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What's Browns coach Eric Mangini saying?

By Nate Ulrich Published: November 29, 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 11-29-10

(Opening statement) -- “Good afternoon everybody.  So it’s a lot more fun talking here today with the ball bouncing off of the upright than it not.  I guess this really is a Thanksgiving week, so I’m thankful for that.  We’ve had our share of bounces the other way, so I’m obviously very happy with the end result.  In terms of the game itself and watching the tape, I really thought the offense did a good job of executing the no huddle.  I think that helped us quite a bit because it slowed down some of the things that they were doing, it helped keep some of the pressures down as well, because they did have to adjust fast.  That’s usually what happens with the no huddle, and I really think those guys had an outstanding week of practice across the board.  Offensively, we had a really good week of practice.  The communication was excellent and their ability to pass off some of the stunts and games.  This is a team like we faced in Jacksonville who brought a lot of that, and it caused us a ton of problems in Jacksonville.  I thought for the most part, we handled it, and we handled it really well.  Peyton (Hillis) had another good day, and that was a function of everybody working together, as well as his running.  So I was pleased with that.  I was not pleased with the turnovers.  A turnover for a touchdown, a turnover in the red zone, a potential turnover at the end of the half and then the other one to start the second half.  Those things, and we feel like we’ve been talking about this for a long time, self-inflicted wounds.  This is a team, as we said going into the game, they were 13th in the NFL in takeaways, you can’t let that be a strength in the game that you play against them.

“Defensively, I don’t think we had as good of a week of practice, and I think it showed.  They went down and scored on the opening drive of the game.  That hasn’t happened in 23-odd games and I don’t think we came out playing with the right level of intensity.  That’s not what we do, that’s not the way we approach it.  I think there were points in the game where we did some really good things, defensively, but it needs to be consistent.  In the running game, the technique needs to improve and the fits need to improve.  Those are things we are going to work on and I think the tackling needs to improve.  This is two weeks in a row now where we’ve had a broken play that has gone for significantly more yards than it should.  We had him hemmed up there on the sideline, he gets away and it goes for another 20-odd yards.  It can’t happen.  We will work on getting that fixed immediately.

“On special teams, I thought our coverage was good, except for that one punt return that Reggie (Hodges) had to make the tackle on.  He had a really good day with the punt inside the twenty there at the end of the game.  I thought he had an outstanding hold on Phil’s (Dawson) field goal to push us ahead and the tackle was big as well.  I thought the coverage units overall were pretty good.  I think the return game still needs to take some jumps.  We had Josh (Cribbs) there early and he wasn’t able to finish the game, but I expect him to be a week further ahead here going into Miami.”

(On why missed tackles are happening on defense) -- “We have got to do a better job of wrapping up, Terry (Pluto), that’s really what it comes down to.  A lot of times we are making contact, which is great, but there’s too much ‘block tackling’.  ‘Block tackling’, where you go in and you think the impact is going to get the guy down, and it doesn’t.  The runners are too good.  We’ve faced some good running backs here and they play with a low center of gravity, they’ve got good balance and bouncing off of them is not high percentage.  You’ve got to bring your head across his body, you’ve got to bring your arms and you have got to wrap up on those tackles.  The other thing is that you want gang tackles.  You want hats to the ball.  Even if the first guy does miss, you’ve got to get some more hats to the ball.  It’s different in open space than it is in between the tackles.  Taking good leverage angles and understanding where your support is.  Are you using the sideline or are you using the defender coming from the inside out?  Whether it was Maurice Jones-Drew’s cutback run, that’s what he does and you only have a split second to make that decision and you’ve got to leverage him into your help.  We work on tackling quite a bit in practice.  The difficult thing with really making strides is you can‘t really go live on any type of consistent basis, there’s too few guys and there’s too much opportunity there to lose somebody for the game, so you try to simulate it as much as you possibly can.  We are going to improve on it and we have to.  We have to improve on it.”

(On if there is any reason why tackles are being missed at the end of games in crucial situations) -- “I think what happens is often times at the end of a game because the routes go a lot deeper, so the separation between the secondary and the front tends to be a lot greater.  The pass rush is trying everything they can to get to the quarterback, not that they don’t on other plays, but there’s that component to it and there ends up being this void in the middle of the field.  If you get the guy down, it’s a huge plus play because they have got no distance and they’re eating up time.  When (Chansi) Stuckey got caught against Jacksonville, if he breaks away it’s a different deal because there’s room to run.  But if you get him, it’s very few yards and it’s 16, 18 or 20 seconds.  It’s one of those things that can work really well, offensively, or it could set you back tremendously because you need chunks of yards there.  When it works and you do get into space, now there’s quite a bit of room to work.  It can flip either way.”

