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What's Browns coach Eric Mangini saying?

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 6, 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 12-6-10

(Opening statement) -- “Good afternoon everybody.  Looking through the tape and just meeting with the coaches, I saw a lot of good things.  One of the things that I was really happy about this week is the consistent way that we practiced.  I’m such a huge believer in the way that you practice is the way that you play, and that’s so important.  Overall through the course of the season, we’ve improved significantly in that area.  It’s just week in and week out, being able to do that.  I thought that we played some smart, complementary football.  That’s what you have to do, too, is each phase has to contribute to the win.  Our coverage teams were good. I thought that Reggie (Hodges) did a really nice job punting the ball.  Being able to kick the winning field goal there at the end, obviously that was important as well.  Offensively, I thought we were efficient in the passing game.  Jake (Delhomme) was a little over 70 percent with a good quarterback rating.  We didn’t have any turnovers and we were able to move the ball even when they were up there stopping the run.  That’s a good defensive team.  It’s a big team, it’s a physical team and they’re sound.  They do a nice job against everybody that they face.  Defensively, being able to create turnovers.  We had three turnovers yesterday, I thought our tackling improved from the week before.  I thought our defense against the run, against a team that was making a concerted effort to run the ball out of three things, their base stuff, their sub stuff and their Wildcat package, to have them at 3.6 (yards per carry) and not give up any real big plays outside of the screen that went for 24 yards.  Those things all playing together to win a tough game on the road.  It’s good to see and I’m also really pleased with the penalties.  I think we are down to about four a game, which is a significant improvement from where we were early in the season.  I want to see that to continue to be the trend as we move into the Arctic month.  It’s nice out, isn’t it?  It was fun driving home last night.”

(On if there is such a thing as an ugly win) -- “They’re all beautiful.  They’re all special in their own way.”

(On what he thinks he has built to this point during his time in Cleveland) -- “I know that I use this a lot, but I think we just have been going through the steps that it takes, organizationally and as a team, to build.  Guys work; I don’t question their work ethic at all.  They compete every single game.  We’ve been able to win some games and now winning consistently is our next step.  It’s nice to come out on top in these close games and that’s something that we haven’t been able to do or weren’t able to do earlier in the season.  That’s really the next step for us.  It’s a good group of guys, everybody is pulling in the same direction.  I think there is a much higher comfort level with each other, with the system and there’s a real commitment across the board to keep improving.”

(On if he senses more of a belief than there has ever been before) -- “I think part of that comes with jus understanding that all of the things that are done here are done for one reason and that’s to win.  There are no arbitrary decisions that are made for any other reason besides that.  Each decision that’s made is made for that goal.  What we ask of the players and the coaches and everybody involved is to make good decisions each day to help us forward that goal.  With the guys that we have here that were here last year and the new guys we brought in who have now been able to all work together, it’s all that same single-mindedness.  When you have that, you can make strides.”

(On if it takes long for players to understand that the coach is out to better the whole team instead of individuals) -- “I think every place is different, every experience is different.  You don’t know what experiences guys have had in the past with the teams they have been on.  When you initially get somewhere, they don’t really know you.  There’s a healthy dose of ‘wait and see’.  You may say something but guys may want to see if you mean what you say.  Do you follow true on the things you say?  Everybody talks about commitment, everybody talks about doing what’s best for the team.  All of those things are universally talked about, but everyone wants to see if that’s the truth or is it just sort of a slogan that you hang on the wall.”

(On how far away they are from winning games handily instead of late in the fourth quarter) -- “I don’t know if that really happens in the league at all anymore.  I think most games are decided by seven or less, and really it usually is three or less.  I don’t know what the actual percentages are, but very rarely do you see a blowout game or a runaway game.  Usually when that’s happening in the third quarter, the other team starts coming back and makes it interesting.  I remember we were playing Arizona and we were up 38-3 or whatever it was, and they came out en fuego in the second half.  Before you knew it, it was a couple touchdown game, but on the flip side of that too where we’ve been down a boat load and we came back.  We were down, I think it was 24-0 to New England, and it ended up being a touchdown game and we had the ball and we were driving at the end of the game.  It ebbs and flows like that.  You wish that you could have the game comfortably in hand every single week, but I just don’t think it’s realistic.  Too many things happen, too many talented players.  It would help everybody’s blood pressure and heart rate, but you just might as well plan for it to be a little tighter than that.”

