Comments from Browns receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs after Sunday's 41-9 loss to Pittsburgh.
(What happened last four games?)
"We didn’t win. We didn’t execute the way we wanted to. Everybody saw the last four games and there’s no answer for why we couldn’t make the plays when they needed to be made. I’s not saying we weren’t coached to make the play, we have to make plays. If we can’t make plays, we can’t win games. Simple as that.''
(With the same record as last year, was progress made?)
"Progress is always made. I feel like if we’d won some games early, that gave us momentum. This game is about momentum, and we didn’t have enough of it going into the last part of our season. It’s unfortunate, but we did make a lot of progress. We know how good we can be and if we keep that momentum and adrenaline throughout a whole season, we can be a pretty good team."
(Where was the progress?)
"You are what you are to everybody looking in, nationally. But to fans looking at each and every game and to y’all reporters that’s going to these football games, you can see the progress. You can see things being made, players making plays and this close from losing a game or getting blown out or however you want to cut it."
(Was the progress enough for Mangini to return?)
"No doubt in my mind. I feel like one man can only do so much. This is the biggest team sport there is. You’re asking one man in two years to turn a football team that hasn’t been winning into one of the greatest football teams. I mean, it takes some time. We want to win now. We’re trying to win now. but it’s just impossible to put all the weight and give one guy all that responsibility and call him the fall guy for the way we’ve been playing. We have to own up to some things that we do and take responsibility. Unfortunately that’s the world we live in. It’s all on the coach, it’s always all on the coach. But we can’t make players play."
(What was Mangini like after game?)
"He told everybody he loved them, appreciated all the effort. He said just what a head coach is supposed to say. We went out there and played for him throughout the year, we tried to do what he asked us to do. It’s been a long season and that’s how we was like. He was appreciative of the opportunity that we gave him."
(Disappointed if Mangini not back)
"Of course. I believe in what he stands for. It’s hard to make a change. I’m tired of trying to rebuild, I’m tired of it. It’s like quarterbacks. I’m tired of just the rebuilding process. But that’s out of my hands. so whatever happens happens. I’m thankful of the fans who came and stayed the whole game, and I’m going to give them my all next year."
(Different feeling way last year ended to this year ended)
"Last year we won four games in a row and beating Pittsburgh jumped that off. Like I said before, it’s momentum. We didn’t have that going into the ending part of the season, momentum. Lot of times that’ll make or break you.
"It seemed like us, man, we needed that momentum, we needed something to ride on. We couldn’t hang it all on our defense, the defense couldn’t hang it all on us. We just needed something, we didn’t get it.''
(Can you sum up Colt McCoy's season?)
"I think Colt did a very good job of coming in and being able to produce. It's a lot on his shoulders as a rookie being asked to step into a role of a veteran quarterback and lead a football team. We put that in hands and he did a great job. Yes, there's room for improvement, but he didn't break. He did what the coaches asked him to do, he used his abilities as best as he could, he tried to make plays and that's all you can ask for - a guy to go out there and give it 110 percent."
(The last two games don't change your opinion about Colt?)
"No. I've seen how good he can play. That's a rookie, he made rookie mistakes. A veteran, a guy who's well seasoned will say, 'You know what? I threw picks my rookie year, I'm holding the ball and moving.' That's all you can ask for his for him to get better. He made some rookie mistakes and that's all it was."
(How would you summarize your season?)
"Not me. I feel like when you're battling through injuries, it's tough to try to come back and give it the same spark that you're used to. But I try to represent myself by giving a preview of next year. I wasn't even 100 percent. But I'll tell you what, next year, man, look out for me. These records were broken in the return (game) for punts and kicks by Hester. I'm going after him. I have personal goals and I'm going after him trying to make the Browns one of those marquee teams. Trying to help my team become one of those teams to look at nationally. So get ready, I'm going to be something next year."
(How far do you think the team is away from that?)
"We're not far at all. Any given Sunday we can win or lose. (Team president Mike) Holmgren is doing a great job of keeping guys out there and changing things the way he sees fit. That's why I really spoke in (coach Eric) Mangini's favor because Holmgren is doing a really good job at putting his essence through Mangini and letting it be. He's letting Mangini coach. And in previous years, Mangini had to do administrative jobs, too. So really, it's only been a year since he's been here. I know the fans want change and a lot of people want change, but sometimes change is not good. You need to stay with what you got and bring new guys in."
(So you would be sad with change?)
"I just don't want to rebuild again. I want to win now. And I believe in what Mangini stands for. But it's not in my hands. So I'm gonna play and let them coach and administrate and do whatever they have to do. And I'm going to play football."
(You have often said you guys are so close) "Too close."
(Fans want to know how close are you after winning five games two years in a row?)
"We're close. I mean, we beat two great teams and (went into) overtime with the Jets, that's momentum. If we win that game, just think how far we'd be. Early in the season, all those games we lost in the fourth quarter, man think back to the year we had. Come on man, we're so close."
(Josh, you've never played for an offensive-minded head coach, would you like the chance?)
"I am playing for him. We are playing for an offensive-minded coach. Holmgren is here, and like I said, his essence is here, he's making changes. Coach Mangini has done a lot in the defensive scheme and I think he can allow himself to keep Mangini and still be effective. That's two great football minds there. Like I said, it's out of my hands. That's just my opinion, and hey, what's that worth? I'm just going to go play football, I can tell you that."
(Do you feel that the writing is on the wall?)
"It's always a feeling that's something's gonna happen. Hopefully...I like Mangini, so that's why I'm speaking up for him, I like him as a coach."