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What's Browns coach Eric Mangini saying?

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 16, 2010

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

Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 12-16-10

(Opening statement) -- “Good morning everybody.  I would like to send my condolences and the organization’s condolences out to Bob Feller’s family.  Just learning about him, pretty incredible playing 18 years for the same team.  I think the thing that was the most impressive to me was that in the height of his career the day after Pearl Harbor he joins the Navy, it’s just amazing.  It’s amazing.  The career that he had and the impact that he had is pretty special and I know he’ll be missed by everybody.  I haven’t had a chance to talk to Mark (Shapiro) about it yet but just an amazing person, an amazing player and an amazing part of Cleveland.

“In terms of our work here today Evan (Moore) will be out, David Bowens will be out, Scott (Fujita) will be out. I’m optimistic about David and Evan at this point but we’ll just have to see.  In terms of the quarterback situation and the plans moving forward I thought Colt (McCoy) looked good yesterday. I thought he moved really well which is what I expected.  He got the bulk of the work with the first team and the plan is for him to start here this weekend and to start the remainder of the season.  My thought process on that is that he did a really good job when he played and he improved every single week. He’s earned this opportunity.  I’m excited about the opportunity for him and for us and really it’s a testament to his work ethic throughout the course of the season and the way that he has taken the coaching not only from the coaching staff but also from the players, Jake (Delhomme), he’s just been like a sponge and had those opportunities and really did well with them and was able to improve each week.  That’s the update on that front.  In terms of today, we’re following our regular procedure.  We’ll be inside again with the doors open, it’s kind of the best we can do. The fields outside are not as functional as we’d like so that’s the thought process there.”

(On how Delhomme handled the news he wouldn’t be starting) -- “He handled it exactly like I thought Jake Delhomme would handle it.  He couldn’t have been more professional, couldn’t have been more supportive not only of Colt (McCoy) but of the whole team.  That’s just who he is and Colt is incredibly lucky to have someone like him in the building at this part of his career because you can’t ask for a better team player than Jake Delhomme.  You can’t ask for a better person.  His work ethic, the things that he can share with a young guy and the influence that he has had and will have I’m sure for years to come is invaluable.”

(On if he consulted with Mike Holmgren about the decision to start McCoy) -- “We talked a little bit about it, talked to Brian (Daboll) about it, Carl (Smith) about it but ultimately it was my decision.  I let Mike know about it and we talked through it and he’s been great with any decisions that have taken place during the course of the year. He’s a really good sounding board.  You can bounce ideas off him, can bounce thoughts off him, get feedback but he doesn’t pressure one way or the other. He’s more of making sure that you think through all the different things and that’s really helpful from my perspective.”

(On how he would measure McCoy’s progression from Pittsburgh to Jacksonville) -- “I’d say it was significant Jeff (Schudel) because he was able to take more and we were able to do more and he made that possible.  The plan each week you have in place for each opponent but the quarterback is very much involved in that and what he can do dictates a lot of what we can do.  What he’s comfortable with ultimately determines the way that we try to call the game because it’s so important that that partnership is strong and he’s going to be running the show on the field. He needs to have a very high comfort level of what we’re doing, what we’re trying to do, why we’re trying to do it and then how we’re going to do.”

(On what McCoy’s reaction was to the decision) -- “We had talked on Tuesday and I shared with him my thought process but it was going to be important to make sure that we didn’t have any setbacks and things like that.  He understood that and he was excited too.  He was excited and determined were the two words that come to mind because he’s really only known winning in college and that’s all he wants to know in pro football and that’s all we want to know in pro football too.  There was a real energy from him not that there always isn’t but it’s hard to explain but I’d say determined is probably the best word.”

(On why he has decided to name a quarterback for the remainder of the season) -- “I felt like he’s earned this opportunity and I want to give it to him and I want to see how he continues to grow.  This is by no stretch just throwing a young guy in for the sake of throwing a young guy in.  If I didn’t think that he could go out and lead us and be successful doing that then I wouldn’t make this decision, but I do feel that way and I feel strongly about it.  That’s why I decided to approach it this way.”

(On who is the second quarterback for Sunday) -- “I’d say that’s still a work in progress because there are different considerations for both Jake and Seneca (Wallace) so that one I’m not as definitive about right now.”

