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Mangini press conf. transcript 6-3

Posted Jun 3, 2010

The transcript of Eric Mangini's Thursday morning press conference.

Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 6-3-10

(Opening statement)- “Good morning everybody. A couple of things here, in terms of the restricted guys, no movement there. Jerome (Harrison) will be here working. He’s been here working, but no change with any of the other guys. With the injured guys, that group has stayed the same. There are some guys that are going to miss today because of various reasons and I’ve talked to all of them. I’ve had conversations with the group so if someone is not out there that normally would be, that’s the case. Today where we’re at is we’ve gone through two cycles of install, which is the first and second down day, the third down day, the red area day and a review. That’s considered a cycle. We’ve gone through two of those. Today is a catch up or catch all day, so anything that we feel like we want to go back and hit, maybe something that we installed but didn’t get to run as much as we’d liked to. We are doing that type of work here this morning. A couple of situational things, we will have a four minute situation, a start of a game situation where after we stretch, kickoff, a kickoff return. Wherever the guy is tagged down, that’s where the drive will start. Whatever happens on the drive happens and then we just go back into the normal flow of practice. We will vary those up, sometimes the coaches call them, sometimes the players call them. It’s just a good way to get into that routine of you go into the locker room, you stretch, you go into the locker room, you come out, you kickoff and you’re rolling. Sometimes we will do that midway through practice and call it the start of the second half. It’s a little bit different, it’s not always scripted and we let the players have some fun with that and it gives us a sense of things that they like. It does help you get in that flow of you end the first half, you go in the locker room, you come back out and you’re rolling. It’s just a different way to try to teach that.

“In terms of progress, I think we made a lot of progress with retention, with understanding situations. It shows up in different levels each day. I think Chris Gocong has really made some excellent strides. He’s a really smart guy. He’s heard things now two or three times and some of the littler things are starting to come. I’d say the same thing for Scott Fujita. Sort of the same type of player in terms of very, very bright and now he’s getting more and more comfortable seeing some of the smaller things show up in a real positive way.”

(On the importance of having versatile linebackers)- “I think it’s great to have guys that can do both because it gives you depth on the 45. When you play the game, you may not have to carry an extra inside linebacker or outside linebacker, you can just shift one of those guys to those spots and they can give you a level of play that maybe that extra guy that you would have carried would give you. Now it gives you some versatility if you want to carry an extra receiver or a core special teams player. The other nice thing is the 3-4 is pretty flexible, but when you have guys that can play both spots, now you can become more flexible with where you can put them, how you move those pieces around and that’s something I’m always looking for.”

(On if he has been rotating Gocong and Fujita at different positions)- “These early parts, our approach has been to keep them in one spot in base right now. They work a couple different spots in sub, but in base it has been one spot. Then what we’ll do is, we might do it a little more in mandatory min-camp where they have heard things a few times and have worked it, switch them or at some point early in training camp switch them. They’ve both played inside and outside those two guys, just like (David) Bowens has, (Jason) Trusnik has, (David) Veikune has. Now it’s just figuring out the best way to get them some reps there.”

(On Brandon McDonald)- “The one thing I’ll say about Brandon is first of all, he was one of our offseason award winners last week. The way that we choose those during the OTA days is offense, defense, special teams, we choose a wild card player which could be any position and we choose a rehab player. He was one of the winners last week. I think he’s had a really good camp, similar to the type of camp that Brian Robiskie has had and that’s a positive thing. He’s played a lot of football. He’s been in a lot of games and that’s good. The more depth we can have at the cornerback spot is great. One of his best traits is he’s intensely competitive and he’s going to go out and put his best foot forward. Now, has it always worked out exactly the way he wanted or we wanted? Not necessarily, but he comes back and works the next time and I like that a lot about him.”

(On what award McDonald won)- “He was either the defensive or the wild card. I can’t remember which one, but he was one of those two spots.”

(On Jerome Harrison)- “He’s looked good. It’s really hard to evaluate where guys are. You’re looking at it more in terms of assignments, technique, things like that. He’s made very few mistakes, which is excellent. He looks similar to the way he looked. It’s just hard to project too far down the road without pads on.”

