BEREA - It was pointed out early in training camp by the OBR that the Browns appeared to be dangerously thin at the safety position.
Brodney Pool has been the free safety, which is a key position in Rob Ryan’s defense. However, Pool has suffered at least three concussions in his young career and he might have suffered another one in last week’s game with the Lions. Pool appeared to be dinged early in the game and did not return. He was seen walking from the locker room in street clothes after the game, but was absent from practice on Monday. The Browns do not disclose injuries.
It might be a coincidence but the Browns signed Tra Battle yesterday, who is listed on the depth chart as a safety. Others listed at the safety spot besides starter Abe Elam are Nick Sorenson, Hamza Abdullah and rookie Bret Lockett.
“I’m always interested in creating depth at all the different positions,” Mangini said. “Hank Poteat has played safety and even Mike Furrey was a safety (with the Rams).”
If Pool is out for any length of time, Mike Adams will most likely step into Pool’s role. Adams is not a stranger to the role. Last year, he played in 14 games with five starts with 42 tackles, two interceptions, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Through the first two preseason games, Adams has four tackles with a pass broken up and a fumble recovery.
Mangini says he’s confident in what Adams can do and really likes his versatility.
“Mike is a valuable player for us on special teams and he’s work in at other positions,” he said. “He can play in different spots and be used in multiple ways.”
Mangini, as is customary, wouldn’t commit to Adams as Pool’s replacement, if Pool is out.
“He’s worked at it and I’m looking forward to seeing his continued improvement.”
Adams (5-11, 200) is in his third year with the Browns and sixth year in the NFL out of Delaware. Adams played his first three NFL seasons with the 49ers before joining the Browns as a free agent in 2007. He signed with the Browns as an unrestricted free agent this past March.
Keys to Turnaround: When Mangini became the Jets’ head coach, the team was coming off a 4-12 season. The first year his team went 10-6. Mangini doesn’t think there’s any special formula to making that happen.
“The most important thing is each year is its own entity,” he said. “You don’t start at 4-12 or 10-6. What I stressed with the (Jets) and what I stressed to this group is to determine what is the task at hand. It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past, but rather what do you have to do to get better right now. It’s amazing what you can do if the team is focused on the task at hand.”
The Browns are also coming off a 4-12 season and Mangini said the turnover in personnel with the Jets was similar to what has happened with the Browns.
“I think it’s pretty common with any transition,” he said. “You’re always trying to get better. That’s the goal is to search to make the team better.”
Mangini said one of the things he did was change up the locker room set up. In the past, the players lockers were by position, where now they are all interspersed. He’s hoping to develop more comraderie.
“We’re a team,” he said. “On Sundays, it’s the Browns defense, not the D-line or the O-line.”
Tour de Berea: Several players were on the stationary bikes or working individually with the trainers: DL Shaun Rogers, LB David Bowens, RB Jerome Harrison, OL Isaac Sowells, OL Ryan Tucker, LB Titus Brown and OL Rex Hadnot. DB Brodney Pool and OL Fred Weary were not on the practice field. DB Eric Wright went to the locker room briefly. WR David Patten was practicing with the team.
Open Spots: Mangini said there are still roster spots open. The first mandatory roster cuts are looming and Mangini said Saturday’s third preseason game with the Titans will determined some of the spots.
“I think quite a few are still open,” he said. “Typically, you carry only so many players at a position. There are a core group of spots and you get some late pushes and you get some guys banged up that make a difference.”