Browns coach Eric Mangini met with reporters Tuesday morning. Here is a transcript from the press conference:
Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 8-24-10
(Opening statement) -- “Good morning everybody, welcome back. One note, John St. Clair is going to miss practice today for personal reasons and Shawn Lauvao is back. That’s where we are with those two guys if you don’t see John out there this afternoon. A couple things in terms of this week. What we are trying to do is simulate as close, as possible, a regular game week. Today, what we did is follow our Wednesday schedule and the preparation for that. There’s a decent group of guys that weren’t here last year so they are getting familiar with that. We made a few small changes, nothing major, just some timeline changes that we are going to try out and as I said, we will get together with the captains when they are elected and revisit on that just to make sure we are being as efficient as possible and it makes sense to everybody from that perspective.
“In terms of prepping for the Lions, I think that in watching them in the early part of the preseason, I know it’s the early part of the preseason, but they are much improved. They are doing a much better with their front four in terms of being able to pressure the passer whether they bring four, bring five or whether they bring max pressure in. We saw quite a few max pressures or combinations of pressures, they weren’t all max, last year when we played them. But they are able to get pressure on the quarterback by just rushing four. The addition of Kyle Vanden Bosch, I think he looks like I remember, high motor, relentless and a variation of pass rush moves. Cliff Avril, he has moved over to our right side, he led the team in sacks last year. I think (Ndamukong) Suh has done a nice job here in the early part and Corey (Williams) is working on the left, the same side as Vanden Bosch is. That’s a much improved group and I think they have done a really nice job. Defensively, they weren’t very high in terms of creating turnovers last year, but in the early part of the preseason they have gotten the ball out quite a few times. They had an interception that set up a score, so I see that part coming into play as well and how I remember Jim’s (Schwartz) defenses in Tennessee. It looks a lot closer to what I remember there.
“Offensively with (Matt) Stafford, I think he probably didn’t put up the numbers that he wanted to last season, but he was a very efficient passer in college and he’s showing that here in the preseason. He’s at a 72 percent completion and he’s had seven drives and in six of the drives, he’s lead them to scores. You see his progress as a young guy and his development. They’ve added some weapons with Jahvid Best. He’s a guy who was explosive is college. I think he had a 7.3 yard average and I think that has come down a little bit to 5.3, but he can hit a home run at any point. I think he was the 100-meter champion in California and you can see why. He can get the edge, he can cut back, he does a good job catching the ball out of the backfield. Of course I think that Calvin Johnson is one of the best receivers in the league. We worked on stopping him last year and we all know how well that worked out, seven receptions for 161 yards. They added Nate Burleson, I think he’s an excellent addition, that’s another threat. (Brandon) Pettigrew is a year further along. Tony Scheffler was a good player at Denver and he adds another element at the tight end position. I think the line has improved as well. That’s just a few of the guys. (Dennis) Northcutt is returning punts for them and he can play on offense and there are quite a few other guys that contributed. Bryant Johnson last year contributed and they’ll all have their roles and they all can do different things.
“On special teams, they’ve revamped their special teams and I’ve seen the progress there as well. I think this is going to be a really good opportunity for us, another 4-3 team to work against after we have worked against primarily 3-4 teams in the early part. A good front that can create pressure and an offense that creates some challenges, so I’m excited about the week.
(On when Shaun Rogers will return) -- “No real updates there. He is moving along and I’ll say the same thing with C.J. (Mosley) and Coye (Francies) that they are moving along. Hopefully in the next week or so, we will be able to see some movement there, but I don’t want to put any definitive timeline on it.”
(On why Coye Francies is on the PUP list) -- “He got hurt in OTAs and it was the type of injury takes a certain amount of weeks to recover. This is really the timeline that we expected him to be on and just following that.”
(On what Francies injured) -- “His groin.”
(On when he needs to activate players from the PUP list) -- “You can do it a couple of different ways. Once they come off the PUP list, they do it here in the preseason, then you make a decision when you cut it down to 53. If they go in to the season, I forget the first landmark that you have to make a decision on it. I don’t want to give you a week because I’m not sure.”
(On if he has time to decide whether or not he wants to wait to activate Rogers or anyone else) -- “Yes, there’s a block of time there that you have to make a decision in.”
(On if he thinks Rogers will be on the roster for Week 1) -- “Like I said, I don’t want to put any definitive timeline on it, but we will see where it is.”
(On Joel Reinders’ injury) -- “Same thing. He got injured early in camp and he is another guy that I hope we will see back here maybe the later part of this week.”
(On if he is concerned with the team speed on offense) -- “I think the best way to be able to stretch a defense is to be able to effectively attack all of the areas of the field. With the addition of Ben Watson and the way that Evan Moore has played, you can put some more pressure on the interior part of the defense, which takes some pressure off of the perimeter and that helps. I think that’s the best way to be able to stretch a defense is to be able to attack all of the areas because regardless of what your team speed is outside, if you can pack it up outside, then you can’t throw it there anyway.”
(On if he would mind having a 100 meter champion on his team) -- “Only if it translated to football speed. There are a lot of fast guys that can’t run fast with pads on. You like those fast guys that when they throw the pads on, they look just as fast.”
(On if he knew Sheldon Brown before he came here) -- “I worked him out when he was coming out of college, so I knew him at that point. That was a while ago. He was a good kid, he was a guy that we thought would be a good player. Outside of playing against him and the exposure you have there, again I wasn’t really looking at him as much, I would see him other tapes when I was breaking down tape. Everything I had heard about him, whether it was through Tom (Heckert) or other guys that had played with him, you hear about guys and everything was really positive. He is an excellent pro.”
