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What's Browns coach Eric Mangini saying?

By Nate Ulrich Published: May 30, 2010

Browns coach Eric Mangini met with reporters this past week before a session of organized team activities in Berea. If you get a chance to take a break from grilling and eating barbecue this Memorial Day weekend, here are some of the highlights from the transcript that might help satisfy your appetite for Browns talk:

Browns coach Eric Mangini press conference (5-27-10)

Opening statement: “I think there have been some guys having a really good camp.  I thought so far Brian Robiskie has had an outstanding camp. He’s showed up quite a bit.  I think the quarterbacks are doing a really nice job with what we are asking them to do.  Ben Watson has been doing a really nice job with the things that we are asking him to do.  Really there are a lot of guys that I have been happy with, especially when you consider that it is a new environment.  It is a lot of new material, but it has been fun to watch the progression as we go.  They guys that have been out, are still out.  Robaire (Smith) is not here, he had some things that he had to take care of and I talked to him.  Jerome (Harrison) is not here, he had some things that he had to take care of.  I talked to him, it’s nothing that’s related to his contract or anything like that.  I expect him to be back next week.  In terms of the restricted guys, there’s really no update along those lines.”

(On if Harrison has been at the facility) -- “Yes, he was here.  At the start of this week, he came in.  He was here on the field.  He hasn’t signed his tender, but there’s another way they can do it.  I think it’s a waiver.  You would have to talk to Matt (Thomas) and Tom (Heckert) about the exact document, but he is allowed to practice and participate and he had been the previous two days.”

(On the improvement of Robiskie) -- “I think it’s a lot like quite a few of the younger guys.  It’s not, ‘Where am I?  What am I doing?’  It’s, ‘I remember this.  I remember the technique that I have to do.’  You can start to develop it more and you can start to play faster because you’re not thinking and processing, so that helps.  He’s running good routes and made some big plays pretty much every day.  David Veikune has gotten a lot of reps working inside.  I think he has looked better as well.  All of those guys have shown some really positive things early on.  We have a long way to go, but it is encouraging to see.”

(On having to add a wide receiver) -- “In terms of having to go out and get somebody, I think we are open to that.  What is nice is that these guys are getting a lot of reps, they are getting a lot of chances to work the system, not just in the classroom, but on the field and I think that helps.  We are open to all different positions if it came up and made sense, but it really would have to.”

(On if there are any restricted free agents practicing besides Harrison)- “No, he’s the only one.”

(On if any of the injured players from last week will be practicing) -- “They’re all on the same program.  Nobody’s been added on right now.  I don’t think we will see them through OTAs.  Don’t anticipate it, but they are on their rehab program and it is set up with different milestones and things.  I don’t anticipate them participating right now in that aspect.  They are doing all of the other things.”

(On sticking with David Veikune at inside linebacker) -- “Yes, that’s what we will do, have him focus in that area.  You forget how, and I have to keep reminding myself and the coaches, it’s hard for those guys.  The young guys are going through what all of those guys went through last week.  I know when Shawn (Lauvao) was running his laps, I think you guys were there for that. Alex Mack was like, ‘Hey, I’ve been there.’  Hopefully, and what I look for from the group of second-year guys now is to help the new guys through the process.  To give them some things that they may have used to improve and they become teachers in their own right.”

(On Veikune) -- “With end conversions, you don’t know necessarily where the best spot is going to be.  Sometimes those guys are better outside and that’s where they naturally fit.  A guy like Marcus Bernard, it made sense.  Sometimes guys have the flexibility to do a couple different spots.  You’re going through a trial and error to figure out, where is the best spot for him?  Where is the best spot for us?  You don’t know right away because they have never done it.  There is a lot that you have to see and they have to experience to figure out where the best spot is.”

(On the right side of the offensive line) -- “George (Warhop) spends a lot of the time on the rotations, so we mix those guys.  Tony (Pashos) has played both spots, so has Floyd (Womack), so has John (St. Clair).  Shawn (Lauvao) has worked at guard primarily, so there have been a lot of different combinations over there.  That’s what you’d want to do because whoever isn’t the fifth is probably going to be the sixth.  You’d like to have the position flexibility with that group to where if one is a better guard than tackle, you plug him in at guard and the other guy moves to tackle, depending on how the injuries go or how you need them.”

