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What's Browns coach Eric Mangini saying?

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 22, 2010

Browns coach Eric Mangini met with reporters Sunday evening. Here is a transcript from the press conference:

Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 8-22-10

(Opening statement) -- “Good evening everybody.  I talked to the team and reiterated a lot of the points we talked about after the game yesterday.  Really, they relate to points that we talked about before the game and the things that we talk about each week.  Our starting point is protect the football and create ball disruption, which is getting the football out and there are some other things that fall in that category, batted balls, altered throws, interceptions and things like that.  We didn’t do that well at all.  In the last five years, one team has won a game out of 41 games when they have minus five or worse giveaway-takeaway ratio.  You might as well play the Powerball at that point because you have got no chance of winning.  The other thing is self-inflicted wounds, penalties.  Defensively, have three penalties on third down is like a turnover.  You can’t survive those things and that’s our starting point.  Before we get into any of the keys of the game, any of who we have to stop, what we have to stop, it’s taking care of those things.  We didn’t do that well at all last night on both sides of the ball.  The conditions were not great, but they weren’t great for the Rams either.  That’s one of the reasons I believe so firmly in practicing in the elements because the only way that you can get used to working in the elements is by working in the elements.  For the time being, we could rent out the indoor facility for a car show, because we are not going in there any time soon.  We need to be able to play in the weather.  It’s going to be hot in Tampa, it’s going to be cold here.  We are going to have snow, we are going to have wind, we are going to have all of those things and it affects the game.  It affects the footing, it affects the ball handling, it affects the path of the ball and those are things that we need to be able to play through and be successful at playing through.  I thought the first series, and I’ll go special teams, one of their core special teams players, who we identified, made the first tackle. Then we come out and have that horrible first drive and then we go defensively and we make a mistake on the first play and we have a penalty on that drive and they score on the first drive.  That’s not the way we are going to start games.  It’s not effective and to spot a team a bunch of points at the start of a game just makes it that much harder to win.

“I think there were a lot of good things when we played Browns football, there were a lot of really positive things.  Offensively, we were able to move the ball very effectively.  I thought the quarterbacks played well after we got through that initial barrage.  I think you’ve seen the development, the emergence of Josh Cribbs as a wide receiver, having five catches last night and the touchdown catch that he had.  We got a little bit of a look at some of the things that Peyton Hillis can do as a runner.  I thought the tight ends were productive.  I thought the o-line handled the stunts that St. Louis ran and their front, in terms of protection, very well at times. I’m not saying four sacks is anything I’m satisfied with, but there were a lot of good things mixed in there.  Some long drives, one-for-two on fourth down, we got much better on third down in the second half, so that was good.  But, the start of the game was not very good and really to finish the game, we weren’t very good offensively either, one of six passing with an interception, I think there was a sack mixed in there. We weren’t able to convert on that two-minute drive late or really any of those last couple drives there.  Defensively, it was kind of the same thing.  I think that once we got over the first drive, there were real positives.  Positives in the running game, holding them to 1.whatever (1.7) yards rushing and pretty limited passing.  What I really liked defensively was our ability to respond to sudden change and that’s a skill because so much momentum is going towards your opponent and they have got great field position.  Holding them to three field goals, that kept the game close.  On special teams, I just thought we had poor decisions by our returners throughout the course of the night.  Poor ball security, two fumbles on punts and a mishandled kickoff.  It kills you.  I thought the kickoff coverage overall was good.  I thought we were better in field goal protection, stouter.  There are a couple of things we still need to improve on there.  I thought we got better push on our field goal block team.  There were some positives, but I thought as a group collectively, it was one of our least-impressive performances since we have been here in an area that we have been good at.  Just like last week against Green Bay, you don’t want to go too far in one direction and the value in what happened is how we can take this and apply it to the next week’s game.  That’s the coaching point that I consistently reiterate is how can we learn, how can we grow, how can we improve and take the coaching for what it is, coaching, and take the lessons for what they are, chances to be better at what we do.  That’s our approach.  We are going to follow basically a regular season schedule this week, so today would be like a Monday, tomorrow would be like a Tuesday, so the players will be off.  Then the next day, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.  That schedule is a schedule that we will work on.  I told the guys too is once we have the captains in place, we can talk about areas where we want to tweak it.  Typically though, half the room wants this, half the room wants that and you end up settling for what you originally started out with.  We will go through the process anyways.”

