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What's Browns coach Eric Mangini saying?

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 18, 2010

Browns coach Eric Mangini met with reporters Tuesday morning. Here's a transcript from the press conference:

Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 8-17-10

(Opening statement) -- “Good afternoon everybody. A little bit of operational news, we put Dave Zastudil on IR today.  We talked to Dave and he worked really hard to get back and thought it was headed in the right direction.  He went and saw his doctor and tried a few other things and really wasn’t responding the way that he had hoped and we had hoped.  The next best course of action was to place him on injured reserve.  We resigned Joel Gamble today, you probably saw him out there this morning.  Shawn Lauvao is excused the rest of this week.  He may or may not play on Saturday, probably not, for personal reasons.  That’s the operational update.  In terms of practice today, I was really happy with the way that we practiced today. I thought it was much better than what we did yesterday.  It was consistent.  I really liked the communication on both sides and it starts with that.  I thought the focus was good throughout the practice and I thought we started well and finished well, which is similar to what we saw in the Green Bay game and which is what my expectation is each practice and that carrying over into each game.  I’m looking to go two-for-two today and that’s the challenge.”

(On Dave Zastudil) -- “He’s worked hard at it and he worked with his doctor and our doctor and we have tried a lot of different things and it just wasn’t making any progress.  We thought we had turned the corner and hadn’t, so this was the next step.”

(On if he will stick with Reggie Hodges) -- “I really like the things that Reggie did for us last year.  I think that Reggie has had a good camp, so I’m comfortable with just having Reggie here through camp and I think he will do a great job for us.”

(On Zastudil returning for next season) -- “The one thing that I know about Dave is he is so conscientious and he is really working hard at this.  The thing with injuries is that everybody responds a little bit differently to them and you just don’t know.  You think you have one time table and it’s not the case.  But with Dave, I know that he will do everything he can to get back to where he was.”

(On Floyd Womack) -- “Pork Chop (Womack) is going to miss the rest of the preseason and then we will take it from there.”

(On Womack’s injury) -- “It’s just some knee issues that he has had.  That’s really the extent of the update is that we probably won’t see him the rest of the preseason and then we will evaluate it at that point.”

(On Shawn Lauvao’s absence) -- “It really is a personal issue like we all have in our lives.  I expect him to be back in a couple of days or the early part of next week.  I will talk to him probably tonight and see how things are going.”

(On if Womack will be ready for the regular season) -- “We will have to evaluate it at that point.”

(On John St. Clair) -- “I don’t think he will be back this afternoon, but he should be back Thursday.”

(On if Zastudil tried to come back too soon) -- “No, I don’t think so.  We had gone through all of the steps and as I said, our staff and his doctor, they worked very closely together.  Dave was involved, we were all involved in the process and that was the next step in the progression was to have him start punting and see where it went from there.  It had been a real collaborative effort by everybody involved.  I think we were, throughout the process, trying to be as cautious as we possibly could to give him as much time and as much work as we could to get him to where he needed to be.  I feel good about the work that Joe (Sheehan) did and Doc did and his doctor and Dave and everybody that was involved.  Things responded differently is really where we were.”

(On if he should have kept Rex Hadnot in retrospect because of injuries along the offensive line) -- “We talked about all of those guys, myself, Tom (Heckert), Mike (Holmgren), the rest of the pro personnel staff.  We talked about all of the different options and you make the decisions that you make at the time and you move forward.  In camp, things happen and you have to adjust to them.  You can anticipate only so much and after that, you have to respond and react and adjust.  That’s why, to me, the versatility is so important, working guys at the center and guard, guard and tackle.  Same thing throughout the team.  You don’t know where it’s going to hit, how it’s going to hit and what levels it’s going to hit.  You know it’s going to happen, you have just got to build enough flexibility so when things do happen, you can continue to move the team forward.”

