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What's Browns coach Eric Mangini saying?

By Nate Ulrich Published: September 30, 2010

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

Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 9-30-10

(Opening statement) -- “Good morning everybody. How are we doing? With us, Jake (Delhomme) will be back today for part of practice, which is good.  The same of d-linemen that were out, will be out.  I think Derrick Roberson will be out again, the DB.  Other than that (Jason) Trusnik may be back today. He had to go throw one more test and he hadn’t done that by the time I came down here so we’ll see where that is. If not he’ll be back tomorrow.  I expect all of the defensive linemen to be back tomorrow as well, actually that whole group, (John) St. Clair not sure if he’ll be back tomorrow or not.  What we’re doing today is we’re working on third down so it’s our standard progression.  Typically, you clean up so you have review, do third down work.  I thought we did a good job against them on third down last year at different points.  Carson’s (Palmer) very good in that situation because he can hurt you a couple different ways, he can hurt you, obviously, throwing the ball, but then he can make some things happen with his feet. We unfortunately saw that on fourth down last year.  They do some creative stuff on third down as well that we’ve got to get ready for.  I think Jordan Shipley has helped them with their third down package, he does a nice job of getting open, he’s got really good hands.  That’s what we’re focusing on.”

(On Jake Delhomme’s workout yesterday and how he looked) -- “I wasn’t there for it, Tony (Grossi).  That was our plan this week to bring him back on Thursday based on where he was with the rehab.  I didn’t go through it bullet by bullet with Joe (Sheehan) as to what he did. It was more the timeline of, ‘Okay, we’re going to hold him on Wednesday and see where he is on Thursday.’ Sorry I’m not giving you better info there.”

(On if Delhomme will start if things go well) -- “We’ve just got to see but he’s our starting quarterback so when he’s ready to start, he’ll start.”

(On how the reps will be split between the quarterbacks in practice today) -- “He’s limited today so it’s going to vary a little bit by period.  Some of the stuff that Seneca (Wallace) had yesterday we may give to Jake and then there may be some plays we may want Jake to have.  It’s not he’s getting just these plays, it’s a little bit targeted to make sure each guy is getting what they need so they’re both ready. As opposed to just saying, ‘Okay the first X amount of plays give to Seneca and then the next plays go to Jake.’”

(On the Bengals’ passing attack) -- “There are a lot of options there.  There are a lot of options in terms of who they can throw to. I like Reggie Kelly and with him and (Jermaine) Gresham they’ve got two real good options at tight end.  With Cedric (Benson) and Bernard Scott, both those guys can get involved in the passing game to some degree.  Bernard Scott is a really elusive guy in the open field being a kick returner and things like that.  The receiving core, you’ve got good options there too, whether it’s Chad (Ochocinco), Terrell (Owens), or Jordan (Shipley) and (Andre) Caldwell has done some nice things over the course of time that he’s been there. He works in a little bit.  There’s quite a few options that he has and I think as they all get more comfortable playing together, I figure Gresham’s a rookie he’s feeling his way through getting. He gets a little better each game. Shipley is a rookie he gets a little bit better each game. Terrell is new even though he’s been there throughout the offseason and training camp, it’s still new and you go through a process with the quarterback and receiver of figuring out the routes and how he’s going to run it and where the best place to throw it is.  A lot of options, a lot of them are new, there’s a feeling out process, really good quarterback, they do a nice job protecting. I would imagine each week it should improve and they can run the ball and that always helps.”

(On how different the passing game would have been in Baltimore if Jake Delhomme played because he is less mobile) -- “I don’t know, some of those weren’t designed rollouts for Seneca. They were a function of where the pressure was coming.  Jake can move around in the pocket, it may look different, but sometimes with a quarterback mobile guys tend to extend their movement where guys that are more pocket passers will slide into the pocket to avoid pressure.  They’re both moving, it’s just the pattern of movement is different. That’s always important when you’re playing a team that has two different quarterbacks like that, to understand their scramble pattern based on pressure.  It’s different for the defensive linemen. They have to expect them in different spots.  I don’t know how different it would have looked, it would have been a function of him sliding up or sliding over where Seneca moves a little bit further.”

(On if Wallace plays well against Cincinnati, would it change his mind on the starting quarterback) -- “I have confidence in both guys and my expectation is that Seneca, should he play, will do a really good job like he has done a good job.  If Jake (Delhomme) plays, he’ll do a really good job, but Jake is the starting quarterback and when he’s healthy he’ll start again.  I’m really happy with the way that Seneca has performed and I had a lot of confidence when he was going to have that opportunity and he hasn’t disappointed.  But I also have a lot of confidence in Jake and when he’s ready, he’s going to start and play.”