(On which spot Pashos is better at) -- “They’re all pretty confident guys, so they feel like they are pretty good at both.  He’s played both, he has worked at both.  He probably has worked more at tackle than he has at guard historically, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t work at both.”

(On if Lauvao has played any left guard yet) -- “He hasn’t to this point.  That’s something that we will probably do in the next round. Really let him get his feet wet, let him hear the terms, let him work at a consistent spot. Then we will work him in some other spots and see how the retention goes, see how it transfers.  We wanted to give him a base first.”

(On Sheldon Brown) -- “Sheldon, he’s a pro and that’s probably the highest compliment I can pay a guy.  He’s very mature in his approach, working diligently to get the information down.  He has been in one system for a long time, so he can associate things, but there is a lot of stuff that he needs to get down and it is really important for him to get it right.  I think as he continues to grow in the system and understand the system, he will work with the younger guys to help them get it right and I think he will provide some leadership in that room.”

(On if he was surprised that Brown was available through trade) -- “I don’t know surprised.  Tom (Heckert) and his connections, he had a pretty good beat on what some possibilities were.  When we had the opportunity, we went with it.”

(On how the rookie class is coming along) -- “They’re coming along like all of the rookie classes that I’ve been a part of.  Do you remember Steve Crosby back in the day?  He said, ‘Like a ball in tall grass: lost.’  There’s a little bit of Lost going on.  We haven’t seen that season finale here.”

(On the importance of Brown’s physical style of play) -- “The criteria for evaluating any defensive back is, can they play man to man, can they play in the deep part of the field and can they tackle?  You want to have all three of those elements in order to bring somebody in.  Sometimes you hear cover corner and usually that’s a nice thing in a lot of ways, but it also means run at him.  You want the complete corner that can do all of those things and Sheldon is a good tackler and a good run support player.”

(On the idea of playing a Super Bowl in cold weather) -- “I really like it.  I like it more if we are playing in it.  We are all going to be able to see how it goes in New York, but I think it’s exciting.  You have the elements and elements play such a huge part in the regular season.  They play a huge part in the postseason, depending on where the game is located.  To mix that in, I think it’s great.”

(On if he thinks cold weather locations should be in the regular rotation of sites) -- “It’s a little above my pay grade, but I think it would be fun.  You add the component that you deal with all of the time into it and it can dramatically affect games.”

(On expecting early results from rookies) -- “I don’t think you ever really can tell if a draft class works out for two to three years down the road or whether a player works out necessarily because it’s not defined by one year, it’s defined by a body work.  Believe me, I’ve coached a lot of guys that had to play right away that really shouldn’t have played.  Sometimes that can be detrimental too because their confidence gets shot.  I don’t think you can say it worked out or did not work out until you see the body of work over time and then you make your assessment.”

(On Seneca Wallace) -- “I think Seneca has had a really nice camp.  Obviously, he’s learning a lot of new things.  It’s a different style than Jake is, which is good because it puts some different pressures on the defense.  I don’t think you could rule out the possibility of having them both play.  Seneca gives you some flexibility to do some things, just like Jake has certain things that they do.  If you can incorporate them both in a plan that makes sense, that works, then that could be a good thing.  Then you have a guy like Josh Cribbs, he presents different problems.  Now you put Josh Cribbs and Seneca in the game together, they can present different problems.  Ideally, it’s easy for you, but hard for them.  That chews up a lot of preparation time for your opponent that they need to deal with it, you have to deal with it because it could come up and you better have good answers and you better have practiced it.  Ideally, it’s part of your routine so that it doesn’t chew up a lot of time from your perspective.”

(On the additions in the defensive backfield) -- “I think one thing that’s really good is that you add competition and competition makes everybody better.  I think that’s a good thing.  It gives you some flexibility with the type of packages that you can run.  How it will unfold though, I couldn’t say definitively because I don’t understand exactly what (Joe) Haden’s strengths are going to be, what the weaknesses potentially could be.  Same thing with Sheldon, learning about him as a player.  T.J. Ward, Larry (Asante), seeing how their development works, strengths and weaknesses.  You have more information obviously than you had before because they are working with you now, but there are a lot of things that we have to see before I can give you any kind of definitive comment."

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