BEREA, Ohio —- Eric Mangini was asked about the fines being handed down by the NFL for helmet-to-helmet hits last week, particularly James Harrison, who knocked both Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi out of the game. Both are in jeopardy of playing this Sunday. Harrison was fined $75,000 and two other players were fined $50,000.
“The league does a good job of handling those matters,” Mangini said. “There is a rule in place and there were a number of guys fined.” I really believe the league is trying to get it right and they do a good job with that.”
T.J. Ward was asked if the fines and possible suspensions will affect his play. Ward was fined for his hit on Jordan Shipley three weeks ago.
“You can’t change something you’ve been taught and trained to do your whole life,” Ward said. “You don’t think about it. You’re just out there playing. You’re not trying to hurt anybody, it’s just instincts.
“You’re caught between a rock and a hard place.”
Evan Moore says the trend for defensive players to leave their feet is causing more helmet to helmet hits.
“I think the league is taking the right steps to correct the problem,” Moore said. “Launching doesn’t make for a tough player. Launching is more pronounced now. Players don’t wrap up as much because players have so much speed and power the guys know when they launch into someone the player is going to (be tackled).”
Colt for Two: Mangini wouldn’t announce it, but last week he said he was leaning toward starting QB Colt McCoy, if neither Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace can play.
“If we don’t have progress with Jake and Seneca that will be the case,” Mangini said. “Heading into (Wednesday), if the other two guys aren’t ready, he’ll start.”
Wallace was in the locker room with a boot on his right ankle, but when he took it off it didn’t appear to be swollen more than his other ankle. He said he’s progressing. Delhomme was not in the locker room during the time open to the media.
“It feels a lot better this week,” Wallace said. “We’re heading in the right direction.”
Wallace was impressed with McCoy’s debut.
“He played good,“ Wallace said. “The offense moved the ball. We just need to finish drives.”
McCoy said the Browns need a win more than anything.
“For us as a team, we have to find a way to win a game,” he said. “That’s the goal. That’s the most important thing. For me, there are a lot of things for me to get better at. I have to continue to work on those with another week of practice to prepare. New Orleans presents new challenges. They’re fast and they try to confuse you.”
Pashos Out: DL Robaire Smith (back) and OL Tony Pashos (ankle) also were placed on injured reserve and are lost for the season. Pashos was somewhat of a surprise as he was in the locker room after the game and didn’t appear to be injured.
Mangini said Pashos injured the ankle during the Steelers game, but it didn’t become evident until afterwards. From the way Mangini spoke, without saying specifically, Pashos broke a bone in his leg or ankle.
“He hurt his ankle and finished the game,” Mangini said. “Typically, that happens with the adrenaline going. He’s a tough guy. It’s one of those things that we found after the fact and he’ll have to miss the rest of the season.”
Mangini said that OL Floyd Womack, Eric Steinbach and newly signed OL Paul McQuistan would work at right ankle with Pashos and John St. Clair (ankle) out.
Smith, 32, will ponder retirement after going on injured reserve in two of the last three seasons. He had an Achilles tendon injury in 2008 and came back to lead the Browns defensive linemen in tackles in 2009 with 60.
New Guys: To replace Pashos and Smith, the Browns signed WR Yamon Figurs and OL Paul McQuistan. Figurs was drafted by the Ravens in the third round (74th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft and has played in 33 games.
Figurs has been primarily used as a kickoff and punt returner with 85 kickoff returns for 1,956 yards (23.0 avg.), including one touchdown. He has 42 punt returns for 340 yards (8.1 avg.) with a touchdown.
Figurs was released by the Ravens and split time with the Lions and Buccaneers in 2009. He signed with the Raiders and played in the season opener before being released.
The 5-11, 185 pound has only five career receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown.
His signing indicates that Cribbs might not be ready for this week’s game.
“He’s done (return duties) and I’ve seen him as a punt and kickoff returner,” Mangini said. “He’s quick. He’s fast and has good change of direction. That would be one role and we’ll have to see what else would be his role.”
Figurs said he’s returned four kicks for touchdowns in his career.
“My game is speed and playing different positions,” Figurs said. “The key is good blockers in front of you and you have to know the schemes.”
McQuistan was drafted in the third-round (69th overall) by the Raiders in the 2006 NFL Draft. He has played in 35 games with 12 starts, including six at right tackle.
McQuistan (6-6, 315) was most recently with the Jaguars until being waived on Sept. 15.
Mangini said he will practice at right tackle, along with Floyd Womack and Eric Steinbach.
Injury Update: Other than Pashos and Smith, Mangini said that QB Seneca Wallace and QB Jake Delhomme will not practice, as will WR Mohamed Massaquoi, WR Josh Cribbs, OL John St. Clair and DL Kenyon Coleman.
With the signing of Figurs, it appears that Cribbs and Massaquoi might not be ready to play against the Saints.
“They’re really in the first phase of (concussion) tomorrow we’ll know more and then Friday,” Mangini said. “They have to be symptom free, have base line tests and then examined by the doctor.”
Rogers Update: Shaun Rogers played very few reps against the Steelers after missing the majority of practice last week with an elbow injury. Mangini said Rogers’ lack of training camp and weekly practice has limited the opportunities to use him at defensive end.
“It’s getting better,” Mangini said. “The challenge is to not get the reps in practice and as the flexibility builds, you can do more of what you want with him.”