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What's Browns coach Eric Mangini saying?

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 13, 2010

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

Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 10-13-10

(Opening statement) -- “Good morning everybody.  A couple guys will miss today, a little more than a couple, both quarterbacks so Jake (Delhomme) and Seneca (Wallace), Alex Mack, Peyton Hillis, John St. Clair, Shaun Rogers, Kenyon Coleman, Robaire Smith, Nick Sorensen and I think that’s it.  Those guys will miss and I anticipate the bulk of them being back through the course of the week and playing on Sunday.  In terms of the Steelers, we obviously have our work cut out for us.  Just in looking at them in any of the three phases if you look at their defense is number one in the league in rushing defense which they’ve been consistently good in rushing defense.  It’s been a pretty consistent group in terms of personnel, in terms of scheme, and the things they are able to do.  Similar to Baltimore, all their players are good against the run and can do some different things in the passing game in terms of rushing the passer. They’ve got some outstanding pass rushers whether its James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, James Farrior, (Troy) Polamalu when he comes, so they’ve got the good rush and they can generate pass rush with three or four and then they variation of the blitzes and some of the exotics so there’s some similarities there between what we’re facing this weekend and what we faced against Baltimore.  Offensively, they’ve run the ball well. They’ve been committed to running the football.  I think Rashard Mendenhall continues to improve and then what they do is they complement that with the big plays.  There are the big plays that are designed shots down the field and then there are plays where they generate off of extended plays and they’ve done that over the years.  All the different years that I have played against them they’ve been able to do that which makes them particularly dangerous.  They’ve got a lot of different weapons. Mike Wallace has done a nice job as a vertical receiver, Hines Ward always finds a way to get open, Heath Miller and the things that he can do in the passing game. You add Antwaan Randle El, he had a touchdown pass here recently and Antonio Brown who is working as a kick returner some as a punt returner. He’s got outstanding speed.  They’ve got a good group of skilled players there and they can run, they can run it and then hit you vertically down the field.  On special teams I think they’ve made a lot of improvements from last year. Their coverage team has improved, I think Antonio Brown has added spark to their return game and Antwaan Randle El works some in the punt return package and he’s done a nice job. It will be loud it Pittsburgh. We’ve got the music, we will be all set for that.”

(On who he anticipated being back this week) -- “There are a lot of guys on that list, I’d say most of the guys I’m optimistic on.  With Jake and Seneca, we’ll have to see at the end of the week.”

(On if Delhomme and Wallace will be back this week) -- “Just got to see at the end of the week really.  I think that’s really where it is, just got to see.”

(On if Brett Ratliff will need to be re-programmed on the Browns offense) -- “He’s very bright and he’s been in the system for a long time so there’s a lot of recall.  Now since he left he went to Jacksonville so he learned some of their stuff and then he was in New England for a little bit and there’s some carry over from that.  I don’t think the jump back into it is going to be very tough.  As soon as he signed he was in a meeting and getting caught up on some of the new things that we were doing.”

(On if Colt McCoy is going to start on Sunday) -- “That’s the way I’m leaning if Jake and Seneca aren’t available but I also want to see how things progress this week.  I have confidence in Colt and I have confidence in Brett but I want to take a look at the practice too, but he’ll get a majority of the reps.”

(On how they can beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh with a rookie quarterback making his NFL debut) -- “To beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh regardless of who’s the quarterback you better play smart, you better play tough and you better be consistent through four quarters because they’re going to be consistent through four quarters and they’re going to be tough and it’s going to be loud.  There are no trick plays, there’s no microwave answer to beating these guys. This is a solid football team in all three phases that are tough and are tough at home.  You better be ready to meet that intensity and meet it head on and if you aren’t then you’ve got problems.”

(On if Mike Holmgren and Gil Haskell will be more active with preparing two quarterbacks who have not played in an NFL game) -- “They’ve been a resource since day one so I don’t view it as any more or any less.  They’ve been great resources throughout our time together which has been a real plus for me and for us so I don’t see that changing.  Kellen (Clemens) made his first start against Baltimore at Baltimore and struggled a little bit early but got us to a point to where we could have won the game late in the fourth quarter.  Colt’s played a lot of football games and he’s won a lot of football games, just hasn’t done it here.  Brett’s a guy I have a lot of confidence in that I’ve seen for a long time and if he gets a chance I feel like he’ll be successful as well.”

