Browns coach Eric Mangini met with reporters Monday afternoon. Here is a transcript from the press conference:
Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 9-13-10
(Opening statement) -- “Good afternoon everybody. I was talking to the players today. One of the things that I talked about and we consistently talk about is in any game that we play, whether it’s this one or any one moving forward, it’s got to start with the things that we can control. That’s handling the self-inflicted wounds, that’s making sure that we don’t give our opponent plays. There are going to be plays that are made during the course of the game, but it’s not a function of us giving them those opportunities by turning the ball over or penalties, things along those lines. It’s got to start there. I thought there were a lot of good things offensively, especially in the first half. I felt like that’s the way that we should play. That’s the type of performance that I expect. Then we get into the two minute drive after the turnover and we’ve got a really good opportunity to continue that drive and move down the field. The interception, to me, was a combination of not holding up well enough in the protection, not being where we needed to be from the route perspective and then not making a good enough decision with the ball in your hand. That changed a lot of things that was a big swing. I really thought that Peyton Hillis did a nice job on that play of chasing it down and giving us a chance to play defense and we almost picked off the first play there that they threw after that. Within that negative play, I thought the one real positive was the chance to go and play defense after that.
“In the second half, I felt like we did a pretty good job on the first drive. I didn’t like the penalties we had there and some of those situations where we were backed up, but Evan Moore made some really nice plays there to allow us to get down to the 15. Then we ran it down to the 12 and had another turnover, which is at least three points, maybe more. I don’t think we ran the ball as effectively as we should have in the second half, especially after how we had run the ball in the first half. We didn’t do a good enough job of getting out of the backed-up situations. Any time you put the ball on the ground as many times as we did offensively, it’s going to be hard. With turnovers, it’s going to be hard.
“Defensively, I was pleased with some of the pressure we were able to get on the quarterback, having three sacks. I was pleased with the turnover, to create the opportunity at the end of the first half and the turnover there at the end of the game. I thought overall, we did a good job in the running game. I know the statistics are a little bit higher, but that was due to the quarterback scramble, which was a point of emphasis. I know I talked about it with you guys, having to keep him in the pocket. I think the other thing that we needed to do better defensively, especially in the second half, were those third-and-long conversions that they were able to get. But I was proud of the way at the end of the game the defense played and toughed it out in those two series there, one to force a turnover and the second time to give us another chance to get the ball back.
“In terms of special teams, that’s probably one of the best groups that we play throughout the course of the season. I felt our coverage was pretty good, both kickoff and punt return. (There are) a few things we can clean up on kickoff coverage. I thought our return game was not where it needed to be. In terms of punt return, we put it on the ground once, we didn’t field the plus-50 punt, had a punt partially blocked by a guy who we identified as being their core guy in terms of that type of thing. On kickoff return, we had some opportunities and we are just not where we needed to be in kickoff return. Field goal/field goal block, I thought we were a little soft on field goal and on field goal block, we didn’t get enough pressure.
Those are the things we identified when coaches were going through the tape. The goal now is to look at those things, get those things corrected. I asked the guys to go through and make some notes on what they want to improve on individually this week and then put a plan in place to do that and understand that any weaknesses we showed this week are going to come back next week. That’s the way it works is if you see a weakness, every team sees whether or not it’s fixed. We need to fix those things and move on to Kansas City.”
(On if Jake Delhomme should have taken the sack instead of trying to throw it away on his first interception) -- “Yes and really that was one component of it. He should have done a better job there of either throwing it away or eating it. Ideally, throwing it away because of the field position that we had with two timeouts left. Throw it away, move on to the next down. That was one part of it. I don’t think we were firm enough in the protection and he shouldn’t have been pressured the way he was. That wasn’t a function of a blitz or a game or anything like that, that was a function of us holding up. Then there was a huge void in the middle of the field where we should have had somebody and that’s what Jake was looking for and it wasn’t there, so we ended up with two receivers close to each other as opposed to the proper spacing. That’s how it’s going to work with a lot of interceptions. Jake should have made a better decision, he knows it and I’ll expect that in the future, but there were other components there that contributed to that play just as much as that decision.”