(On why Delhomme would be the starting quarterback if Wallace does well) -- “We went through a lot of this and it’s tough to answer hypothetical questions on if this guy does great in this situation what will you do.  I can’t predict the future so you make those decisions when you make those decisions but based on the body of work that we have Jake, I feel like, gives us the best chance to win, not taking anything away from Seneca at all.  Based on what we watched and evaluated, that is the decision that that we made.  Jake got hurt, it wasn’t performance based and my expectation is that he’ll go in and play at a high level when he has a chance to do that.  In terms of hypothetical’s about if this happens or if that happens, I can’t answer those questions because they haven’t happened.  You have to look at it in that context when it does happen, if it does happen and then make that decision.”

(On what Delhomme does better than Wallace) -- “It’s not simply comparing them.  Jake does a lot of things really well. Seneca does a lot of things really well.  In looking at what they both do well, I felt that Jake should be the starter.  Jake has a great command of the offense. He has a great presence.  I think he gets us into good plays, he gets us out of plays that aren’t very good, he’s got a lot of experience but that’s not a comparative to Seneca, it’s things that he does well.”

(On John St. Clair’s status for tomorrow and if Tony Pashos would start) -- “I’m not sure what exactly his status will be tomorrow. I think he’s gotten better throughout the course of the week, as typically happens with guys so we’ll play that one by ear. I thought Tony did a really nice job when he went in but that didn’t surprise me.  Tony has done a nice job throughout the time that he’s been here.  At that point, we’ll just look at it in terms of how functional is John, could he play, what role could he play if he wasn’t the starter, could he be a back up, is it even worth doing that or do you go with someone who is healthier at that point?  All those different things come into play but in terms of tomorrow I’m not 100 percent sure I’m hoping he can make a jump here, but we’ll just have to see.”

(On how Shawn Lauvao looked on his first day back) -- “He looked pretty good, it was fairly limited because it was his first time back, but in the limited snaps that he had, he did a good job on his assignments and technique.  Now, there’s been a big break here since he’s played last so he’s got to get back into a rhythm.  I think today he’ll get some more reps so we take the next step and get a better feel for where he is overall after today and tomorrow.  Yesterday, being the first time back it’s with the understanding that there’s going to be some feeling his way back into it.”

(On if Lawrence Vickers is practicing today) -- “Yes, he will practice today.”

(On if Seneca Wallace is uncomfortable throwing to the left side of the field) -- “No, I don’t see that as being any kind of consistent pattern.  I remember the touchdown he had to (Brian) Robiskie in the preseason where he rolled out, he was throwing to his left on the run, pretty accurate.  I don’t see really any dramatic difference in his accuracy rate one side or the other side.  I don’t know what the numbers are in terms of amounts of throws right or left, but nothing that jumps off the page where you’d look at it and say, ‘Okay, we’ve eliminated the left side of the offense.’  It’s not really the case.”

(On how hard it is to balance the quarterback position) -- “It’s good when you have two that you can talk about.  I think that’s always a good thing that you have a comfort level with the second guy that goes in and if he goes in he plays really well.  I think that’s a great situation to be in.  I’ve been in situations both as head coach and assistant where the two goes in and it’s not quite what you hoped it would be but it’s much better to be in that situation than the other situation.  You look at it, you balance it out, you take all new information in and at that point you make a decision.  You never rule anything out but typically when the starter’s ready, he goes back in and there’s a reason for it.”

(On if Jerome Harrison will split carries with Peyton Hillis) -- “There will be packages for both guys and I feel comfortable with both guys.  In terms of numbers one guy will get or the other guy will get, that will be dictated some by what’s working, what their plan is.  I’m really happy with what Peyton did last week, really what he’s done throughout the course of the season so he’ll definitely get his opportunities.  Obviously, Jerome has done some really good things as well and he’ll get some opportunities then we’ll just gauge it as to what’s working, who’s being the most affective, then that may shift numbers one way or the other.”

(On what his definition of what Jerome Harrison’s role is) -- “His role is to go in and to carry the ball when he’s asked to carry the ball and do it affectively, and protect the football.  I’d say with any player that has any questions, my office hasn’t changed, it’s right there. I’m here every day, I can clarify things quickly.  If there is any uncertainty, it’s pretty easy to clear up.”

(On if Harrison has asked him about his role is) -- “I haven’t talked to him about that.  I’d be happy to talk to any player about their role at any point and I’m here every day.”

(On teams kicking away from Joshua Cribbs) -- “Wouldn’t you? It’s a smart thing to do.  Do you let Cribbs run the kickoffs back or not? Same thing on punts, you can see how many punts are being angled to the sideline. It’s probably what I’d do too.  Why let him ruin the game?”