(On Ben Roethlisberger coming back) -- “With Ben coming back, I anticipate that he’s going to play at a high level, he always plays at a high level.  He played at a high level as a rookie and really hasn’t stopped since.  He had another week to get back in the flow of things, he’s a really good player and he can do a lot of things.  We’ve had a lot of experience over multiple weeks now with really good players at the quarterback position so here’s another one.  He’s talented, he’s got a ton of experience and reps in the system, I anticipate he’ll come back and be sharp.”

(On why he wouldn’t start Ratliff over McCoy since he’s been in his system longer) -- “As I said Tony (Grossi), I’m not ruling that out. Brett does have those built up reps but Colt has been with us throughout the whole season and he’s gotten quite a few reps with the ones and with the offense in general.  I think both are facing some challenges of lack of game experience and both have some advantages whether it be Ratty’s built up reps over time or Colt’s sort of concentrated reps over the last month and a half or whatever it’s been.”

(On if facing Pittsburgh’s blitzing defense is the toughest test for a rookie quarterback) -- “I think when you’re doing it for the first time there’s a lot of things that you have to process.  We faced quite a few blitzes last week, Baltimore brings a range of pressure, Cincinnati does, each week you’re going to face combinations of things and it’s tough.  I said Kellen (Clemens) made his first start in Baltimore and I thought he played pretty well.  Everybody’s got to get their feet wet at some point.”

(On if this is a good chance to see if McCoy is the quarterback of the future) -- “I don’t think we’re going to make a decision off of a few weeks.  I don’t think it’s really going to be based off of that sort of window. It’s going to be probably more of an overview look at what he’s done and what he can do.  This is definitely some added information you’re getting.  You get a chance to look at him in games which is a plus but it’s hard to say.”

(On if this is why you never say never) -- “I never say never.  You just don’t know what’s going to happen.  I know the year before I got to New York they lost two starting quarterbacks the first game within six plays.  It just happens sometimes, you just don’t know.  It’s the same thing with anybody on the roster.  Guys may think I’m not playing this week and suddenly they’re playing that week and if they have done the right things up to that point they go in, they excel, they show that they belong and they really make a case for themselves. Then guys that maybe have taken a little time off mentally or physically when they had the chance to prepare without getting into the games, they usually go in and it’s not very good.  They end up regretting that, so you are constantly trying to remind those backend of the roster guys or practice squad guys you just don’t know. Marcus Benard, there’s a ton of them.”

(On if Delhomme or Wallace are walking any better today) -- “I think each day they walk a little bit better. They’re moonwalking in the meeting, electric slide, we got it all (joking).”

(On if the players who were on the team last year for the win against Pittsburgh can help others prepare for the game Sunday) -- “Yes, I definitely think that that helps, Tony (Grossi).  There’s a way that you have to play each game and a style you have to play each game and I’m constantly trying to articulate that and to stress that and to really get guys to understand that.  It is so game plan specific with the way that we approach things you really have to get used to that type of thinking.  When you come in on Wednesday it is, ‘Okay what do we have to do to beat this opponent, this week.’  I think that was a little bit of what happened last year too is when we really understood that as a group and really started playing that way, things got better.  We improved offensively, we improved defensively there was a jump and what I’m always looking for and what I think we’ve been able to do is as you share an experience as a group one year those guys now become teachers and advocates and mentors to new people in terms of this is how we have to play the game, this is the approach.  It does take some time to adjust wherever I’ve been as we brought in free agents from other systems or rookies or whoever it is there’s a little bit of come in on Wednesday and you got a bunch of different things that you’re doing and things that you’re stopping, as oppose to this is our defense we’re going to run our defense it doesn’t matter who’s playing on the other side.  It philosophically varies from other teams.”

(On if they have to scale things down for McCoy) -- “I don’t see it as scaling back as much as catering.  When Jake was in he has his plan, when Seneca’s in he has his plan.  Each time that we go to a game there’s call sheets that are specific to the quarterback so it’s not just one general call sheet, it’s here’s Seneca call sheet, here’s Jake’s call sheet, here’s Colt’s call sheet. If one guy goes down you switch it out you got the other one.  You’ve worked with that player to make sure you’re calling things that they’re the most comfortable with and that they have the best chance to be successful with, because there are differences with each guy.”

(On how McCoy finished training camp strongly) -- “That was positive. He had that one game I think he was 13 for 13 or whatever it was and that’s always good to see.  The jumps may not be dramatic but you want to see some strides.  You got a chance to really get to jump this week.”

