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What's Browns coach Eric Mangini saying?

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 18, 2010

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

Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 10-18-10

(Opening statement) -- “Good afternoon everybody.  In looking at tape I was really pleased with the way Colt (McCoy) played.  I thought he did a really nice job.  It’s a tough place to get your first start. It’s loud, they are very good defensively they bring a lot of different looks and then losing the two receivers like we did in the first half that makes it even more challenging.  I thought he responded well, thought he did a nice job with his reads, showed poise in the pocket, so really pleased with him.  Obviously, there are a lot of things we need to work on, but in terms of an initial opportunity, I felt he seized it and that’s what we had talked about during the week.  The way that he was practicing, the way that he was carrying himself he showed a lot of poise and I felt that he played that way.  I think offensively, we did a pretty good job moving the football. We only had the one three and out but we didn’t sustain the drives as well as we needed to and that’s a tough team to sustain drives on.  The two turnovers hurt us and I think we ran the ball effectively in spurts, but would have liked to have more opportunities in the fourth quarter to run the ball, but the score just dictated that we had to go in a different direction at that point.  I think defensively, we need to be more consistent with wrapping up on our tackling opportunities.  There were different times whether it was the one play that we had them backed up and it looked like he was down then he bounced out and picked up 20 plus yards, those things shouldn’t happen and I don’t expect them to happen.  Whether it was Hines Ward’s catch on third down, which really should have been a field goal opportunity instead of a touchdown there, those plays we’ve got to be able to make and we’ve got to be able to make them consistently.  We didn’t really max pressure much this game it was more zone pressures, but we need that all to hit the way it’s supposed to hit.  We were able to get to (Ben) Roethlisberger at different points sometimes a little bit too late, sometimes couldn’t get him down, but you have to be able to get him down when you have those chances and you have to be able to hold up long enough to convert on those pressures that you’re bringing.  On (special) teams, I really want to just take a second to congratulate Phil (Dawson), pretty amazing the record that he just broke.  I would have much rather been talking about this after a victory but I’m sure it’s that much more special for him because it was against Pittsburgh and such an incredible accomplishment.  I thought Reggie (Hodges) did a nice job all day punting giving us chances to have them backed up.  I thought the coverage overall was good.  I think in the return game, losing Josh (Cribbs) was about as difficult as it can get, but we still had some chances and putting the ball on the ground like we did that didn’t help.  Had some chances I thought to block some punts that we were close on but didn’t get to.”

(On if James Harrison got away with a lot during the game) -- “They typically call those plays pretty tight.  I’ve been on all sides of it, whether it was T.J. Ward’s hit against Cincinnati or Eric Smith’s hit against Anquan Boldin where he was suspended for a game or the hits yesterday.  What I want to do is be able to coach it so our guys are doing it the right way and not putting anybody at unnecessary risk.  I don’t want to lose anybody for the same reasons.  It’s really a league matter and I’m sure they’ll address it.”

(On if suspending players for hitting incorrectly is the best consequence) -- “They suspended one when I was in New York with Eric Smith, he got suspended. I’m pretty sure that’s how it went for helmet to helmet on Anquan Boldin.  Whatever they think will be best I support.”

(On if the hits looked worse on film or live) -- “Josh’s (Cribbs) I really couldn’t see from the angle that I had. Mohamed’s (Massaquoi) probably was worse when I was there because it was right in front of me and you could get a sense of it as opposed to tape it gets a little bit more sterilized.  Both guys have concussions, so we have to go through the concussion procedure and see where we are going into next week.  Could be not only the loss of this second half of this game which was a four point game until deep into the third quarter, but it could also carry over into the long week.”

(On if you are allowed to lead with your helmet if it’s a running play) -- “My understanding is you’re not supposed to lead with your helmet and try to avoid any helmet to helmet collisions, but they spend a lot of time with the officials on that and with the players on that.  You really do the best you can from a coaching perspective to coach it but it still is up for interpretation and enforcement by the officials in the league.”

(On if they say anything to the league about reviewing these hits) -- “There’s been a lot of coverage on it so I’m sure they’ll address it, pretty highly covered.  We put in our penalties and things today so I imagine those two plays will be on the list.”

(On if fines have worked as a deterrent against hitting incorrectly) -- “I don’t know how each guy responds and I don’t know what the level of fines have been.  You know what your guys get but you don’t know what it is league wide.  Whatever is decided upon I’ll support.”

(On if they suspended James Harrison if he should be suspended for the next time they play each other) -- “I don’t know how they would do that if it wasn’t a division game and how then there would be consistency among where one got suspended however many weeks later.  They’d have to work all that stuff out but I’d imagine it would be tougher when you have a division verse non-division opponent.”

