Browns coach Eric Mangini may have ignited another controversy to rival Spygate when he accused the Detroit Lions of faking injuries to slow down their no-huddle offense in the Lions' 38-37 victory Sunday at Ford Field.
In Mangini's second year as head coach of the New York Jets, Mangini accused the New England Patriots of videotaping the Jets defensive signals during the 2007 season opener, which later became known as Spygate.
Mangini first brought up his suspicions in his post-game press conference after an unrelated question about the Lions' fourth timeout for quarterback Matthew Stafford's injury.
''There were multiple, multiple, multiple injuries throughout our no-huddle process,'' Mangini said Sunday.
Asked if he thought the Lions were trying to slow down the no-huddle, Mangini said, ''They all came back. I have no idea.''
Mangini brought up the accusation against Monday. When pressed on if he was accusing the Lions of faking injuries, Mangini said, ''I'm saying there were a lot of them.''
According to the official play-by-play, the game was stopped on six occasions because of Lions injuries involving five different players. All returned to the game.
When asked about Mangini's accusation at his press conference Monday, Lions coach Jim Schwartz said, ''He's way out of bounds on that. That couldn't be further from the truth. Both teams were running no-huddle, and the officials did a very good job of standing over the ball, so there was no need to do that."
This issue arose when Bill Belichick was Browns' coach from 1991-95 and has followed him throughout his career. The most infamous came in 2003, during a New England-Indianapolis game, known to Colts' fans as the ''Willie McGinest game.'' With the Colts trailing by four, McGinest faked an injury on second down and goal, but showed no ill effects when he returned on fourth down from the 2 and stopped Edgerrin James.
Mangini and Lions coach Jim Schwartz started their NFL careers under Belichick, Schwartz in 1993, Mangini in 1994.
Asked if that is an issue the league's Competition Committee should look into, Mangini said, ''It’s subjective. How do you know what is and isn’t an injury?''
Asked if he would have his players fake injuries to slow things down, Mangini said, ''I haven't faced ... haven't been in that situation. I’d like us to be able to adjust to the no-huddle through our preparation and things like that. That's really what I'm looking to do, teams get into it, us be able to play with it and deal with it. We're seeing a lot of it at practice, so it should be something we should deal with.''
Browns center Alex Mack said Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn brought up the subject on the bus ride back from Detroit.
''I just noticed, 'Another guy down? My gosh, what are we doing to these guys? Why is everyone like hurt? You could be out out of players by now,''' Mack said. ''They came back in after every injury.
''That happens, the wind gets knocked out of you. I landed on top of a guy, he was down for one time. I definitely knocked out his wind. He back in there again, too.''
Asked if the Lions' tactics upset their no-huddle rhythm, Mack said, ''I was happy for the air. We wanted to pressure the defense, that was one of the goals, to keep them on the field and have them rush around.
''We've been practicing that, we're in pretty good shape. Preferably I'd rather do that and have them tired and try not to sub out. If you do that it's hard for the defensive line to sub, they're usually rotating every couple guys. They have to stay in there, they get tired, they don't play as hard, that's easier on us. All that stuff helps us.''
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