(On the fumbling of exchanges between Alex Mack and Jake Delhomme yesterday) -- “There really haven’t been many mishandled snaps between those two guys.  I think it was a combination of the wet ball and the direction of the runs.  That being said, you have just got to understand to get a little bit slower to your block because the ball is harder for the quarterback to get to.  You have got to be that much more focused on getting the exchange because of the slickness of the ball.  That’s something that we will work on with a wet ball and hopefully we will get some rain here this week.”

(On which areas Cribbs has grown as a wide receiver) -- “It’s everything.  The other thing that I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but Josh did a great job as a blocker too.  The one screen pass to Jerome Harrison, I thought was really well-executed.  Josh and Brian (Robiskie) were both on the back side, ran across the field, got blocks down the field.  We had Ben Watson and Evan (Moore) on the front side, they did a great job.  Alex (Mack) got out, he cut his guy.  That’s one element, the blocking.  I think the types of catches that he has made and the difficult catches, he made some difficult ones last year, he had a fourth down catch against Pittsburgh last year.  That’s improved, the consistency there.  The route running is another area that has gotten better.  He’s not just understanding, ‘Okay, I’ve got to be at this depth.’  It’s, ‘I have to take this release, I have to be at this depth.  Based on the coverage, I have to give them this type of fake to get open.  Once I make my break, I have got to stay friendly.’  A lot of the details of the position, he has gotten better with.”

(On the importance of Cribbs becoming more of a vertical threat) -- “He has caught quite a few deep balls in practice.  The thing about Josh that we can’t look past is any time he gets the ball, regardless of what distance he gets it at, he is a vertical threat because it’s Josh with the ball in his hands in space.  It just goes from a catch to a kick return.”

(On if he is more comfortable with Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita in the positions he has been playing them in) -- “We will continue to work them at different spots.  I’m really comfortable with both guys.  They are both really good people, they are both very smart.  They are both guys that can understand the concept of the defense and some of the tools that are available to them within the concept and using them, but keeping the defense sound, which is sort of the next level that they have got to experience.  They’re bright, so that’s come pretty easily to them.”

(On if the quarterback situation is playing out as he had initially expected it to) -- “Yes, in terms of how exactly Seneca’s (Wallace) role will be defined, I think there is a lot of things we can do with him.  He’s very comfortable coming in at any point, something that Colt (McCoy) is really learning because he went from getting all of the reps at Texas to he may get a few reps here, he may get in the game for a few plays here.  That’s different for him, that’s something that is learned.  Seneca over time has been that guy, so he is comfortable going in whenever we need him and that’s a good thing because that allows you some flexibility.  I think that Jake’s done a good job.  I know he’s frustrated that he didn’t get that one to Brian on the seven cut where he had a chance, but it’s two weeks in a row where he has been pretty efficient throwing the ball.  He runs the offense, he runs it well.  He’s engaged the whole game.  He’s working on the sideline, whether he’s in or out, to try to either help the guys that are in or try to figure out the answers.  A lot of answers he knows.  The ones he doesn’t know, he’s going to get.  I think both of those guys have done a really nice job.”

