The Browns held their Brown and White game Saturday afternoon at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Here's a breakdown of my observations from the intrasquad scrimmage:
Pregame notes (or in this case, pre-scrimmage notes)
Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini post-scrimmage press conference 8-7-10
(Opening Statement) -- “Really good work. They got what we wanted to get accomplished, accomplished. A lot of different situations, we got the mechanics of the pregame, the halftime, all the things that we were looking for and it was a nice opportunity for us to do it in a game setting before we have to go do it next week.”
(On how he judged everything without any live tackling) -- “We had the NFL officials here and all their decisions were final and whoever they decided was (down), it was. That’s how it is in the game. You may not always agree all the time, but whatever the call is, the call is and that’s how we operated.”
(On how he grades a good play versus a bad play when there’s no tackling) -- “We’ll be able to look at the blocking schemes, the fits, the defensive linemen, the safeties and see whether everybody was in position to make the play or not make the play. We just didn’t want to have that contact right now. We wanted to be able to work on the specifics of the plays.”
(On how he would judge the overall physicality of the scrimmage) -- “I’d say there were too many penalties and that’s something that we work on quite a bit, but the team was split up, totally different scenarios. That’s hard to do, but I thought the coaches did a good job. I thought the players did a good job with it. I’m never happy with penalties and that’s something we’ll continue to work on.”
(On his evaluation of Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace) -- “I thought both guys did some really good things. I haven’t seen their final numbers yet, but I thought in terms of the operation, the overall execution, there were a lot of positives.”
(On Brandon McDonald’s interception return for a touchdown and his camp so far) -- “Brandon’s had a really good camp and I think that he put himself in nice position on that play. He kind of fell off late, baited Colt (McCoy) into throwing it. Then he did a nice job running with the football after the play to be able to get into the end zone.”
(On if he was okay with the dive into the end zone) -- “I’m not a big fan of the dive. That’s something we’ll talk about tomorrow.”
(On the scuffle that occurred on the field) -- “No, we’re not going to fight at practice. There was a guy recently hurt in college football, that is going to miss four to six weeks for a fight. We’ll have plenty of chances to show how tough we are.”
(On if Delhomme and Benjamin Watson could be something special this offseason)- “I’ve known Ben for a long time and unfortunately he’s scored a lot of touchdowns against the defenses that I’ve coached. It’s nice to have him and have him scoring touchdowns for us. I think that the tight end group as a whole has done a really nice job and being able to get some production out of that position is going to open up things in other areas.”
(On what he thought of James Davis) -- “I haven’t seen the numbers, but he made a couple nice plays. As we talked about, it’s hard to really evaluate without the tackling, but I’m excited to see him get into some live contact next week.”
(On the different positions Joshua Cribbs was playing today) -- “Really, that’s how Josh has always been. He plays some quarterback, he plays some receiver, he plays on special teams. The more times you get the ball in his hands, the more chances he has of making explosive plays. You saw some of the things that we’ll do with him and I’m sure we’ll do a lot more as well.”
(On if Brandon McDonald has something to prove this year after his struggles last year) -- “I think that competition in any group is a really good thing and we’ve got a competitive group of corners. They’re all working to make the team. They are all working for play time and nobody’s going to give that up easily. That’s a positive thing. The competition is going to help us overall.”
(On how special teams played today) -- “I thought they did a nice job. I thought the mechanics for special teams was smooth. Again, you’ve got guys playing in position they may not normally be playing in, but they have to be backups for and there weren’t very many miscues in those areas. I think that’s encouraging and Brad Seely does a great job with that.”
(On how the day went today) -- “It was a great day. I came in early this morning, saw the fans here early and you get that electric feeling that you always have when you are coming to the stadium. We’ve got the greatest, loudest group of fans that you are going to find and we thank them for coming out here today and for showing all their support.”
(On the chemistry between him and Seneca Wallace)- "It's like none other. You have two quarterbacks that are out there balling out and playing football. That's what it's all about. I look for him to throw me the ball and he looks for me to catch it. That's the chemistry that we are getting in practice and it is going to lead over into the games."
(On Joe Haden's development)- "He is getting extremely better. He is picking up the game a lot easier than I thought. I noticed the difference in him from rookie camp and OTAs as to now. He has stepped his game up tremendously and I think he'll be ready by the first game."