(On how the right side of the offensive line played) -- “I thought Floyd (Womack) actually played really well. I thought John (St. Clair) for the most part played well also. I’d say it’s fluid in the sense that I have a lot of faith in Tony (Pashos) and Shawn (Lauvao). But I thought, especially for Floyd coming back and this being his first game back, he did a good job.”
(On it looking like Jake was limping during the game yesterday) -- “His ankle got a little twisted up, but he felt good enough to continue on and I felt good enough with him continuing on at that point. Yes, it did on one of those, it wasn’t really scrambling, he was stepping up in the pocket.”
(On if twisting his ankle affected any of his throws, particularly the second interception) -- “I didn’t talk to him about that yet, so I don’t think so. But I actually haven’t spoken to him about that play yet.”
(On if there was some late pressure on that second interception) -- “I think he wasn’t able to step into the pocket as much as he would have probably normally. There was a little bit of push there and that could have contributed to it as well.”
(On what happened on an incomplete pass to Mohamed Massaquoi in the end zone) -- “That should have adjusted to a middle read based on the defense being open, a split safety defense.”
(On if Jake threw it to the right spot on that incompletion) -- “Yes, I think he was trying to adjust based off of where Mohamed was.”
(On if Mohamed should have cut to the middle) -- “It should have bent more inside, based on the initial read. Mohamed saw it one way and really was opened instead of closed and that’s where it got jammed up.”
(On if Jake twisted his ankle) -- “Yes.”
(On if he could have put Seneca Wallace in for Jake) -- “You know, we have packages for Seneca. That’s not something we are the least bit uncomfortable with doing. I just thought at that point, Jake gave us the best chance to get out of the backed-up situation. That was unfortunate, the field position late. It seemed like that whole fourth quarter, we were backed-up.”
(On not calling a timeout with a minute left in the game before an illegal procedure penalty) -- “Well we had the play called, so we had two plays called including the fourth down play that we were going with. We have done that plenty of times and having the three timeouts left, at least you have got a chance to stop the clock like we did. (We were) trying to keep going at that point. I don’t think that really should have happened, I don’t anticipate it happening again, but that was the thought process in keeping the three timeouts there.”
(On the differences in the running game between the first and second halves and if Tampa Bay made any adjustments) -- “Yes. With the success that we had in the first half, they brought more guys up, there were more line stunts, there were more things that they were doing to shut that down, which makes you naturally work to pass the ball more because there are so many more guys in the box. That was one of the biggest differences.”
(On how he keeps the team from developing a ‘here we go again’ mentality) -- “You know Jeff (Schudel) this isn’t that type of group. There’s nobody in there that I even have a sense feels that way and a lot of guys are new. A lot of guys don’t know what ‘here we go again’ means because they weren’t part of that in the past. As you look at the tape and even after the game, everybody understood what happened and what needs to be fixed in order to prevent it from happening again. We are talking about game-specific, not any bigger picture type thing. There are a lot of guys in there that are veteran guys, that are mature, that understand how to fix problems. I don’t think there’s anybody that feels that way, top to bottom.”
(On what kind of production he wants from his receivers, specifically Brian Robiskie) -- “Brian had two sideline plays that were nice catches, he just couldn’t drag his feet in. The one late in the game, I think there was another one too on the seven cut off the boot action, another one that was close. I think that’s going to come. The production I want is when they get thrown the ball, they take advantage of those opportunities. That’s really what I’m looking for as opposed to saying, ‘He’s got to get this number and he’s got to get this number.’ You get a guy like Evan Moore who got some opportunities and really took advantage of the opportunities. That’s more what I’m looking for is when your number is called, you’re able to get open and catch the ball as opposed to a quota.”