(On if there is an up-side to turn the team over to Colt McCoy) -- “I like Jake (Delhomme) and I like Seneca (Wallace) a lot and Colt’s played one game and depending on how it goes this week it may be two games.  See how he does in that opportunity that he could have here this coming week, but we really got to see how it progresses and evaluate it from there.  I thought he did a great job with this opportunity and now we’ll see what the consistency is like, see what the development is like and see what it continues to look like.”

(On if Colt McCoy left the pocket early on a few plays) -- “Yes,  there were a couple times where he vacated a little early or sort of the wrong direction the protection was pushed one way and rolled into it the one where (Peyton) Hillis was blocking he kind of rolled back instead of stepping up.  Peyton was bringing the guy past the quarterback so he actually stepped into the pressure but that happens.  That happens with veteran guys too though, they’ll hit the wrong spot or so much coming at you and you got to make those spilt second decisions. He made a couple really nice plays rolling out too, the touchdown pass to Ben (Watson) was one of those plays.  It’s hard to grade them down too much for those things being their first time and there’s so much he has to know and then to know exactly where the blocker’s going to fit on different pressures.  You want him to know all of that stuff but there’s going to be some of those mistakes that happen.”

(On if it troubles him that Mike Tomlin thinks they were clean hits) -- “I really like Mike, I really do and I respect Mike so he’s completely entitled to his opinion.  Every experience that I have had with him as a coach and as a guy has been really positive so I think it’s best to talk to him.”

(On how James Harrison said he wants to hurt but not injury people and if it is an unspoken thing among a lot of players) -- “I think the game is inherently violent and I think you want to be as aggressive as you can and guys are looking to deliver big hits.  I don’t think anybody wants to create traumatic injuries to somebody else I don’t think it’s at that level.  If you have a big hit, you can blow somebody up and it intimidates, it sets a tone so I think that’s pretty common in terms of wanting to deliver as much of a blow as you can.”

(On how T.J. Ward has played in games since his fine) -- “I don’t think he’s really changed much in terms of his approach.  I’m sure he’s more conscious of it, but I don’t think his aggressiveness has faltered or dipped or anything like that.”

(On when not wrapping up to tackle became the popular way to tackle) -- “That, here, is not taught.  That drives me nuts, they should wrap them up, wrap them up, wrap them up, because you can do both.  You can be technically sound and bring the back to the ground and wrap up and they teach it from pee-wee on.  Head across the bow, good base, exploding up through, hitting with leverage, not wrapping up drives me crazy.  Usually what happens is they go for that big shot and the back spins off them and goes for another 25-yards.  It’s low percentage football.  You see guys do it and they get one big hit and the crowd cheers and all that stuff happens and then there’s six other times where they do the same thing and the back runs for 35-yards.  We need to wrap up, we have to wrap up. That’s the way you’re supposed to play.  You can do both, one doesn’t exclude the other.”

(On how the league might start talking to coaches about getting away from the hitting fundamentals) -- “They can come here, we tackle every practice and there’s been a lot of heat about tackling every single practice but it’s the fundamentals.  You’ve got to block, you’ve got to tackle, you’ve got to be able to catch properly and you can’t go away from that stuff because whether you started it when you were eight or nine or 12, those things don’t change.  If you don’t tackle well it’s going to lead to big plays.   I believe in it, there’s a way to teach it whether it’s straight ahead or angled and proper technique, it’s really important.”

(On if James Harrison is a dirty player) -- “James Harrison, wasn’t he the defensive player of the league? He’s a good football player, he plays hard, he’s physical, he’s tough against the run, he pass rushes well.  I respect the guy as a football player.”

(On if the Browns players were pissed off after what James Harrison did to their teammates) -- “I really hope they were pissed off prior to that, we were playing the Steelers.  You’ve got to be pissed off every time you play them, you got to be pissed off every time you line up against them otherwise it’s going to get ugly.  You better be ready to do it every week, you better be ready to do it against Pittsburgh and you better really be ready to do it in Pittsburgh.  When you see their uniforms you should be pissed off.  Colt (McCoy) was telling a story how he went to the gas station and was getting gas and a father asked him to come over and see his sons. He opened the door and two kids in car seats were yelling, ‘Pittsburgh sucks.’  It’s how we are bred in Cleveland, that’s it.  You’re either pissed off or you’re letting it happen.”

(On if he felt that Pittsburgh won the physical battle because they didn’t retaliate) -- “No,  I thought there was a lot of physical play on our part.  We’re not going to come off on the sideline and say, ‘Go after their knees, go after their heads,’ or whatever it is.  I don’t think that’s how you win the game.  The best way to do it is to win the game.  The best way to respond is to win the game.  I’m looking for physical play, we shouldn’t need a catalyst for that.  It should just be a part of how we are built, it’s our DNA.  That’s what should happen every single play and that’s whether it’s the receiver, the defensive back, Phil Dawson, it doesn’t matter.  If you have a chance to hit them, there should be something with it.”