(On the running back situation)- “I think it’s a good situation. I think Montario (Hardesty) has had a really outstanding camp. For a young guy, he makes very few mistakes. His level of maturity is one of the highest that I’ve been around and that’s great. That’s going to give him the best chance to not only play, but to play a lot if he continues along this path. That’s exciting to see. Again, it’s with a big asterisk because we don’t have pads on and they’re not games and we haven’t done a full evaluation, but I really like what he has done to this point.”

(On Joe Haden’s progress)- “Good. I think he benefits a lot from having someone like Sheldon (Brown) around who is going through the same thing. It’s different in the sense that Sheldon can relate it to things he did in Philadelphia, but it is all new for Sheldon. That’s actually a plus for a guy like Joe because as Sheldon is learning, he can help Joe along. They’re both new, they both play the same position and it can be a mentor/mentee type relationship.”

(On Haden’s quickness)- “I think it’s gotten better. I think all of those young guys in the secondary, the first rookie camp they had been on the lecture circuit and their legs looked heavy. But now, they have been playing football, they have been doing football-specific movements and they look like they are playing a lot faster than they were. They are starting to pick up the information. It’s not where they’re going to be and hopefully they get there as quickly as possible, but it’s a lot better than it was because they are back in a routine and their bodies are responding the way that I’m sure they are used to it responding. T.J. Ward too has had a couple of nice days.”

(On where Chris Jennings and James Davis fit in the running back rotation)- “Chris got a lot of experience because of the opportunities that were available and he’s making progress. James, even though he missed the playing time, he was in the meetings, he was part of the whole process. Similar what happened to Chansi Stuckey his first year. He came in, he played for a little bit, he got hurt early, but he learned that whole first season and it showed up a lot that second season. I’m excited about seeing both of those guys. Now you have Jerome and Montario and Peyton (Hillis) is working in there, some good depth and some good competition. Competition is healthy, it pushes everybody to be better.”

(On how Davis handled his injury last season)- “I think he’s handled it really well. He’s been on top of his rehab throughout the whole process and I get the sense that he’s excited to be back in the football-specific things. We are excited to see how he does this year because he did a lot of good things early last year.”

(On if he would be opposed to starting two rookie safeties)- “I’m definitely open to that. In New York, we started two rookie offensive linemen that first year with the center and the left tackle. Eugene Wilson and Asante Samuel played a lot their rookie season in New England. It just depends on where they are and there are a lot of veteran guys that are going to work to not let that happen and that’s what you’d expect. But if they’re the best guys, you may take some lumps early because they are rookies, but typically those guys continue to move up and excel as they play and gain experience.”

(On what veterans will compete for a safety position)- “(Mike) Adams he has worked quite a bit at corner, he can work at safety. You have Bubba (Ray) Ventrone; he’s been working in there. Nick Sorensen’s been working in there. DeAngelo Smith has been working some at safety. It’s like anything else, you want everybody to be here, but if they are not here what that does do is create extra reps for Larry (Asante), for T.J. (Ward), whoever it is and it’s great for them to get that experience now, and again, you want everybody to be here, but it does create some real learning opportunities for the young guys.”

(On what you can learn about the offensive linemen this time of year)- “We learn whether or not they understand the whole concept because you can understand your spot. Shawn (Lauvao) actually has been working a little bit at center, and I think that’s a good thing for him because you have to know everything that’s going on if you’re playing that spot and ideally he can play any of those three interior spots, center, left guard, or right guard and you have to know it. If you don’t know it you can’t function and you want him to get comfortable, but you also want him to understand the full concept of the protection.”

(On his level of confidence that David Veikune will pan out as a high draft pick)- “With all the draft picks when we take them we believe they’re going to work out and I believe that David’s really benefitted well from some opportunities that have been created at the inside linebacker spot without having D’Qwell (Jackson) here. He’s gotten quite a few reps and I think he’s done a nice job. I think some of the value with linebackers really has to be determined once the pads come on. You can see where they fit, you can see their drops, you can see their communication, but part of playing that inside linebacker spot is your ability to go up and thump and I think that is something that David showed in college. He showed different levels last season, but this is good work for him in terms of processing everything. Now ideally when it comes time to hit, it’s where the added value comes in.”