(On the right side of the offensive line being thin) -- “Like I said, Shawn is going to be back and there is nothing physically wrong with him or anything like that.  It’s just an issue that he has to take care of.  He and I talked a long time and we all have these things that come up in our lives and that’s all it is.  I expect him back and I think he did a really, really good job for his first opportunity against a high level of competition being thrust into the starting lineup.  That’s not easy to do.  John should be back later this week.  Tony (Pashos), I think we are close on him.  Scott Kooistra has worked out there as well, I think he did a nice job.  We have got some candidates, Billy Yates, Pat Murray.  They have all done a nice job as well.”

(On Colt McCoy not wasting time coming back from a sprained thumb) -- “I’d say that all of the guys that are down are trying to get back.  They want to be able to put their best foot forward, they want to be able to get the reps, they want to be able to show that they can make the team and contribute.  It wasn’t anything that was that serious, we just wanted to give it a day to calm down.”

(On if Colt will play this Saturday) -- “Yes, I expect him to play.”

(On if the team will go out and sign any more offensive linemen) -- “We have done that a little bit, we already brought somebody in last week.  We will look at it, there are a lot of different spots where guys are getting dinged and nicked up.  I think as you look around at other camps and watch ESPN or whatever it is, everybody kind of goes through this part of camp where you are down in numbers in one spot or another.  You have just got to keep pushing forward, but we always look at those options.”

(On McCoy’s interception in the end zone in last Saturday’s game) -- “The guy was in double coverage.  We had points on the board, we had an under coming free, so hit the under and move to the next play.  You’re not in a situation at that point where you have to take a chance to push the ball into double coverage.  Sometimes guys want to make a play and maximize their opportunity, but in trying to make a play, you can actually make a play for them.  It’s going through that thought process of , ‘Okay, it’s not there.  Hit the under, go to the next play and worst case scenario, you finish that half out with three points and you are in a better spot going in to halftime.’  He has historically made good decisions in college and he’s a conscientious kid.  He could have been a little bit excited, a little bit of nervous, a lot of confidence, all of those things.”

(On what he has learned about Matt Roth and if he tries to learn about his players personally) -- “I try to get to know them on a personal level not to necessarily try and figure them out, but just because I think that helps build the relationship.  In getting to know Matt outside of the things that we all see, his inherent toughness and things like that.  In the meeting last night, I really like the way that he’s gotten more and more involved in the meetings.  He asked multiple questions last night in the meeting.  I was in the linebacker room and I thought he did a really good job with that.  He’s got a great relationship with the other players.  He knows David Bowens, they have got a history together.  That room is pretty tight, that group of linebackers are pretty tight, and he fits right in.  They are all a little bit different personality-wise, but they just all seem to mesh really well.”

(On Roth being a very intense person) -- “Yes, he is intense in conversation and he’s intense in the way that he plays, but I think there’s a lot of guys that are like that. It’s not like he’s always high strung in every meeting. He’s got a pretty funny side and he’s got a really good way with the other players.”

(On defensive back Ray Ventrone playing with the first team and if that’s a product of the way he’s been practicing) -- “With Bubba, I’ve known him for a long time and he’s made his mark on special teams. I don’t know if you guys remember the hit he had in the Super Bowl. It was the last kickoff when the Patriots were playing the Giants. It was the last kickoff they had and he blew the guy up and that’s the type of plays that Bubba makes on special teams, but he’s developing more and more as a defensive player and he was a big hitter in college as well. I remember watching his tape at Villanova. He was blowing people up. Sometimes with Bubba you have to slow him down a little bit in order for him to increase his role defensively because he is so aggressive and I’ve liked the things that he’s done and the packages that he’s been involved in defensively and I’d like to see him be able to expand his role. He’s going to be a good special teams player and now if he can expand his role on third down or substituted defenses, I think it’s the next step and I think it would be a good thing for everybody.”

(On if he is comfortable with punter Reggie Hodges and how he felt he did last year) -- “I’m comfortable with Reggie as the punter. I think he did a good job last year. I think that not only did he a good job punting, but he did a good job as a holder, which is also another critical job for the punter to take care of. We had him in New York as well. I think Mike (Holmgren) had him in Seattle in their camp for awhile so we’ve all kind of known him for quite awhile. We’ve all kind of known him for quite some time and seen his development professionally and he an extended chance to punt last year and I think he took advantage of it.”