(On if he was surprised that there wasn’t a penalty called on either hit) -- “There was on us.  The officials have to make their calls and that’s kind of where we are at.  They have to make their calls.”

(On if Harrison get’s fined should there be discipline to the referee for not throwing a flag) -- “We’re getting into some area here now where the next guy fined is me (joking).  I’ve written one of those checks already, I’ve learned my lesson.  That would be great to bring up if that’s something that you wanted to do.”

(On Eric Wright’s performance yesterday and potentially starting Joe Haden at cornerback) -- “Joe has played quite a bit, Mary Kay (Cabot).  Here’s what I liked about Joe last week because I thought he had his best week of practice since he’s been with us.  I think that he’s starting to understand what it means to be a pro, he’s starting to understand what it takes to prepare each week and there’s no doubt in my mind that that week of preparation, the way that he was last week, lead to his best performance since he’s been here.  He had the interception, I think he did a lot of positive things yesterday.  There’s a correlation there and sometimes with the younger guys, it takes longer for them to really understand, ‘Okay, if I do X Y and Z on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, then I’m going to play well.’  Often times in college and especially as they get older, they’re better than their competition and they’re more talented than their competition.  They’re so comfortable in the system that they can go line up and play and be really successful.  You can’t do that anymore.  I was happy with what he did during the week, I was happy with all of those things.  What I’m happier with is he can now very easily see how it translates into success on the field and if he keeps developing, he’ll keep pushing for playing time.  That’s what you want.  That’s what I want, that’s what he wants and I don’t mean I’m looking to replace anybody.  I’m looking for him to get better to push those guys to replace them because that competition makes everybody better.”

(On how Eric Wright can improve) -- “I think that Eric has some things that he can definitely correct.  We’ll work on those this week, we worked on them last week and he’s played a lot of games at a high level and I expect him to play at a high level week in and week out because that’s what he’s capable of.  He knows it, I know it and that’s what we need collectively from him and from all of our guys, to play to their ability each week.  We will work on those things and I expect him to play at a high level.”

(On if Cribbs and Massaquoi came back with the team last night) -- “They came back and they’re going through the standard process now.  Josh wanted to go back into the game and was adamant about it, but you can’t do it.  You have to go through the steps.  As difficult as that is for us at that point because we are out of the Wildcat, he’s our returner, he plays such a big role on every facet of our team, it’s the right thing.  It’s hard from a coaching perspective, it’s hard from a competitive perspective, but it’s right from a human perspective.”

(On if there is any initial prognosis on Cribbs or Massaquoi) -- “It’s just day one, so it’s really early.  Probably Wednesday or Thursday, I’ll have a better sense of it.  Nothing different one way or the other.”

(On if Cribbs is out, is there any chance of bringing back Syndric Steptoe for punt returns) -- “Chansi (Stuckey) put the ball on the ground one time, but he’s caught a bunch of other ones and he has good hands.  Joe Haden has worked back there a little bit.  There are a couple of different options that we have if he’s not available, but my hope is that he will be available.”

(On what McCoy means by ‘the hay is in the barn’) -- “He explained it.  Isn’t that after the, harvest or whatever you call it.  Whatever you do with hay, I think once it’s in bails and you put it in the barn.  I guess you go have a steak (joking).  I don’t know.  I understood it when my high school coach used to say it, I never really delved into it with him.  I got what he was saying.  That’s exactly how we do it in Hartford (joking).”

(On if Robaire Smith’s back injury could be a lingering issue) -- “Yes.”

(On if he would consider putting Smith on injured reserve) -- “It’s possible.”

(On if he has talked to the doctor about what Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace might be able to do as the week goes on) -- “No, I didn’t and I don’t really know.  I wouldn’t be able to give you a good answer.  Hopefully Wednesday we will know some more, but I don’t really know right now.”

(On if he is hopeful that Cribbs will be able to play Sunday) -- “I’m really hopeful, yes.  I do have a lot of confidence in the protocol that we have in place and each guy is different.  We’ve had, over the course of time here or in New York, some guys have come back quicker and some guys have taken awhile.  I think it depends on the severity of the hit and there’s a variety of factors.  I do believe that the process that they go through with the baseline testing and the independent doctors really gets you to the right place with those guys.”

(On if he idolized any hard-hitting players he was younger) -- “Yes, you do.  I think everybody love it.  Whether it’s Peyton delivering his hits as a running back or any of them.  Steve Atwater used to blow people up all of the time, there’s a ton of them.  That’s part of the game, but I get the other side too.  You have got to protect people as much as you can in an inherently violent situation.”


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