(On the biggest difference in the team now than this time in 2009) -- "I think the guys, not only the organization but the chemistry. I think the attitude is stronger amongst each other. We are more together as a team. Even in bible study. There are a lot more guys coming to bible study and that says a lot about our character."
(On his transition to wide receiver) -- "It's going great. Every game, every practice, I try to work on the fundamentals of being more of a complete package. Anytime I'm thrown in there I make sure that I am doing my job and I'm doing it at an extremely high level."
(On the Family Day scrimmage) -- “This was new to me. I’ve done different types of scrimmages, but this is truly a game-type setting and things like that. You have got to be realistic about what happened out there, the quarterbacks are not live. There is not live tackling. I think that there are a few playmakers on this football team that can make things happen with the ball in the open field. For the most part, we did some decent things. I’m sure there’s a lot to work on. I feel it’s been a very good and productive first week of camp, I will say that. Now we will get to start focusing in more because we have put a great deal of things in. We can start repeating things and getting ready for our first preseason game.”
(On if the scrimmage shows what guys will be like in a game) -- “I think somewhat, I think it does. To me, it’s the competitive spirit. That’s one thing that I liked is you want to see guys playing and fighting and this is why you play this game. It’s a kid’s game. We all play because we have fun, but we play to win. That’s how you play, you play to try to win.”
(On Benjamin Watson and the tight ends) -- “He is very athletic. I think we have a very good tight end group in my opinion. I think Robert Royal is the consummate pro, very intelligent in blocking and does will in the pass game. The other two guys, they can run. They are difference makers. They can really run and whatnot and they are very athletic, both of them, (with) the one-handed catch by Evan (Moore) and the catch by Ben. They’re talented.”
(On how close he is to knowing all of the information) -- “It’s a whole lot closer now honestly because we have all of the install in. All of the plays that we have are in so now it’s just making sure you know exactly what you have got to do. There are no more new plays coming in so now I just feel like I’m getting a whole lot better at knowing which plays we have. I’m real close to it.”
(On the biggest difference between playing in the NFL and the SEC) -- “The biggest difference honestly between this and that is that there are so many plays. When is I was in college, there were just a couple of plays and you knew exactly what you are doing. You knew where your help was. In this when somebody motions, it changes the whole defense. You can go from blitzing to half field so just knowing exactly what you have to do is the biggest difference for me.”
(On how he is approaching camp) -- “Just to get better. Last year was actually my rookie year so I wanted to make strides from my first to second year. Most coaches say a lot of your biggest strides come from your first to second year so I wanted to make sure I was doing that and getting better at the things that people said I wasn’t very good at. Pass protection, run game, those are things that I want to continue to get better at to become a more all-around, complete tight end.”
(On if the coaches are noticing his hard work) -- “I don’t want to speak for them, you can ask them that, but I believe so. It’s something that I have been working on and it’s going to come. It’s not something I have a lot of experience doing because I played receiver in college, but it’s something that I know I have the capability to do if I keep working at it. It really all comes down to technique, I don’t really think it’s a strength thing or anything like that. I’m just as big as these other guys that we have got. It’s just technique and getting experience at it.”
(On what he took from today’s scrimmage) -- “It was fun just to get out there in a regular type of game environment. Obviously, it wasn’t live, but we did some things well on the offensive side of the ball and it’s a lot to grow from.”
(On some of the things he thought they did offensively) -- “We moved the ball, that’s the main thing. Moving the ball and scoring some points. We got a field goal. I think that was the biggest thing is that everybody was working, we caught the ball well. We blocked pretty good. Obviously, we couldn’t run the ball, so they are kind of teeing off, but it was fun to try to get the guys out there and work at it.”
(On if the cyclone package is something they would expect to see more of) -- “I think it’s going to be very effective with me and Josh Cribbs being back there. It can be really exciting. He’s going to make his plays and I’m going to try my best to make my plays.”
(On if he knew right away if he was in bounds on his touchdown) -- “Yeah I knew. We work on trying to get those feet in bounds and I was pretty sure I was in before they challenged it.”
(On if having a scrimmage like this is helpful) -- “It’s just good work altogether for the offense, the defense and the special teams. It’s good to work against each other in a game-type atmosphere and have a game-type mentality. Although it was a practice, it gave us a chance to do some things full speed.”