(On if they could have all three quarterbacks active Sunday) -- “We’re going to use the third quarterback spot because that ends up being another player that you can go to above the 45 so we’ll definitely use that.”

(On if he needs to be convinced of McCoy’s arm strength in this weather) -- “He’s ideally going to be operating in this kind of weather for a long time and I’ve seen him throw in some cold weather.  It was pretty cold yesterday, pretty cold last week but I didn’t really see there being much affect on the way that he threw or the way the balls hit their mark.  I feel pretty comfortable with it.”

(On how the wind can affect McCoy’s throws) -- “Wind affects all quarterbacks and all their throws to some degree, and often times you change the type of throws that you throw in extreme wind or wind that is dramatically affecting the ball.  That kind of goes a little bit hand in hand.”

(On if McCoy is back at full strength) -- “That’s really what I was waiting to see yesterday and there wasn’t any affects.  He had felt pretty strongly about his progress last week but we wanted to make sure we went through the full process and got to that point and I do feel that it is.”

(On what things McCoy has improved on since his first start) -- “The main thing is just his ability to do more.  I think that he did the things that we asked him to do the first week well and then the second week well, but it was more than the first week.  He had a good feel for how we were going to attack teams and that got better each game, how they were trying to attack us I think that got better each game.  I thought his huddle presence and his ability to operate the offense was good the first game and that’s always going to improve with experience and time.  I didn’t really feel like in the opening games he did one thing poorly, I felt like he did those things pretty well and each week with us adding a little bit more it maintained a consistent level which is really a positive thing.”

(On if he is surprised with how quickly McCoy progressed) -- “Like we’ve talked about, I really think it’s a little different situation than what I’ve experienced where a guy has that harder time from getting all the reps to being a backup than it is from being a backup to going in and getting all the reps.  Everything that comes with it you also look at the games that he played and the environments that he had to play in from the start of his experience, about as hard as you can get in terms of challenges, variation, disguise, environment so pulled up well.”

(On how much of an unknown McCoy was when they had to play him against Pittsburgh) -- “You’re always hoping that what you see is what you’re going to get from practice translating into the game, but it’s difficult when you’re a young guy starting your first game in pro football.  I think you remember T.J. (Ward) just talking about his first games as a starter and how even though he had been playing football his whole life and he had been doing this for a long time the accelerated heart rate, the butterflies, all those things that go into it because it is new.  The challenge has increased a level and you don’t totally know what you’re going to get.  You hope and you practice and you plan and you do everything you can to create the most positive outcome, but your first time in anything there’s a lot of things that go into it.”

(On how far along he thinks McCoy is in maximizing the potential of all his targets) -- “I think he’s going to go to the open guy and it’s going to be equal opportunity.  If you’re open and the read takes him there, you’re going to get the ball.  It’s not necessarily going to be, I’m going to go to this guy because the chemistry is better.  It’s just if you’re open and the read is there I’m going to throw you the ball and he’ll expect you to catch it and do what’s best.  You’ll see that a lot of quarterbacks and that always excites offensive players.  They know if they get open they get a shot to get it and that’s the way I see him being.  I’m not saying that’s not the way the other guys were but that can happen at times.”

(On if David Bowens has a concussion) -- “Yes. Bowens said his dad was giving him a hard time that he went 15 in rounds and never had that happened.”

(On if Lawrence Vickers is going to practice) -- “Yes.”

(On if Marcus Benard is practicing) -- “Yes.”

(On if starting McCoy the last few games is a way for having everyone judge him as a rookie quarterback) -- “I wasn’t really looking at this as just being the case where we’re throwing a young guy in to see whether or not a young guy can do it.  I think Colt really did a good job with the opportunities that he had.  I think he’s earned the chance to play these three games.  Someone asked him about young guys yesterday, it’s not just a function of trying to get him his letter or anything like that he’s earned this.  I wouldn’t put the team in a position and all the guys in a position where we’re playing a guy just to play a guy.  I don’t really believe in that because it’s not fair, we’re all trying to win games and you want to play guys that you think are going to help you win those games and that have earned the right to play.  I’m a huge believer in that.  I think Colt’s earned the right to play and it will be the same thing as we finish out the season.  If young guys are playing they’re playing because they’ve earned the right not because we’re going to see what he can do.  If they don’t do that then they don’t get the chance.”