(On the kind of vibe he is getting from McCoy and if he was in on his day off) -- “All those guys are usually here on their off day.  The quarterbacks, they tend to live in the building anyways.  In terms of a vibe, we haven’t been vibing lately but I’ll be more vibe conscious today (joking).”

(On if Shaun Rogers is going to be able to practice a full week this season) -- “I think it’s definitely a possibility for him to continue to play more.  I think one of the real positives is (Ahtyba) Rubin is playing really well.  Because we have been limited with the amount of practice time that Shaun has been able to have and not being there in camp the ability to play at nose, play at end and build those reps in hasn’t been as available to us so that type of flexibility has been a little bit tougher to come by.  As we build weeks we can build that in and he could be playing more this week, next week however it pans out.”

(On if Peyton Hillis will practice this week) -- “Yes, I expect him to practice maybe tomorrow or I don’t know one of those days but he’ll play.”

(On if his game plan is different than last year because Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu are playing this year) -- “I think there are some similarities and there are some differences.  You have to factor those two guys in obviously but there are some core concepts that we like that apply. There are some things that maybe don’t look as good because the two guys are there so it’s a balancing act.  There’s been some changes offensively too with personnel that they have and some additions and subtractions so you have an approach and then within the approach you look at how the new people fit in, the things that they’ve done differently and you try to incorporate those in.  Conceptually, there is a lot of carry over.”

(On how involved a head coach should get with their players in managing where the players’ heads are) -- “My approach is that whether it’s a guy who has a lot of fame or the eighth guy on the practice squad, I’m going to try and help them to be as successful both professionally and personally.  That’s something that I feel is a responsibility and we try to do a lot of things organizational to help them, to help guys be successful personally.  I am available to anybody who needs help personally and you’re trying to help them grow, you’re trying to help them grow as players, you’re trying to help them grow as people.  To me it’s not about just helping the most successful player on the team.  This is a team of guys that are here as Cleveland Browns and all of them deserve the same commitment organizationally and personally to help them be successful.”

(On how rusty he expects Roethlisberger to be) -- “I expect him to be really good.  He’s really good.  He’s had some time off and he’s had a bye week to come back and he’s a good player.  He was a good player as a rookie, he’s a good player now and I’m sure he’s chomping at the bit.”

(On if he was worried about Delhomme being rusty after missing three games) -- “No, what we’re trying to do is give him as much time as we could that’s why he went from three to a two.  He had to play and I thought there were times where he moved the ball really well.  Here’s another guy who has a wealth of experience, who’s a pro, who’s consistent.”

(On if he has been contacted by the NFL on the Brett Favre situation) -- “No.”

(On if preparing McCoy this week for Pittsburgh has been his biggest challenge so far with the Browns) -- “To me I view this as an exciting time.  We get to go to Pittsburgh, to play Pittsburgh, a divisional game, a tough opponent.  There’s going to be injuries throughout the course of the season, but to me you don’t beat the Steelers with one player you beat the Steelers with a team and a team that plays well together through four quarters.  The challenge as a head coach is to get the team to play the right way and whether you’re a quarterback that has to step up or a safety that has to step up, or whoever it is that’s what you’re here for.  You’re on this team because we believe in your ability to be successful.  You may not know when you’re going to go in and we may not know when you’re going to go in, but when you get that shot to go in we expect you to perform at a high level.  We have confidence in you and that’s why you’re here.  The challenge to me is our team against their team not a player against their team.”

(On what McCoy has improved on) -- “I think it’s the general operation because he is a lot more comfortable calling the plays, understanding the plays, understanding the reads, the cadences, the personnel that he’s working with.  All that stuff was brand new. Now, that was brand new to the other quarterbacks as well but they had some things to draw on as how to manage that newness and with him he didn’t really had that background.  I think that’s improved.  With any rookie as the weeks go on there’s more of a sense of belonging and more of an understanding of what it takes to prepare week in and week out.  Some of that comes from experience and some of that comes from being around guys that have done it and finding good mentors.  Jake and Seneca are good mentors and he’s gotten more and more experience with pro football.  Maybe it’s not been in games but being a part of this.  It’s the same thing for T.J. (Ward), Joe (Haden) and Shawn (Lauvao) you just start realizing this is football, this is what I’ve been doing, it’s a little bit of a different format it’s a little bit set of different challenges but I’ve been doing this for a long time and I belong here.  Sometimes when you get over that hump then you take off.”


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