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Mangini speaks highly of new linebacker

By dan Published: May 28, 2009

One of the great things that media relations people do is write up press conference quotes. It's thankless work, really. But for someone like me, there's nothing better than reading through a press conference recap. There are always nuggets of great information.
When Browns head coach Eric Mangini met with the media, most stories were either about Josh Cribbs or new cornerback Rod Hood. However, if you dig deep into recap, there are some great thoughts on new linebacker Eric Barton:

(On what Eric Barton brings) – “Eric is incredibly smart and not just in terms of his ability to pick up the information. He absorbs the installs very quickly but his ability to process information on the field. He can see a formation, anticipate the adjustment, he can see a formation and anticipate the play. He is a good communicator. He has good toughness, but I’ve always respected his natural intelligence and his football intelligence.”
(On how important Barton is in the locker room) – “I think that any of the players that have some familiarity can add value because they can help accelerate the learning process in terms of expectations, in terms of the system and the quicker that we can all move forward and everybody understands exactly what’s expected, what we are looking for, the quicker you make progress.”
(On Barton’s run defense) – “I’d say his forte is getting all 11 guys going in the right direction and making sure they are in the right sports. That has huge value whether it’s run or pass. To me, the reason we improved our run defense last year (in New York) was we got better with our technique, we got better with our fits and we got better with the coordination. That will be the case in anything we do here is, how well can the group do it? The same thing with like the running game offensively, some of those six-yard runs could be 40-yard runs, if the receivers do a nice job of blocking on the perimeter, otherwise it just becomes a nice gain instead of an outstanding one.”

Based on Mangini's assessment, Barton is exactly the kind of player Cleveland's defense needs. It didn't seem like last season the Browns had a player on defense who was all that tough and smart.
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