(On his thoughts on holding back some components of the Wildcat offense until the regular season) -- “I think they know that we have it.  Tampa, I am sure, is familiar that we have the Wildcat just based on what we did last year.  I’m sure we will do some different things with it, it will look a little bit different.  Some of that is also taking some hits off of Josh, through the preseason.  He will get plenty of work like the work he is getting at wide receiver, but between the receiver work, the Wildcat work and the special teams work, it’s a full load.  You have got to give in some areas to work on other areas.  I’ve gone both ways on this.  I think I’ve told this story before, but in New England we had this great package that we weren’t going to unveil until the start of the season.  We took 200 reps on it and were all excited about it, but they gasses us twice for forty yards the first two times we ran it and we threw it out.  You almost wish you had played it to figure out that it didn’t look as good as you had hoped and not waste the other time.  I’m a little mixed on that.  Plus, we are so game plan specific that the things you see this week, you may not see until five weeks from now.”

(On if he is concerned with the pass rush) -- “Would I like more sacks?  Yes.  We were pretty effective last year in terms of sacking the quarterback and that was really a group effort. There’s no one dominant person in terms of the number of sacks.  I think 16 different guys had sacks.  I thought we did a nice job of hitting the quarterback a couple of different times yesterday, which is always positive.  I would like to get some more sacks and I would like to see some of these things hit a little bit better.  Hopefully as we improve the execution and run it some more times, those will come.”

(On if they blitzed less yesterday than they did in Green Bay) -- “I don’t know what the number is.  Some of that stuff just depends how you look at them.  Some were zone blitzes, so it really ends up being four, but you could categorize it as that.  I’m not sure what the final numbers were.”

(On when Shawn Lauvao will return with the team) -- “Hopefully he will be back tomorrow morning, but again this is sort of a unique situation.  That’s the tentative plan right now.”

(On if Montario Hardesty will start practicing Tuesday or if there will be another delay) -- “There’s really no delay because there’s no timetable, so there’s no delay whatsoever.  When he’s ready, he goes.  He’s continued to progress.  In terms of practicing, I anticipate him maybe late in the week getting some reps, but it’s subject to change.”

(On if Hardesty could be playing in the last preseason game) -- “Yes, it’s a possibility.”

(On if Peyton Hillis is doing some of the things that Hardesty would be doing if he were healthy) -- “No, not necessarily because these are some of the things when we talked about the trade that I really saw him doing.  I think it was great for you guys to kind of see some of the things that he can do as a runner.  What I liked is he did add a little bit of a spark.  He broke multiple tackles, he is a tough, physical guy with the ball, he catches the ball well.  That’s going to be one of his roles.  He can play fullback, he can play on special teams, he can play on third down and that’s the guy that we are looking for when we made the trade.”

(On if Hillis’ play reaffirmed what he saw when the Browns traded for him) -- “It’s always a good thing when you remember it and it looks like what you remember it as.  We all have memories of things that have happened that maybe weren’t quite as good as we hoped.  He looks like what he looked like when we played him.”

(On if Hillis has added value because of how well he protects the ball in Cleveland weather) -- “Yes, it’s critical.  It’s critical to protect the football in any weather, but it gets cold.  It gets harder and we were good at that the last five games last year. We had five turnovers the whole time and we equaled that last night.  That’s not how we are going to operate.”

(On if McCoy’s struggles are a part of his progression) -- “Yes, it’s part of what happens, I think you saw that with (Sam) Bradford last night.  It’s confusing.  A lot of stuff happens here that you haven’t faced.  It’s faster, everybody’s good and it takes some time for things to slow down especially at that spot because you have so much responsibility.  You’ve got your job, you have to make sure the front is set, you have to get the cadence right, the formations right, you have got to see what the defense is doing. There’s a lot going on and you figure he was in one system at a pretty high comfort level for a long time and now he is thrust into another system with a very different practice pattern.  It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but to his credit, he works consistently. He doesn’t get flustered by it, he has done a nice job with Jake and Seneca, seeking out their guidance.  It’s a hard transition.”

(On if Tony Pashos is going to return soon) -- “My expectation is that he practices on whatever day it is, not tomorrow, but the next day, and he plays this weekend.”

(On if Hardesty could be ready for the season opener even with his setback) -- “Yes, I would expect him to.  There’s been no setback.  Based on the plan that we had and the progress that he has made, my anticipation is that he will be practicing again in the near future and ideally playing in the opener.”


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