(On the wide receiver depth chart and their roles) -- “It’s not a one, two, three, four role. It’s packages, it’s different spots. We have a pretty good idea of who’s going to play. Josh’s (Cribbs) role on it will be an evolving role I think. We got a really good look at him last week. I didn’t even mention the other day the catch he had on fourth down. He’s developing as a wide receiver, which I really like and I felt strongly would happen. He can go in and do that and I feel very good about that, I feel like he can make some plays out there. Brain (Robiskie) is continuing to develop. Mohamed (Massaquoi), you saw some of the things he was doing last year again in the first preseason game. Chansi (Stuckey), you saw some of the things and the ways that he can contribute in this past game as a slot receiver and in some different roles in some of the packages.”
(On if he had any criticism for Robiskie for not laying out for a ball thrown to him in the end zone) -- “I’ve never looked at Brian Robiskie and thought that he’s a guy that doesn’t do everything he can to catch footballs. I don’t question that decision by him.”
(On Sheldon Brown’s run support and tackling skills) -- “He’s a sure tackler, he’s aggressive as a run support player and that’s critical. Sometimes you look at a defense and you find a corner that won’t tackle and you run at him. You make sure that he’s got to be the one to make a decision as to whether or not he wants to tackle. Sheldon has been consistent in that area and that’s a real positive outside of the other things that he has done. I thought Eric Wright really showed tremendous strides in his run support and tackling this weekend too. I was really happy with that.”
(On if defensive back run support improvements can be contagious) -- “I don’t know if it’s a function of that so much Tony (Grossi) as we work on it, we talk about it, we drill it. The things that I like that Eric did is he took really good angles, he read the run/pass very quickly and some of that too is recognition. He was playing the slot for some of those plays, which is a totally new position for him. With DBs, the three things you look for are can they play man-to-man, can they play in the deep pat of the field and can they tackle. If any one of those three is deficient, then they’re not necessarily the complete player.”
(On what he’s learned about Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita) -- “I think some of the things, Jeff (Schudel), have really just been reinforced. How bright they were, the type of people that they were, their reputation was coming in and what we had heard in talking to people. Those things have been confirmed. I think as you talk to them, there’s a lot of things that this defense provides for them as smart players who really take advantage of tendencies and the tools that are available. I think those are things that they’ve liked and they’ve embraced. They’ve got position flexibility. They can play in regular sub, they can play inside and outside. I wouldn’t say it’s learning about them as much as confirming a lot of the things that we had heard.”
(On if he is comfortable with Eric Barton starting coming off an injury) -- “I’ve known Eric a long time. He has played a lot of games for me and he has played a lot of games in the league. I think what’s been really good is he’s had a lot of work to see where he is coming off the injury. That’s a tough time for a player when you just get back in there and you’re testing whether it’s a leg or arm or whatever it is and you go through that process of figuring out, ‘Alright, this is okay.’ I think he’s through that. He’s another guy that is extremely bright, has excellent control of the defense, has a very good understanding of how they are going to attack us. He’s played both MIKE and WILL, so I’m very comfortable with Eric.”
(On the pass rush in the first two preseason games without Rogers) -- “We don’t really look at pass rush as a function of one guy, we look at pass rush as a function of good defense. Last year it was 16 different guys who had sacks, that to me is the way it’s going to set up because based on their protection, based on the things that they’re doing, there are ways to beat it. In order to beat those things, each person has to hit the right assignment and has to do their assignment correctly. When you do that, that’s when you can generate pass rush in a lot of different ways. You always want to have guys that can just generate sacks on their own, that’s great, but a lot of the sacks come by good coverage and coordinated defense.”
(On the assumption that running backs can come in and play well after being out for a while) -- “I’ve never looked at it that way, but I think there is a decent element of instincts. The thing with Montario that I’m really comfortable with is he knew the system pretty well in OTAs. He’s been studying it just as hard, even though he hasn’t been on the field, he’s been just as diligent here during training camp. Look, he’s a rookie, but the early impression is that he is not going to need a ton of reps in order to be effective in completing his assignments just based on my exposure to him and how he’s worked. I hadn’t looked at the position that way where you just throw a guy in and let the instincts take over, but there’s obviously a huge component to that at the running back spot.”
(On Joe Haden making progress in his coverage skills) -- “He’s making strides and it’s good that he’s getting to play as much as he’s playing because there are a ton of things to learn out there. There are some things that we are going to continue to work on and stress with him, which will help his improvement, which will create some jumps in his improvement. He seemed more comfortable out there operating with the group, but we have got some areas that we are going to focus in on with him that I think can really help him.”
(On if Mohamed Massaquoi will practice today) -- “Yes. Mohamed should be out there, Tony (Pashos) should be out there, D-Bo (David Bowens) should be out there.”
(On if Montario Hardesty will practice today) -- “No, not yet.”
(On if he tells players such as Robiskie to be cautious in throwing around their bodies in the preseason) -- “No. The receivers have been playing pretty hard and they have been diving for balls. Brian consistently does that. I think he thought he couldn’t get it. Brian is one of the last kids I would look at and say, ‘You’re not trying everything to be successful.’ That’s just not how he’s wired.”
(On if he was apprehensive playing Joe Haden most of the game last Saturday) -- “No. He needs as much work as he can get. No apprehension at all. He’s got a lot to learn. There’s a lot of responsibility out of there, one mistake where he is usually is a touchdown. The more exposure that he can have and the more experience he can get, hopefully we limit the amount of experience errors that occur later on.”
(On if Lauvao might have to leave again) -- “I’m not sure. He may have to leave again at some point.”
(On what Stuckey brings to the team) -- “He is very bright, he can play any of the positions. In the slot, he has very good short-area quickness and a very good feel for getting open versus man and zone coverage. I think he has got excellent hands and like a lot of players that play in the slot, he can create some problems based on his ability to separate from a defender.”