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What's Browns coach Eric Mangini saying?

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 20, 2010

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

Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 10-20-10

(Opening statement) -- “Good morning everybody.  Today at practice, we’re missing a few guys: both the quarterbacks (Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace), Shaun (Rogers), Kenyon (Coleman), Josh (Cribbs), Mohamed (Massaquoi). I think that’s it right now.  You’ve got the release on Tony (Pashos) and Robaire (Smith), we put both those players on IR and signed Yamon Figurs and Paul McQuistan. You’ll see both Paul and Yamon out there today.  In terms of what we’re preparing for today, it’s another tremendous challenge.  It’s a team that defensively, Colt (McCoy) faced one level of blitzing last week and that was a very specific style and a very specific style of defense in a very challenging environment.  It’s the same thing here it’s going to be loud when he’s out there and there’s going to be a lot of variations of blitzes.  It’s sort of in the 4-6 Buddy Family that lineage so you get some combinations that he’s seen to some degree with what we do here but it’s from a 4-3 front so it’s a little bit different that way.  They’ve been playing well defensively, top 10 in several categories.  I had Jonathan Vilma in New York and I think he’s outstanding, he’s very bright, gets the defense lined up so there’s going to be quite a few challenges for us offensively.

“Defensively, take your pick right on down the line they can score with any of those guys that they have. I think the biggest thing with Drew Brees is he’s really good, I know I talked about this with Matt Ryan, but this is years down the road, this is more experience, good at seeing what the defense is in, studies a ton of film.  I remember talking a lot about him with Brian Schottenheimer when we got to New York because that was the point where he was available but he studies a lot of film, anticipates what the coverage is going to be and he’s usually right and when he’s right he goes to the right place.  For him it’s not about getting one guy a certain amount of balls, it’s just getting the ball to the right place and the way that they’re set up each one of their skill players can do something in terms of their passing game whether it’s getting open or running with the football after the catch.  They all have big play capabilities. it’s (Marques) Colston, Devery Henderson, (Robert) Meachem, (Jeremy) Shockey, (David) Thomas, Lance Moore, they all get receptions.  I think in their running game Chris Ivory had a really week last week. He’s from Tiffin College. I think that’s somewhere relatively local. How far away is that? An hour and half?  He’s playing pretty well, he’s fast and he has a nice combination of size and the willingness to be physical when he’s coming downhill or when he’s making contact with defenders so two challenges there.  Ladell Betts also shares the load there as well as Julius Jones.  The two backs that haven’t played I’m not sure whether they are going to be back or not but if they do it just adds some more options for them.

“On special teams, I think this is a good coverage unit. They incorporate some bigger players in it.  Tony Hargrove who is a defensive lineman runs down on kickoffs. He can blow some people up, so they have a mixture of size and speed there and I think that the two returners with Courtney Roby and Lance Moore both create some big plays in the return game.  They’ve gotten quite a few fumbles when their punting to the opponent so they have been able to generate some turnovers off that.”

(On his reaction to the fine on James Harrison) -- “A group of guys got fined, really I leave that to the league and the league does a good job of responding to whatever the issues are that are facing the various teams.  There are rules in place and they’ll send out tapes each week to talk about the points of emphasis. I think that over time, my experience with that is when something is a point of emphasis then it changes.  There is a rule in place and I’m sure you’ll see quite a few more calls and a heightened awareness of trying to improve that situation.”

(On if they pushed for James Harrison to be suspended) -- “We didn’t push for one thing or the other.  For us it really becomes a league matter and the issues affect us but they affect everybody so we’ll leave it to them.”

(On if he asked why the referees didn’t throw a flag after the hits) -- “I think he just missed it, that’s the sense I got.  Just missed, didn’t think he had the head to head.”

(On the status of Cribbs and Massaquoi) -- “They are really in the first phase of it so that’s where we’re at.  It’s the same as it’s been for all the guys that have gone through this process so they’re in that same stage that the other guys who have had concussions are in.  I’d say tomorrow we will know more and then Friday we’ll have a much better sense of where things are.”

(On what the concussion stages are) -- “You go through and you have to be symptom free, then you take a baseline test, then you get evaluated by our doctors, then you get evaluated by independent doctors and then once all of those things are cleared then you are cleared to re-participate with the team.”

(On if he talked to the league about how they ruled the hit on Cribbs was legal) -- “I really do believe the league is trying to get it right and be vigilant about it. In terms of me specifically, that wasn’t something that we did but they look to fix the problems that come up each week or to address the issues that come up each week and I think they do a good job of it.  I think they’re proactive with it and I think that it gets reflected with any decision usually you don’t know about it right away you see it in the subsequent weeks so we just will have to see how it plays out.”

(On if they will change the way they coach) -- “No, I don’t think we were coaching it the wrong way in the past.  We want to be physical, but we want to be conscious of what’s legal and what’s not legal.  I don’t think we’ve been coaching it any other way since the start.”

(On if the league can take these hits out of the game completely or if it is just part of the game) -- “We’re all just going to have to see how it plays out.  It’s tough to say right now I think everybody’s trying to get it right and everybody’s conscious of the need for player safety.  There’s a real emphasis put on it from a league level and from a club level and that’s a good thing.  I really do believe people are trying to do it the right way.  Sometimes there are going to be collisions that happen that are unavoidable, and unintentional and you’ve got a lot of big, strong, fast people making split second decisions and trying to do it right but hopefully it will help.”

