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What's Browns coach Eric Mangini saying?

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 24, 2010

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

Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 12-24-10

(Opening statement) -- “Happy holidays everybody.  The only guy that’s not practicing today is Robert Royal and we’ll just have to see with him. We’ll take a look at him tomorrow, maybe game time to see where he’s out but he will not be able to practice today.  In terms of what we’re doing today is we’ll go through our normal Friday prep. We’ll review third down, work on the red zone and really follow the pattern.  The only thing different that we’ll do is that we’ll have meetings after practice today and then the guys will have some time tomorrow morning to spend with their families and kids and things like that. We just shifted the schedule around a little bit to try to give everybody a chance to spend a nice block of time with their families and kids, enjoy the day.  Then we’re back at the hotel tomorrow night and clean up whatever we need to clean up.”

(On if he is going to spend the day at home tomorrow) -- “We’ll have some people over the house tonight and that will be fun and then tomorrow morning the kids I’m sure will be up early.  Jake’s already taken me through his timeline.  I told him he can’t get out of bed until seven o’clock but he’s been negotiating that pretty steadily in terms of what he has to do.  They’ve got it all plotted out so I’m sure there’ll be a new game plan tonight when I get home.”

(On if Peyton Hillis is going to be able to do more in practice today) -- “He’ll do significantly more today than he did yesterday and he should be fine for Sunday.”

(On if Colt McCoy was fine yesterday) -- “Colt was fine. I really think it was one of those bugs that guys get.  Kind of came on quick, left quick which is a good thing as opposed to lingering.  He was no problem yesterday.”

(On if he knew Billy Cundiff had such a good leg when he was with the Browns last season) -- “I don’t think he had any touchbacks for us when he was here.  Going to have to pick his brain in the offseason to see what he did to change that or to create the touchbacks that he has.  He’s done a really outstanding job with that.”

(On if they have noticed what Ray Lewis said about Hillis recently) -- “The great thing about Ray Lewis is he says those things and then he usually backs it up.  Anybody can call their shot, it’s just whether or not they can back it up and Ray over time has been able to back it up.  That’s always what happens.  If you put it out there, you have to be able to go do it and he’s done it a lot of times. It’s no secret how impressive he is as a linebacker, as a leader, as really all the different elements that you look for in that position and in the leadership position.  He’s amazing.  He’s going to the Hall of Fame.”

(On how practice has gone) -- “Practice has been good.  The guys have been focused and very efficient in our operation at practice.  The last two days have been cold, it’s back to Cleveland weather.  That wind yesterday whipped through people.”

(On if they have been practicing outside because the field isn’t frozen) -- “That’s really the factor that we look at is what’s the footing like.  What you don’t want to do is practice outside and put guys unnecessarily at risk.  What you want to do is be able to go outside, really get a sense for how you have to move in those conditions because the field will be slick in situations like this.  There is a way you have to move and a way that you have to transition and understanding that and also dealing with the wind, dealing with the temperature.  You want to be able to get all that work done without having it be so slick or really unworkable to the point where practice is sloppy because of it or guys are slipping and sliding all over the place and knocking other guys down, taking a chance of getting injured.”

(On if the team is better now than they were in Week 3 when they faced Baltimore) -- “I do think we’ve made a lot of strides in a lot of areas.  It is a little bit different just with some of the players that we’ve lost since that point which makes it tougher.  Other guys have had to step up and that’s usually what happens during the course of the season. Losing players is one component of it but the overall operation understanding of the system and working together, understanding each other. I think those things have improved significantly.  What we still need to do is have the consistency of performance every Sunday.”

(On the impact losing Scott Fujita has had on the defense) -- “Scott is one part of that and Robaire (Smith) is another part of that and those are both captains.  The leadership is significant and then the things that you can do in terms of their play.  Robaire is such a tough, physical, intense guy and played a huge part in our run defense and as a tone setter similar to the way Matt Roth is.  With Scott, he has all those things as well but he’s a very fluid athlete, things that he can give us in coverage, things that he can give us in terms of pass rush flexibility, some of the blitzes that we can run and his communication.  He’s an outstanding communicator and that’s really important for getting everybody lined up and heading in the right direction.  However, we have had other guys that have stepped in and played and played well and want to see those players continue to grow.  Marcus Benard has had some more chances, Jason Trusnik has had some more chances.  You want to see Brian Schaefering, D-Rob (Derreck Robinson) all those guys, they need to continue to grow each week and really set the stage for themselves in incoming years.”