(On if they can develop a “killer instinct”) -- “There are two sides to that.  You may be trying to kill them and they are trying to survive, and they have got a pretty strong survival instinct, too.  It’s less rare now where you see those, just runaway type of games because they are going to fight back through.  I was watching the tail end of the Denver game yesterday.  It looked like everything was in hand, and then they’re fighting back in.  They have got the ball with a chance to tie or win or whatever it was.  I don’t think St. Louis wasn’t trying to end that, but things can swing pretty dramatically pretty quickly.  You have got to go in play in and play out and be consistent and not try to press something, because they are going to get another set of downs.  Sometimes when you’re pressing things, that’s when you open up a play.  Instead of totally ending the game, you open the game back up and it gives them life and momentum shifts.  To me, it’s not a function of that, it’s a function of protecting the ball.  We don’t have a turnover the first seven points, that’s a big component of it.  It’s fumbling on the three yard line, that’s a big component of it.  Taking advantage of those mistakes early in the game, that changes things dramatically as well.”

(On if he felt an overriding emotion when the game ended yesterday) -- “Yes, it was a mixture of pain and happiness.  It was bittersweet, I was angry and happy at the same time.”

(On him being shown on television with his expression saying just that) -- “Yes, I couldn’t believe that that ball got caught and he was out of bounds.  I could not believe that, that was unfathomable to me.  When the ruling came out, ‘yeah.’  The ball hit the upright, ‘yeah.’  I needed the medicine to lower the blood pressure; I could’ve used some of that.”

(On if John Fox felt the same way after the game) -- “I’m sure his emotion was worse.  I know it was, I’ve been there.  I really like John and I’ve known him for a little while now.  I knew him when he was a coordinator.  They fought like crazy, they’ll continue to fight and that’s what you do each week, you get your team ready to fight and to play as hard as they possibly can and keep moving forward and making strides.  What you don’t want to see is any setbacks.”

(On why Jake Delhomme throws so many interceptions) -- “I think, Jeff (Schudel), it’s like anything else.  You take some high-risk chances and they hit sometimes and it’s great.  Then you take some high-risk chances and they don’t, and it’s not very good.  The thing that you’re always trying to do is play the percentages.  If it’s not there, it’s not there and every play doesn’t have to be extended.  Sometimes the best thing to do is just throw it away.  I had a year with someone who is a known chance taker, so I’ve lived through that.  There are some great positives, and then there are some plays that it doesn’t work on.  You just want to play the odds.”

(On what he can do to combat that trait in Delhomme) -- “We will see where Colt (McCoy) is in the next couple of days and then I’m going to think about it, think it through and try to make the best decision.  Look, Jake did a ton of stuff yesterday that was really, really good.  That defense causes problems and they cause a lot of problems.  They’ve been problems that we’ve had a hard time dealing with and he ran the offense very effectively.  We would have scored at least another three or however many more if we didn’t fumble there.  He was able to neutralize a lot of their problems, he was able to handle a lot of their problems and he was able to give us an opportunity to run the ball like we ran the ball.  His leadership this week was outstanding; a big part of our good week of practice was him.  You can’t look past that either, he put us in a lot of good positions.  What you want to do is eliminate those mistakes that become gigantic in the scheme of things.”

(On how he gets guys to play with a lower percentage of mistakes) -- “I think part of that is just understanding the plays you can make, the plays you can’t make and starting there.  I think we all think that we can do the same things over time that we’ve done, and it doesn’t quite happen that way.  You have just got to adjust some.  I don’t think it’s a dramatic adjustment, but we do have to adjust some to make sure that the volumes of decisions are really good decisions.  I’d say that the first pick that he threw, I thought the linebacker made a really good play.  I didn’t see him coming.  Even on the second pick, I thought Mohamed (Massaquoi) got grabbed pretty good when he was coming back down the stem, but you don’t want to go to that throw as late as we went to that throw.  With that being said, Mohamed got pulled pretty good.  I’m not making any excuses or anything like that, but there were things in both of those plays that when you look at it objectively and unemotionally, you understand it a little bit better.  We need to be able to not put ourselves in that position.”

(On if Delhomme made some throws that could have been worse than what the result actually was) -- “Yes, but on the flip side of that, he threw a couple of balls that were really positive throws.  There were a couple to Ben (Watson) that were just nice throws.  I thought the throw to Evan Moore was in tight coverage, the one where he got held and then the helmet to helmet, a pretty nice throw.  There’s that fine line and finding the right balance is the key thing.  With Jake, he wants to do what’s right and he wants to do what’s in the best interest of the team and he brings a ton of positive things.  Unfortunately, we are talking about the turnovers, but the other things that he did for us, offensively, allowed us to move the ball against a team that is tough to move the ball against, and is a scheme that is tough for us to move the ball against, which is even a bigger factor.”

(On if Seneca Wallace will be part of the quarterback discussion) -- “I don’t know where Colt (McCoy) is so I don’t even know if he’s part of the discussion, so that’s really why I was saying that.  I hope he is but, yes, Seneca will always be apart of the discussion.  He’s done a great job when he’s been in there.  Just something that I’m going to think through and make a decision on.”

(On if he is leaning toward sticking with Jake Delhomme) -- “I haven’t gotten that far, Mary Kay (Cabot), I really haven’t.  I just want to look at some Miami tape, look at the things, get a better sense of the challenges they present and then look at it in that context, as opposed to making a decision right now without really doing that component of it.”