(On how much of the ‘it’ factor he sees in McCoy) -- “I definitely see his leadership ability and I think that becomes more apparent when you have a chance to be out in front.  He has that.  He’s demanding of himself and he’s demanding of those around him and that’s an important part of that position.  Sometimes it’s a hard thing to do when you’re a young guy to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to do this myself and I expect you to do the same things at a high level,’ but he has that too.  I really like the way that he’s just tried to take in everything that he could when he was not playing from the guys that had more experience than himself because that’s a huge part.  There’s a maturity there when you do that and I look for that from all the rookies. Are they mature enough to find the right mentor and then bug that guy every single day to help them grow.  You’d think that would be a natural thing, it’s not, sometime you have to get on the rookies to absorb this.  You’ve got this great teacher here, absorb it.  I’ve had talks with rookies in the past about that and you shouldn’t have to.  You’d hope they see it and appreciate it and jump on it, and he has.”

(On if he can tell when a player has a phony leadership quality) -- “Yes, you can see it.  The same thing with captains.  You can name anybody you want a captain and sometimes people will do that. They’ll name the captain but just because you have the leadership tag you’re not a leader unless people follow you.  Otherwise, you are just a figure head and they see it.  They say charge and nobody’s coming behind them, they’re not a leader.  They may be wearing the badge but they aren’t.”

(On having seen that previously here) -- “I think you see that all of the time in life.  Someone is wearing that title, but you look back and nobody is following them.  They are all over with that other guy.”

(On the kind of season that Eric Steinbach has had) -- “I think he’s had a good year.  Eric and I have talked at different points and I can be hard on Eric sometimes, but I’m not hard on him because I don’t appreciate what he does.  I’m hard on him because I want him to be as good as he can be each and every single day.  I’ve had that talk with outstanding players in the past.  You drive them to make sure they’re constantly reaching their potential.  What I’ve really liked about Eric Tony (Grossi) is even things that he and I talked about last year, technique things that I wanted him to work on or George (Warhop) wanted him to work on, I can see him going out in those individual drills and doing that.  That’s not always easy to do because it’s a lot more pleasant to practice the things you are good at and have success at, but it’s a lot more practical and important to practice the things you are not good at and make sure that you can improve them.  I’ve seen him do that, I’ve seen him improve and to me that’s a really positive thing.  He has a really good relationship with Joe (Thomas) and Alex (Mack) in terms of their communication, and that’s very important.  Even this weekend it’s going to be incredibly important because Cincinnati runs so many different pressure and games and ways to disrupt the offense.  Their ability to work together across the line is huge and that’s going to be a big part of our ability to execute.”

(On very few starters in the NFL on the offensive line being under 300 pounds and how Steinbach is able to overcome that) -- “I think similar to (Alan) Faneca because Faneca wasn’t a heavy guy playing left guard.  Technique, consistency, you have to do those things.  Athleticism is another component of that.  If you’re not gigantic size-wise and can’t just sit there and hold up based on just mass on mass, you have to make sure you’re playing with the right leverage.  Your hand placement is incredibly important, things like that.”

(On if Peyton Hillis needs to adjust to his style of hurdling tacklers as opponents become more familiar with him) -- “With the leaping that he’s done, it would be hard to miss in terms of a tendency.  They can leap up, but there are going to be times where you start leaping up and he lowers his shoulder and it’s your ribcage and they are going to have to make a decision too.  He’s made a lot of people regret decisions of trying to take him on high, so I’ll take my chances with Peyton and somebody leaping up and anticipating him leaping.”

(On if he noticed teams changing their defensive schemes against McCoy throughout his time starting) -- “I don’t think dramatically so Jeff (Schudel).  With the amount of tape that was available to him, it’s not like you’re talking about multiple seasons.  You’re talking about a few games and each one of those games, like we said, was a little bit different than the previous game in terms of what he did and what we did.  I don’t think there was some glaring tendency from that because he was doing more things.  Over time, you get some more tendencies, but quarterbacks get tendencies on other people too and they get better and reading defenses and reading players and they become harder to defend.  It’s a little bit of both gaining edges.”


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