(On if he has any options left to force opponents to kick to Cribbs) -- “It depends on where the punter places the ball.  If he places it right at the sideline, you can take more chances, but when you take more chances on some of those things and you ask someone to do something that isn’t sound to try to generate a play, you could easily create a fumble or a big hit.  Usually, the coverage is going to the same side that the punt is being angled to, so you have got dramatic numbers over there.  With the kickoffs, if they kick it deep into the end zone or out of the end zone, there’s not much you can do at that point. You could take some of those out.  It’s not real high percentage football, so maybe you might hit one, but the protection has to hold up that much longer, you’re starting nine or 10 yards deeper.  You can take some of those chances and you may hit it, but you may also get blown up on the five or seven yard line.  We look at all of those things.  It depends on how much hang time the kick has.  It could be deep with low hang time, you take those out.  It could be deep with high hang time, you have got a chance to get crushed.”

(On if the chances for a Cribbs punt return increases if the defense keep the team deep in their own territory) -- “Yes, if you can keep them backed up, even if you fair catch it, you have got great field position.  Yes, keeping them backed up is huge.  It’s huge because it usually results in some kind of points one way or the other.  Being able to get out of being backed up is the same thing.  Get one first down and you can change field position.  The punter has got to do a good job if you are in that bind, either from our perspective or their perspective.  You need some help there.  A good kick goes a long way.”

(On how tough it is to win a game when they don’t win or dominate the special teams battle) -- “I don’t really think there’s been a situation where we’ve been at any type of competitive disadvantage.  Our coverage teams against Kansas City were pretty impressive against two really good receivers.  Sometimes in the return game, you’re limited by the opportunities that you have.  Now, what I will say is the opportunities that we have, we have to maximize.  We have to maximize those and I’ve talked to the team a lot about that.  You don’t know how many chance you are going to get, maybe one and maybe three, maybe five.  Whichever number it is, they have to count.  I think the other thing that you get is teams get excited about playing against Josh, just like you get excited about playing against any player of that level.  Everybody on our side has to be that much more ready to take somebody’s best shot.  We have a good plan and we have got good players on special teams.  It’s important to them, they care deeply and it’s a priority.  It’s a priority for me, it’s obviously a priority for Brad (Seely).  Brad is, I think, arguably one of the best special teams coaches in the NFL.”

(On if it is any disadvantage for Delhomme and Wallace playing in the AFC North after having been in the NFC for so long) -- “It depends on what division they were playing.  Over the years, you see different people through the divisions.  You definitely get more comfortable with the teams that you play a lot.  Every year, we play some teams that we only play one time.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a disadvantage Jeff (Schudel). You get a comfort level when you’re playing teams over and over and you really understand their personality, you understand their philosophy, you have some history there.  I was in the AFC East forever.  Between the Jets, the Patriots and the Jets, there were a lot of games in the AFC East that you’ve seen where it’s like, ‘Okay, remember back in ’97?  They did this, this and this.’  The other thing that happens too is as teams change coordinators, that coordinator’s personality gets fused into the new team. Sometimes it’s a little bit about which coordinator you’re playing as opposed to which team.”

(On if he would ever tell his defense to let another team score to try win the game later on) -- “Depending on the situation, yes you would do that.  You talk about it offensively too, if someone lets you score and you don’t want to, doing what Jacksonville did last year where they took a knee.  You have got to have both of those plans in place. In New England against Denver, we took a safety one time when we were backed up because we knew that if we kept going, they would probably get good field position.  It worked out well that time.  Sometimes those things can backfire.”

(On if letting a team score is against his core philosophies) -- “No.  You’re fighting to score in time, so if you give up all of the time, it’s going to be hard to score.  It’s the same thing when I was in New York and we played Cleveland.  We kicked a field goal in order to onside kick it and have some time.  We could have kept going and tried to get the touchdown, but even if we had gotten the touchdown and then onside kicked it.  In getting it back, we wouldn’t have had any time to try to do anything.  You’re sort of looking at it as we need nine points, 10 points or whatever it is.  We need a field goal at some point, go ahead and kick it, onside kick and have the most time to try to get the touchdown.  Some people keep working just to get the touchdown.  That’s great, they get it and you have got 25 seconds to do the next thing.”

(On if Jamal Lewis could have taken a knee instead of scoring to end that game) -- “Yes, it did prolong the game.  I would have liked him to have gone down, not scored, shorten the game and recover the onside kick (joking).”

(On if Wallace should have preserved a timeout last week when there was going to be a delay of game penalty) -- “Yes.  Backed up on the one-yard line?  Yes, you don’t take that timeout because you lose a foot.  Nothing good really comes after one of those timeouts.  I’ve had a third and 20, third and 18, you take a timeout because you want to get in this great play and then you give up a sack.  It’s like, ‘Great job fellas.  We blew a timeout and got sacked.  What were you talking about?  What did you guys say during that timeout?  Throw it away?’  Some of those things, the communication we had already passed that point.  It’s not like we could’ve said, ‘Don’t take a timeout.’  We didn’t really anticipate being in that situation, but he knew it afterwards.  Some of those things, you have just got to be reminded of.  It happens, you just don’t want it to happen again.”

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