(On how they told T.J. Ward to correct his hitting) -- “You want to aim lower, is really what it is.  Again, it’s split second type decision. You’ve got to be conscious of where the receiver is.  It’s hard though.  You’re not telling them to aim high initially but you want them to have an awareness of the ball, you want them to have an awareness of where the receiver is and you’re talking about reacting to things within a moment at a high speed.”

(On if Ward could have went lower and if they have practicing that) -- “It’s hard, how do you practice that without making contact with the defenders.  It’s hard to practice high impact, down the field collisions at the split second.  You’re trying in practice to protect your players on both sides, it’s not something that’s easy to simulate by any stretch.”

(On if Ward had enough time to make a decision to hit Jordan Shipley lower) -- “It’s hard to say, you’re looking at it after the fact without the intensity of the moment, you’re not inside his head in terms of how he’s processing the information I couldn’t tell you that definitively one way or the other.  You can talk about what you would like to happen and how you’d like it to be played and work on those things but it’s just different, things are happening quickly.”

(On if McCoy is starting on Sunday) -- “If we don’t have progress with Jake and Seneca then that would be the case.”

(On if McCoy is starting heading into today) -- “We’re heading into today with the idea that if the other two guys aren’t available then Colt would start, yes.”

(On what happened to Tony Pashos) -- “He hurt his ankle, ended up finishing the game.  Typically that happens with the adrenaline, didn’t even realize. Tony’s such a tough guy.  It’s one of those things that we found out after the fact and had tests and he wasn’t going to be able to play the rest of the season.”

(On if Floyd Womack will play tackle now) -- “He’ll work out there, we signed Paul (McQuistan) he’ll work out there, Eric Steinbach will work out there, John’s (St. Clair) making some progress so we’ve got a couple different options because it’s not just who’s going to start the game but you also have to have the backups and things like that.”

(On who would fill in at guard) -- “(Shawn) Lauvao, Billy Yates, Steve Vallos has worked there so we’ll get a good combination.”

(On if Yamon Figurs is going to be their punt and kick returner now) -- “He’s done that and my experience with him is I’d obviously had seen him as a punt and kick returner. When we were getting ready for Oakland a couple years ago he had gotten some more opportunities as a receiver, made some pretty dynamic plays.  I think he’s quick, he’s fast, he’s got good change of direction which most kick and punt returners do.  That would be one role that he’d have, kick and punt returner, and then it’s what else can his role be? How else can he contribute offensively?  That was starting to grow a little bit at that time period in Oakland just watching it in preparation for him but we’ll see how he fits in with us and where he can fit.”

(On if he could go as far as to say that he is leaning towards starting McCoy like last week or if he couldn’t go that far) -- “No, I thought I went further today.  If the other two guys aren’t ready then he would start, yes.”

(On if Figurs will also return punts) -- “He can, he’s done both.”

(On if Robaire Smith’s injury could end his NFL career) -- “I remember when Eric (Barton) was talking about his injury situation and when you get to a certain age and you’ve played a certain amount of time and you’ve got these different injuries, there’s a reality to it of looking at it as what are my opportunities to return. What are my risks of returning? If that’s not possible, what does the rest of my life hold?  It’s important to have those talks and it’s important for a guy to go through.  There’s a lot of information that Robaire needs to gather still and there’s a lot of time now before any decision has to be made, but it’s important, I believe, to go through the process of, ‘Okay, if this isn’t an option anymore what do I want to do.’ If it is an option, what are the risks and making good decisions.  He’s got kids, he’s got a long life, you never discourage anybody, you never push them one way or the other. What I try to do is just say let’s talk about all the different things and make sure that you’re thinking about them and talk about them with your wife and look at the big picture because this is one part of your life but there’s a long time after this. I love Robaire and I want him to keep playing, but I also want him to have a really good, healthy long life.”

(On how Smith is taking his injury) -- “He’s a really mature, grounded guy.  It’s tough when you’re facing a situation where you’re talking about changing something you have done forever, since you were seven, eight, nine or however old.  Now the possibility of that ending, that’s tough to go through.  But with any ending, there’s a beginning and that’s something that you can also be excited about and you want there to be balance when you’re looking at that.  One door may close, but there’s another 100, 200, 300, 400 doors that can open that can be just as satisfying and as fulfilling.”

(On if Shaun Rogers is physically ready to take on more of a role on defense in Smith’s absence) -- “I think it’s getting better and the difficult challenge that we’ve had to this point is without having him be out there each day, it’s hard to get the reps.  We didn’t have training camp to get a lot of those reps and it is different out there.  We are trying to build more flexibility every week and as that flexibility builds, it’s inside and it’s outside.  That really was my plan going into this season and going into training camp, to be able to build flexibility should something happen where you can move guys around.”

(On if Scott Fujita has given him what he was looking for when the team signed him) -- “Yes, he’s been outstanding.  He is outstanding as a player, very good at the mechanics of it, recognizing the offense, getting the defenses checked, that part.  He is really athletic.  There are certain tools that are available in different coverages, he uses a lot of them and those have generated some sacks for us.  The strip sack against Atlanta, that was really him and Robaire working together that created that opportunity.  Those things I liked because he’s taking the defense and is able to push it further, which is great.  He’s really good in the room, he understands the things that need to be done consistently to win at a high level.  His experience in New Orleans, I think that helps.  I’m really happy he’s here.”

(On if Floyd Womack and John St. Clair are both practicing today) -- “John is not, Floyd is.”


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