BEREA—Despite a big game from Jerome Harrison, Eric Mangini and the coaching staff singled out center Alex Mack as the offensive player of the game for his performance against the Raiders.
Mack was leading the charge at the point of attack in the Browns’ 164 yard rushing total against Oakland.
Mangini wouldn’t say it was his best game of the season, but termed it ‘Probably, his most complete game.’
Mangini singled out the Chiefs game as Mack’s best when he helped the Browns rush for over 300 yards.
Last week, Mack was called for a personal foul near the end of the first half when he got into a scuffle with Gerard Warren and Richard Seymour, but learned from his mistake as he was able to keep his emotions in check when they tried to bait him later.
Mack said he thought he has been playing well.
“I thought I’ve done a good job,” he said.
Mangini has compared Mack to the Jets’ Nick Mangold since training camp and still says that Mack’s rookie season reminds him of the former Ohio State star.
“He reminds me a lot of Nick (Mangold’s) first season,” Mangini said. “They’re both really conscientious players that have character and intelligence.”
Mangini said the center position is very difficult, especially for a rookie.
“For a young guy to know what he has to do and to play every snap of the season is impressive,” he said. “There’s a lot of responsibility and for him to come and play really well is impressive.”
Mangold was drafted in the first round in Mangini’s first year in New York, similar to Mack. Mangold was named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday.
Mangini thinks Mack can accomplish the same things Mangold has.
“I think (Mack) has potential and the work ethic to do that,” he said. “Nick has committed to getting bigger and better. I see the potential for Alex to get better.”
Mangini traded down several times on draft day and wound up with Mack. He said that he specifically wasn’t the player targeted by the Browns.
“We identify a range of guys and weren’t sure who would be there and if there would be any trades or if you would have the ability to trade or not.”
Mack said this has been the longest season of his career, in more ways than one.
“It’s a very long season,” he said. “At around the bye week, I realized we still had another half a season left. That was kind of daunting.”
Joe Thomas has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons. Mack was asked about that feat.
“I can’t match him, now.”
Thomas, Cribbs Honored: OL Joe Thomas is the first Browns player to make the Pro Bowl in three successive seasons since Hall of Famer Gene Hickerson did so in the late 1960’s.
“I’m quite honored,” Thomas said.
Thomas said the key to being successful on the line is simple.
“When you look at an offensive lineman, it’s usually about limiting the number of mistakes made,” he said. “There’s no secret. You just have to treat every game you play like it’s the Super Bowl.”
“I am really happy for those guys,” Mangini said.
KR Josh Cribbs, not only made it as the kicker returner, but was second alternate for kick coverage.
“It’s an honor that I appreciate,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys on the special teams that this represents.”
Mangini Reacts: Mangini insisted that he could work under Mike Holmgren and a new GM, despite being in charge of everything since his hiring.
“Like I’ve said before, any way we can get better, I’m all for,” he said. “The more people you have in the building working toward the same goal is great.”
Mangini was asked if he was nervous about meeting with Holmgren next week.
“I’m just anxious for this week’s game and I’m not focusing on external things,” he said. “I need to focus on what’s important and make sure we keep on task.”
He said he really is not worrying about the future.
“You can only control what you’re doing,” he said. “All those questions are in the future.”
PFWA Awards: The Cleveland Chapter of the Pro Football Writers Association voted WR/KR Josh Cribbs as the Player of the Year. LB David Bowens was the Good Guy Award recipient. Cribbs was a unanimous winner in the voting.
Browns Awards: OL Alex Mack was the Browns’ offensive player of the week, while LB Matt Roth was the defensive player. DB Nick Sorenson was Special Teams player of the week, while RB Thomas Brown was the practice player of the week. Mangini said that the players of the week get a game ball, their picture posted and a better parking spot.
“That’s about all we’re allowed to do,” Mangini said.
Roster Moves: The Browns re-signed OL Scott Kooistra and waived LB Arnold Harrison. They also signed DB Joe Porter to the practice squad. Kooistra was with the Browns from Dec. 22 to Dec. 26 before he was released.