bit, but he’s actually got some short area quickness for a guy that size.”

(On if how Roethlisberger plays can be taught or is it natural)- “You can work on avoiding in the pocket and feeling the pressure and doing things like that. In terms of shaking guys off, you can thank your parents for that.”

(On if there is a chance of Josh Cribbs throwing a pass)- “I wouldn’t rule it out. He likes throwing passes. With Josh, I wouldn’t rule anything out.”

(On how much better Chansi Stuckey is this week compared to last week)- “Just even getting to practice on Wednesday is a plus. Neither of those guys were here for practice on Wednesday, so they’ve got an extra day of practice in. I’m sure [they are] more familiar with the coaches and the building and the players, all those things. He’s a sharp guy and he picked up the information well, but you get another week under your belt, I think that’s a plus.”

(On how important it was to attach a win to the progress the team has made)- “It’s important. Coming in the Monday after the Cincinnati game, what I said is what I felt. I was disappointed in the outcome, but I wasn’t disappointed in anybody in the room. The way we played, there were mistakes made and there were things that had to be corrected, but the approach was right. The approach was what we needed. Then, to come back the next week, it comes down to late in the game again, and to be able to finish that game, that’s significant. There’s no style points for losing, there’s no style points for winning. It’s just how do you get the win? That’s all we wanted to do.”


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