(On how concerned his is with the running back position considering all the injuries) -- “I don’t think it’s been whittled down at all. I think some guys missed days here and there, but with exception of Montario (Hardesty), they’ve all played in the game, they all contributed in the game, so I still feel good about the depth. I think it will be even better when Montario comes back. I think some of the stuff that’s happened is natural in camp, but the good thing about that is it gives those other guys reps that they might not have. It puts Peyton (Hillis) in some spots where we wanted to see him that we might not have been able to see him had everybody been there through the whole time. Same thing with Chris Jennings, same thing with James Davis, so they were able to work in some spots that really I don’t think we would have had the opportunity to do and my assumption is that they’ll all be there this weekend with the exception of Montario and we get to see some more of each guy.”

(On the message that Marcus Benard delivered to the rookies) -- “What I always try to do was have a top draft pick, a middle-round guy and a free agent talk to the guys, just about their different experiences as a rookie and what helped them be successful because they all come in with different challenges. The top guy comes in with high expectations. The middle round guy is trying to find his way depending on what round and the free agent is trying to survive and trying to be noticed. With Marcus, he just talked about, he didn’t have time for anything besides football and every day he came here and he was going to show us that he belonged here and he was going to show us in the meetings, in the drills and each opportunity and how important that was for him being successful, how many guys he saw, just in his rookie class that came and went. He said sometimes those guys may not have wanted to study that night, or may not of wanted to work as hard at practice or maybe a vet told them to slow down and they slowed down. He said, ‘I didn’t have time for that. I had time for one thing and that was to be the best I can possibly be every chance I got to show these guys I belonged,’ and that’s the approach you have to take. Sometimes in camp, you can get an older guy saying, ‘Relax, relax, relax.’ Well that guy isn’t going to send you any of his check. When you go home, you’re relaxing, that’s great, but you’ll have plenty of time to relax if you’re not here and sitting on your couch, but you can’t do it. You have to put your best foot forward and I thought he did a really good job of just summarizing his experience and the lessons of his experience.”

(On if it’s a spontaneous speech) -- “I usually let them know about a week ahead of time and every year you try to get the range of guys and Jim Brown spoke that day as well. That’s the same day we show the history of the Browns, where we go through decade-by-decade and show them some video clips of the different players and you always get chuckles, hair styles of the ‘70s, but it’s, okay, here’s historically what’s happened. Here’s a little bit of an overview and then we put their college clips at the end and project forward, where are you going to be in this video and now you give a range of guys that kind of talk about their experience and it’s just another way to hopefully help them make the transition.”

(On the NFL moving the umpire behind the offensive line) -- “I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. I think it’s a good decision. I think a lot of officials got hurt, which you don’t want to see and they don’t have any padding on. Those guys are coming fast, so I get that completely from a safety perspective. In terms of how it’s going to affect the calls, I don’t think anybody really knows yet, because the officials are still getting used to it. We’re going to have to get used to it as a coaching staff, just like everybody else is around the league. Maybe it increases more offensive holding and decreases more defensive holding. I don’t really know. I don’t think anybody knows and with any rules change, you just have to see how it plays out.”

(On if Eric Wright has elevated his game with offseason additions in the secondary) -- “I thought Eric elevated his game towards the latter part of last season and really, where I thought he made the biggest strides was mentally. There were times where I call on these guys in meetings and I’ve shared this story before, at first Eric was a little reluctant to get up there. By the end, he was the closer. He was the guy that wanted the last answer to get me out of the room. There’s always one last answer, they get it right, I leave, if they don’t, I stay and he wanted to be the closer and that’s a totally different approach. With the really talented cornerbacks, the more you study, the more you know, the more that you can just let yourself play and react and jump things, the better you’re going to be and he’s really embraced that. I think that’s outstanding. He’s working some in the slot and that’s to build flexibility. He had never done that, but it wasn’t a function of him saying, ‘Hey, I really play outside.’ No, he wanted go in there and do that. He wanted to work on that, so he could be ready to play anyone of those spots and that growth that I’ve seen from him is great.”


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