(On if he had to address Jake Delhomme’s near interception late in the game despite the team winning) -- “When we go through the corrections, we don’t gloss over any plays.  We go through the good, the bad and the ugly.  You go through all of them because there’s learning from each one of them.  It’s the same thing that happens a lot of times when a guy makes a play, but he’s doing the wrong thing when he makes the play.  So if you kind of laugh it off or joke about it and you don’t correct it because he made a play on that one situation and then he gives up a play doing exactly the same thing and you correct him, it’s inconsistent as a coach.  Either you want it that way or you don’t.  You have to go through the corrections in order to get to the right point.  We’ll cover all of those things and make sure we do a better job there.  To me, it’s like the sack that we had on the 20 yard line.  Those plays can’t happen.  You’re in field goal range, worst case scenario it’s an incompletion and you kick a closer field goal.  We checked one play on second and two the last drive and not everybody got the check and Cameron Wake ends up getting the sack, which is a guy you identified as the guy you had to stop.  Those plays can very easily be the difference in the game, and we can’t make those mistakes the next time it happens.  There are some things, defensively, too with coverage, where you may get a sack on the play, but you’re not in the right spot.  You better get it fixed because you may not get the sack the next time and it could be a really huge play.”

(On how well Joe Haden is playing and how well the secondary is playing lately, especially with the turnovers they are forcing) -- “What I really liked about Joe’s game last week is probably different than what I’m sure you’d think, the way he tackled.  That was a real strength of his in college and I he did an excellent job of that I thought last game.  There were plays there where a missed tackle, the ball would have gone for a long way.  Ronnie Brown on the screen, if Joe doesn’t make that play, he’s going for a long way.  It was an open field tackle, one-on-one against Ronnie Brown, that’s hard to do.  Those yards he saved aren’t a measurable stat, but it’s significant.  I think that he’s playing with a lot of confidence, which is good.  He has a much, much higher understanding of what we are trying to do, defensively, in terms of scheme.  He’s getting better with his technique.  There are still some things that we need to work on there.  What I want from him, and I’ll say the same with T.J. (Ward) too, is the mistakes that have kind of repeated over time, we have got to eliminate those.  There are a few things there that I want to see that next step from both of those guys, but I’ve liked the things that they’ve done.  Let’s put those to bed and take another leap here.”

(On how Abram Elam has come on strong the last three games) -- “Yes, he’s another guy that’s very consistent.  Looking back now, he makes a lot of plays in the latter part of the season, I think.  I don’t know if there’s any trend there, I never really studied it from that perspective, but I do remember a couple of late games where he’s made some big plays.  He’s just consistent and as you are sound and consistent, those plays are going to come.  He’s made quite a few.”

(On how Evan Moore is after sustaining an injury yesterday) -- “We’ll see here for Wednesday.  I’m not sure yet whether he will be ready for Wednesday or not, but I’m pretty optimistic about Sunday, however that practice breaks down.”

(On if Colt McCoy is another week or two from returning) -- “I don’t know.  That will be another Wednesday deal.  He was going to do some working out today, we will see how he pulls up tomorrow.  Really, that will play quite a bit into whether or not he can practice this week or not.”

(On if McCoy has been evaluated already today) -- “No because he will work out today.  That’s a part of the evaluation, but it’s also how he pulls up tomorrow is really one of the key components.”

(On why Joe Haden looks like more of a sound tackler and he wants to tackle more than other cornerbacks) -- “Some of it is exactly that, it’s want to.  It’s like special teams, if you want to play special teams well then usually you can.  Some people don’t like when it gets noisy and Joe doesn’t mind it being noisy, he actually enjoys that part of it.  The other thing he does well is he wraps up.  It’s not ‘block tackling’, it’s not what we call ‘submarine tackling’ where it looks like you’re digging for worms to try to get the guy down.  He goes and he wraps up and he likes contact.  Cover corner is often a euphemism for ‘won’t tackle’, but he will.”

(On if he thinks he waited too long to insert Haden into the starting lineup or was the timing right) -- “It’s more evaluating his progress, then it’s a function of what you do with your opportunities because he may have gotten in and not played as well and we’d be talking about, ‘Was it too early for him to get in.’  It’s really just a function of working and when you get your chance, going in and making a strong case for it and ‘You can’t take me out now.’”

(On how different or better he feels about the team now than he did a year ago) -- “Yes, last year was a tough year.  I was looking forward to New Year’s, I can tell you that.  That was one of those [times] that couldn’t get here quick enough.  Going through it in New York the first year, that was really hard, too, because you’re dramatically changing things and you're asking people to do things that they’re not completely comfortable with.  You're pushing them in ways that maybe they haven’t been pushed, and often times when you do that there is a lot of push-back.  There is a lot of wait and see.  ‘Is what this guy is saying the right thing to do or not?’  ‘How is this going to help us?’  ‘Am I improving as a player or are we improving as a team?’  I give the guys last year a lot of credit, they hung in there, they fought, they kept working and they were rewarded at the end of the year, which was great to see.  This year, I think we’ve taken some more real strides.”

