Mangini defends his practices
A day after Browns running back Jamal Lewis ripped him for overworking the players and leaving nothing for the games, Browns coach Eric Mangini defended his practices Friday.
Mangini said he met with Lewis after Thursday's weekly captains meeting and said he thought they had a ''good conversation,'' but would not elaborate on what was discussed.
''The thing I stress to the team all the time is communication,'' Mangini said. ''Sometimes you have to agree to disagree.''
Mangini emphasized that the strenuous part of practice runs only two hours unless plays are not executed properly and he deems they be repeated until they're run correctly.
''For the record, it's two hours,'' Mangini said. ''We have a half-hour walk-through (prior). That's the facts, that's the reality of it. It's two hours a day. Two hours a day. On Wednesday, on Thursday and less on Friday.
''I’ve done all different combinations of practice, practice in shells the whole week, shoulder pads and shorts on Thursday. Some teams have full pads on Friday. There are different approaches, you're always trying to find one that best fits. I think two hours of work on the field is a very reasonable time.''
After practice, Lewis said he ''talked and exchanged ideas'' with Mangini and got ''a view of what he's trying to accomplish.'' As Lewis spoke to the media, several players chanted, ''JLew, JLew'' in the background.
''Basically got a chance to talk and settle things out, let him know that your guys’ story was kinda blown out of proportion and it was worded and went in a certain way,'' Lewis said. ''But that’s how the media is.
''Mangini as a coach, we agreed to disagree sometimes. We settled things in house, that's how it should’ve been dealt with from the start.''
On Thursday, Lewis said he'd practiced more in pads through eight games for the 1-7 Browns than he had in three or four years in Baltimore. His message to Mangini was, ''We're just the crop. You've got to take care of your crop. If you don't take care of your crop, when it comes time to harvest, you're not going to make no money because the crop ain't no good.''
Lewis, 30, announced Nov. 1 that his 10th season would be his last. Practices were not strenous during his time in Baltimore under coach Brian Billick and that continued when he came to Cleveland in 2007 to play for coach Romeo Crennel.
Asked if he was disappointed in the way Lewis aired his grievances, Mangini said, ''Everybody expresses themselves in different ways, everybody has the right to express themselves. What I’m always looking for is communication with me directly. The office is open, I’ve said this bunch of times, it's not a slogan, not something you check off your list, it’s true. I’ve had lots of great conversations with players. The more you talk, better you understand each other.''
Mangini wouldn't say if he would fine Lewis for conduct detrimental to the team.
''I'm not looking at it that way,'' Mangini said. ''What I'm looking for is if anything needs to be addressed, being able to communcation those things, comm openly like with any conversation.''
Mangini confirmed that practice squad defensive end Keith Grennan was hurt in a post-practice opportunity period Thursday. Those sessions for young players run after the walk-through and practice.
Grennan ruptured his patellar tendon and will undergo surgery Monday. Mangini said Grennan was hurt during a position drill.
''You never want anyone to get hurt, don't want to see it. He's a good kid,'' Mangini said. ''I've been doing this for 16 years. A lot of people have really benefitted from it, the most recent being Marcus Benard.''
Benard, an undrafted free agent outside linebacker from Jackson State, was signed to the active roster this week after shining during the opportunity periods. When Mangini announced his promotion, the entire team applauded.
Asked if those periods increase the risk of injury, Mangini said, ''I think it increases the possibility of success.''