(On if Eric Barton had an opportunity to advance the fumble he recovered) -- “Yes, he slipped. As he was coming forward, he slipped and fell onto the ball and then (Jason) Trusnik saw him laying on the ball and he tried to cover him up. I think if he had been able to maintain his footing at that point, he probably would have done that. It looked to me like as he was going forward, that’s when he slipped and kind of fell on top of it and then Jason was trying to protect him. It’s hard when you are over on that right side and the ball is rolling around to know what everybody else is doing. I imagine he probably would have picked it up if he had been able to maintain his footing at that point.”
(On if it was frustrating to get a penalty on kickoff return before a late fourth quarter possession) -- “All of the penalties frustrate me. Penalties on kickoff return frustrate me, penalties on coverage frustrate me because we don’t practice those things. We spend a lot of time working on those things and they’re under our control. To me, that’s the first step. Taking care of things like that is the first step, penalties, the football, the things that we can control and not get into a situation where you’re losing the game before you go in the game. A lot of time in the NFL, games are lost more often than they are won. To me, those are things that we are going to do well and we are going to do consistently well. As you do it better and better, the results are better and better. We saw that last year. Protect the football better, limit the penalties, win games.”
(On how confident he is that Jake will bounce back) -- “Because he’s smart, he cares, he understands where the mistakes were and I can tell you, with those interceptions, I know it always goes back to the quarterback, but it’s a group effort. It’s a group effort being able to protect, being able to run the right routes and then making good decisions when you have the ball in your hand. That’s true for anybody who carries the football on the team. You carry all of us when you carry the football, so you need to protect that first and then do whatever else is involved in the play.”
(On what if Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita collided on the winning touchdown) -- “No, Chris was running the gain. He was coming around inside, Brian (Schaefering) should have been tighter in the B gap and then we were bringing the safety off the edge. He was outside the back and Scott was wrapping around inside the back, so the edge should have been shorter than it was. In terms of the coverage, Joe (Haden) was close and there are a few technique things that we talked about today that’s the difference between six inches. That’s how blitzes work, that’s how coverage works. You’ve got to be exactly right and in one situation you have a sack, in one situation you have a big play. He’ll get that fixed as well.”
(On the blitz on that play was the right call) -- “I think it would have been close, I think it would have been really close. I think worst case scenario, the ball would have been disrupted. Maybe it altered the throw where it’s higher or something along those lines.”
(On running three straight times with Jerome Harrison early in the fourth quarter) -- “We had had some success with those ‘22’ plays earlier in the game. We felt good about them, it’s a package that (we were) really comfortable with from a running perspective. We felt that was a good way to get it out of there and establish some momentum. I thought they made a really nice play on the second play, I think it was Geno Hayes and I forget which end it was. They made a nice play there that kind of blew it up.”
(On if Jake will get his ankle checked out) -- “Yes, we will get him tested and looked at and then we will figure out where we are at Wednesday. The day after the game is a little tough because everybody is pretty sore. It’s usually tomorrow where you get a better idea of where you are at.”
(On if Jake should have come to him and told him about his ankle during the game) -- “We talked about that, Brian (Daboll) and he did. There was communication on that. As you’re going, you’re constantly going through that. Same thing with the trainer, he will update me on any injuries that happen through the course of the game.”
(On if thirteen fumbles through the preseason and the first game is a lot) -- “Yes, one fumble for me in five games is a lot Jeff. There’s a certain way that you have to carry the ball. It’s way too many and it’s something that we work on. We are constantly having the defense pressure the football. You are trying to simulate that as much as you can. What you can’t simulate are the collisions, the helmet-on-the-ball type of collisions where you’re going down when a guy is getting tackled. Those type of hits going in, there’s really no way to do that during the week. What you can work on through the course of the week are the five points of pressure, how to keep the ball as tight to your body as you can. That’s the starting point, it’s way too many.”