(On if Miami has a 4-3 or 3-4 defense) -- “There are components of both and it’s like Denver’s defense last year.  The same coordinator from Denver is now in Miami.  They’ve caused some problems and I’m really not that deep into it, Terry (Pluto), so I don’t have a great answer for you.”

(On why the offense seems to have had some issues the last three games) -- “I think we’ve played some pretty good teams - the Jets and Jacksonville.  Carolina has done some good stuff and I think the biggest mistake that you could ever make going into a game is relaxing and ever thinking that you can just kind of do your thing and you’re going to be able to roll it out there and win the game.  Not saying that was the case but I feel like we should have played a lot better, defensively.  I feel like we should have played much better than we did, defensively.  I felt like at times during the game we did that, but that’s not how we play.  It’s consistency is what we need to do.  Consistent good, smart football tackling is just fundamentals.  It’s a huge component of it.”

(On how the intensity of the defense at the beginning of the game wasn’t where it needed to be) -- “I don’t think we had a very good week of practice and I think it translates.  I think the offense had a really good week of practice, I think it translates.  As a coach you’re always talking about the importance of practice and it’s not a secret you practice well, you usually play well.  If you don’t practice as well, you usually don’t play as well.  We had some challenges in terms of guys missing and not being able to practice this week, which adds to some of the communication things that go on.  But everybody faces those challenges, so you have to deal with them and come out and put your best foot forward.”

(On how not having Scott Fujita and Robaire Smith affected things) -- “It’s significant.  Robaire is excellent against the run he also sets a certain tone.  He’s got a tone very similar to Matt Roth.  He’s a tough guy.  We miss Robaire a lot.  He was voted defensive captain obviously the guys felt strongly about him.  Scott has done great things this year, another guy who was voted as a defensive captain, and his versatility, especially his role on third down, that’s been missed.  For a lot of different reasons some of it’s the way he plays and some of it’s the way he sees the things they’re in, he communicates out those alerts or the adjustments, defensively.  When you lose two guys like that it makes it harder.  Working with some different guys in the secondary with Eric King playing a little bit more Bubba’s (Ray Ventrone) had to have an expanded role.  Those play a factor, too.  All that being said, other guys have had plenty of time to get ready for their chance.  I expect them to get better each week and fill those voids.”

(On if they would have had a better week of practice if Scott Fujita and Robaire Smith were practicing) -- “We have a lot of good guys on defense and it’s a collective effort.  There have been up and down weeks in all the different phases and usually the side that doesn’t have as good a week doesn’t play as well.  It’s like anything else whether it’s momentum in a game or practice, I never look for the, ‘hey lets go, come on.’ All that stuff is lip service.  You’ve got to change it.  You have to do something about it, tangibly, not just beat the drum.”

(On if he got clarification yet from the league on if at the end of the game the receiver was touched down in-bounds and if the clock should have kept running) -- “Those go in today, so we wouldn’t get any clarification but when we do get clarification we really couldn’t clarify it as much as you would want.”

(On what he was yelling about) -- “I was yelling a lot of things.  There were a lot of things coming out of my mouth at that point.  I was glad the kids were actually at the game yesterday so they weren’t watching on TV.  They were probably playing DS or something and not watching it there either.  Yes, it wasn’t G-rated what I was yelling.”

(On if Peyton Hillis has exceeded his expectations) -- “Yes, yes he has.  I thought he would be pretty good and a great addition, but he’s been outstanding.  He really has.  I don’t know how else you describe the things that he does.  He just shows up, works like crazy, he’s a great guy, loves being here and plays his heart out every week.  He runs people over on the goal line, catches everything we throw to him, blocks well.  Yeah, he’s made for Cleveland.”

(On if Joe Haden has done enough to be the starter when Eric Wright is back) -- “I’ll really look at that when it happens.  I think Eric may have a chance here this week to come back. I don’t know how much he’ll be able to practice, so I would imagine that Joe will start this week.  Joe’s done really well.  He’s getting better as we go, so he’s making a strong, strong case for continued playing time.”

(On if Marcus Benard is alright) -- “I think he just got a little dinged.  Yes he’s okay.”

(On if the defense loses its focus at the end of the game)- “No.  I saw it the first drive.  To me, I don’t think we were very focused the first drive.  I don’t think it came down to the end, really.  I haven’t really seen that.  I think the guys have been fairly resilient.  I don’t think we’ve executed as well as we should.  That was a tremendous throw and catch yesterday.  It wasn’t like it was a gimme.  It was in between two guys with about six inches difference between Sheldon’s (Brown) arm and the ball.  Give (Jimmy) Clausen for the throw he made.  I don’t really get a sense that guys are dreading going out there or are radically different.  I think that we’ve got a group of people that like challenges and don’t shy away from challenges, and we’ve seen that against multiple offenses that that present so many problems.  They rise up and play really well.  My expectation is that they play at that level each week.”

(On if Scott Fujita is going to be back on Sunday) -- “I’m not really optimistic on that.”

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