(On the key to slowing down Ray Rice when he catches the ball out of the backfield) -- “You don’t want to have too much space, and unfortunately sometimes with the way they stretch the coverage, there is a lot of space.  Once he does catch the ball, being able to use leverage to confine the space.  If the sideline is the closest leverage, making sure you’re using sideline to restrict how much field he has to work with.  If you have another defender, those two defenders working together to close the wall on him because he can cut back as well as anybody and get outside of those leverage points.  You have to be sound there and you have to be patient and come down and close that wall tight.”

(On if you always have to have a man assigned on Rice in pass coverage) -- “In man to man, you’re always going to have a guy assigned to him.  In zone coverage with explosive backs like him, you have to have a great awareness of where he is in the zone coverage.  Some backs, you can play a little softer on because they are not as big of a threat in the passing game.  Other backs, you really have to understand where they fit because the catch and run ability is dramatic.”

(On if he has had to address a lack of energy and intensity the last couple of weeks) -- “What I talk about Mary Kay (Cabot) is consistency.  Consistency of performance, not just in that area, but in all of the different areas.  Assignments, technique, whether it’s communication, those things all are important parts of being able to win consistently.  Those are the things that I’m constantly talking about.”

(On what he wants his players to be motivated by when playoffs are no longer in the picture) -- “Whether the playoffs are in the picture or whether it’s the start of the season or the middle of the season, the reason we draft the guys that we draft is that you want to get people that are intrinsically motivated.  It’s not guys that are motivated by some outside factor, it’s that they’re motivated all of the time to be the best, to constantly improve.  When you get people like that, they take advantage of every opportunity to improve.  We have so many things in place to help with the growth of a player, both professionally and personally. You can have a zillion programs in place, but if a guy doesn’t take advantage of them, all he has is talent at that point.  You want the mixture of talent and motivation, but internal motivation.  Those guys are going to constantly be getting better.  Another core characteristic that we look for is guys that are competitive.  When you get someone that that’s how they are wired, it doesn’t matter what the competition is, it doesn’t matter what the stakes are, they are going to win.  It’s a single focus.  The ones that you always have to motivate with some sort of other thing, they usually aren’t the ones that win consistently.”

(On if they are motivated by being a potential spoiler for other teams in the final two weeks) -- “To me Jeff (Schudel), it’s not as much that as being able to play two really, really good teams in the NFL and the two best teams in the division and play them at this point in the season.  That’s what’s exciting to me, division rivals.  The spoiler part, how that’s going to play out, they each have two games left.  Well now Pittsburgh has the one game left against us, but it’s going to play out the way it plays out.  We are just looking to win our game.”

(On if Josh McDaniels was at practice last week and why he was there) -- “Yes, he came out to practice.  He was in town visiting his folks and I was talking to him.  I invited him down, I thought it would be nice for him to be able to come down.  He came down with his dad and just watched and said hello to some of the guys.  A lot of us worked with him in New England, so it was nice to see him.  It was good to see him.”

(On if he would consider adding McDaniels do his coaching staff) -- “Oh, there is nothing more than he and I are friends and a lot of us are friends.  He was in town, his family is from Canton so I thought it would be nice for us and for him to be able to catch up while he was here.”

(On if he named any other defensive captains after Robaire Smith and Scott Fujita went on injured reserve) -- “The two guys that are serving that role are David Bowens and Eric Barton.  Ever since Scott got hurt and Robaire was out, I had the guys vote on that and those were the two guys that were elected to serve in that role, serve in that capacity.”

(On if Fujita is going to need surgery) -- “I don’t know definitively, but I would say probably not.”

(On if Evan Moore will need surgery) -- “I’m not sure.  That’s stuff we can clean up in a couple of weeks.”

(On how they can account for Terrell Suggs) -- “It’s hard.  He moves around, so you can’t always count on him being in the same spot.  With the range of pressure packages they bring different combinations so it’s not like you can just guarantee that if you put these two guys on him then those two guys are going to end up on him based on the combination of numbers that they could bring.  You want to be able to be solid in the protection and also take into account his pass rush ability, but it’s not always clean.”

(On how Alex Mack has fared against Haloti Ngata in their previous meetings and what challenges he presents) -- “All of the guys that they play in their front are similar in the sense that they are very strong, they’re very good with their hands and their very good at being able to shed blockers.  Regardless of who is over Alex, it’s tough.  When you play a team like that, you have to be just as sound with your technique, your hand placement, your feet, your ability to sustain, to anchor and I think Alex did a nice job of that a lot of times in our last game.”

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