(On if Veikune is an unusual fit at inside linebacker)- “No, I don’t think it’s unusual for them to, for one, for the team to go through the process of figuring out where the right spot is, and then you know sometimes its better inside, sometimes its better outside. Tedy Bruschi was a defensive end who worked primarily in sub his first year and then we moved him in, when we got to New England, moved him into an inside backer spot. He was good, wasn’t Tedy at that point. You learn and you grow in the system and experience different things, but when you take a guy who has had his hand in the dirt and stand him up, it’s not easy. Willie McGinest you know he had to stand up, Mike Vrabel he had to stand up, Rosevelt Colvin when we got him as a free agent from Chicago he had had his hand in the dirt and he had to stand up. You go right on down the line of those guys. There’s a ton of them and you need them big. Big, strong and usually those guys play down in college.”

(On what he sees in Tony Pashos)- “He’s very serious about what he does. He’s all football all the time which is good. Where he’s going to fit, guard, tackle, starter, backup, I couldn’t tell you right now. I think that there’s a good group over on that right side fighting it out and we’ve just got to see who comes out on top.”

(On if instant replay has made the game better)- “Yes, I think that anytime you can get the call right it’s a good thing and the call last night was against the Tribe, right? I thought it was an out. It was the Tribe. I don’t know, an out is an out. You want to get it right, at the end of the day you want to get it right and sometimes you benefit from it, sometimes you don’t, but you can live with the fact that it was right.”

(On if it is important to have the element of human error in sports)- “Yes, if it helps you it’s the best. If it hurts you, no, you want to get it right. Where you stand depends on where you sit.”

(On if he is a baseball fan)- “I’ve become a lot more of a baseball fan. I’ve gone to a lot of games with Mark (Shapiro) and he’s coached me up on it.”

(On if there should be more instant replay in baseball)- “What does Mark (Shapiro) think? Whatever he thinks, I’m with Mark.”

(On what the best part of the offseason has been up to now)- “Anytime you come into a place there’s so many different things you have to deal with on the business side, the team side, the organization side. There’s also moving your family, you’re getting adjusted to a new community, you’re getting the kids in school, all those things where this year it’s been nice to have, for me personally, it’s nice to have everybody settled, to be able to go and spend some time at the boys’ school, to just free up some time to do some things that are just regular family fun things that you miss out on. My family was in New York for a long time last year until training camp and you have to get a house. There’s so many things that you’re not dealing with now and that’s been a real pleasure and just being able to enjoy the boys this offseason has been great for me.”

(On any changes to how he is running OTA’s this year compared to last year)- “We change stuff each year. What we do is these things, I know I’ve talked about this so I hope I’m not boring you, AAR’s which is the after action reports, so once we get done with this camp and this minicamp, each department will fill out their AAR. Things we did well, things we did poorly, suggestions for next year, any other ideas that you have, and what I’ll do with the coordinators and usually it’s with that group and myself, is go through and look at it and say, ‘Okay, what can we do differently before the next event.’ There have been a lot of little things, I wouldn’t say there has been any dramatic changes. Difference this year too is these have all been OTA days as opposed to voluntary minicamps, so the time is more restricted so you just have to be that much tighter on your install. We had a little more time last year with those camps we were able to run.”

(On Jake Delhomme)- “He’s had a really good week. I’m getting to know him and Brian’s (Daboll) getting to know him. He’s really bright. Chad Pennington was really bright. Jake just picks things up and some of it is him picking up and some of it is just him knowing, him understanding and you don’t have to go too in depth with why you’re doing it because he gets it. He had, we call it tools offensively, where if you’re in a bad play you might not have another called, but you have the ability to signal to the receiver to run a slant or you can run a bubble screen. Those are just built in every play and he’s used a lot of those tools over the last week or so and that’s good stuff. He’s gotten the offense out of some plays that worked very good just by him understanding. His use of cadence has gotten better and better and it’s nice too from a defensive perspective because he’s challenging those guys. If your disguise isn’t right, he’s going to get you. You can teach both ways with it from where I am.”

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