(On if there is a certain area on the field he has seen the most strides) -- “I think if you’re just looking statistically, almost every category has improved.  I’d say there’s a real sense of community here, everybody supports each other, everybody pushes each other in the right ways, we’ve got guys with a lot of resolve.  Each guy kind of sharpens the other guy which is a big part of growth and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

(On if he told Joe Haden that he can’t let that guy get behind him on the interception he made) -- “Yeah, you can’t bite on that.  I’ll tell you the guy who saved him was (Ahtyba) Rubin.  He had his hand up and the way Henne had to throw it was a totally different arc so he wasn’t able to rifle it in.  To me that is complementary defense too, sometimes the corner is going to make a poor decision but the D-line can save him.  Sometimes it’s vice-versa where the D-line gives too much time and the secondary saves them and they’re able to get a sack.  But Rubin made a nice play there, didn’t get the sack, but he did enough to alter the throw which then allowed Joe to catch up and make the play.”

(On how they had a few pressures that got Chad Henne off rhythm) -- “Yeah, there were decent amount of quarterback pressures, a few sacks that we left on the table and I want to see us capitalize more on that.  We’ve had some of those throughout the course of the season but it is a good sign because we are getting there, getting them off the spot and we’re getting them out of the first read.  Now you want those to convert to sacks.”

(On if Shaun Rogers is going to ask to not practice this week as well) -- “He might ask, I might say yes.  If we could guarantee the same thing I’d have to think about it.  He did a good job working with Bryan Cox in terms of getting the information that he needed to get.  He does have quite a bit of experience to draw on, it’s not anywhere near the ideal situation because it is hard to go into a game without reps and be able to play as effectively as you want to play.  It’s tough and we’ve seen it throughout the course of the season.  Different guys who have been limited at practice or can only get one day or whatever it is just not quite as sharp.  Imagine what he would have done with practice.”

(On if he thinks they have shown Mike Holmgren they are on the right track) -- “I respect Mike and I think that he’s going to evaluate things at the end of the season, we’ve got four more games left and really what I want to do is move the team forward.  That’s really what I want to do.  I want them to be better this next week than we were the last and.  It’s the same thing for the remainder of the season.  All that other stuff will take care of itself.  What I want to do is make sure that I do the best job for these guys and the coaches do the best job, and collectively we do the best job to improve.  I like the way, as a group, coaches the players, the way we work and we fight.  I’m proud of that component of that, and now I want them to keep getting rewarded with wins.”

(On if he spends time thinking about what the evaluation will be at the end of the season) -- “If I did spend a lot of time on that, I’d just be a hypocrite because I’m asking all these other guys to look at one game at a time.  What’s going to happen four weeks from now you can’t control.  What you can control is what’s happening today and what we do this week.  To me that’s a big component of being successful, is take care of what’s in front of you and do the best you can with what’s in front of you.  When you do that usually that’s when the best things happen.”

(On if he is getting positive feedback from Holmgren) -- “Yes, it’s been positive. We weren’t high fiving or belly-bopping on the plane or anything, but it was a much better plane ride than some I’ve taken.”

(On if Jake Delhomme’s throw was intercepted at the end of the game if that would have been a bad ending to for the way he played) -- “It wouldn’t have been a good ending.  We’ve had a bunch. T.J. (Ward) dropped a pick the first play of the Baltimore game and you would have loved for him to have caught that and run for a touchdown, we ended up losing by a touchdown.  There have been other interceptions where we’ve had chances to get them and we didn’t get them, but all they become like in baseball there’s long foul balls that hit the other side of the post.  That’s really what it is.  You’d love to have all the ones you didn’t catch and happy for the ones they don’t catch.”

(On if Delhomme looked more comfortable this week than last week) -- “One of my favorite plays was the third down quarterback sneak with 13 guys on the field.  That’s a big play, it’s a smart play, it’s a heads up play and I love seeing that.  That’s just good, smart football.  That to me is progress.  That one play right there, which we could not do last year, we could not get that last year where they had too many guys on the field and we snapped the ball.  Peyton Manning does it every other play where they’re coming off the field and that’s progress, it’s good.”

(On how you don’t start someone like Jake who has won two games in a row) -- “I didn’t say that.  Let’s enjoy the moment, we’ll talk Wednesday.  It’s kind of our thing (laughing).”

(On having 18 interceptions so far this year) -- “Yeah, it’s great.  Last year it was like we were in the desert, we couldn’t buy an interception.  This year we’re getting a lot more of those and that’s sometimes how it goes.  I remember my first year in New England I think we had 10 it was the worst total since the early 1970s and I was like, ‘I must be the worst defensive back ever,’ then the next year we broke some records.  It tends to go that way a little bit.  I know it’s a function of the coordinated pass rush and the way the guys are baiting coverages.  That’s a big part of it, showing the quarterback one thing and giving him another thing and then also being able to execute when the ball is thrown.  We’ve got that number of picks, but there are quite a few that are just balls defensed in the stat sheet that really could have been interceptions as well.”

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