Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini press conference 6-7-10
(Opening statement)- "Okay, a couple of things here this morning, what we are doing today is a situational practice. It's not all situation, but we will review each phase of special teams. Then we will do quite a few situational plays that deal with time management, so they could be the last plays of the game or they could be four minute offense, could be we need an extra five yards for a field goal with time being a consideration, no-huddle field goals, things like that. Then we will have a couple move the fields and a couple two minute periods, so ideally through the course of the practice, we will hit a lot of different areas, some very specific, some that just come up during the course of practice that we will be able to teach off of tomorrow and then teach off leading into it the next time we do it and use the tape of our current guys and combine that with things that have happened in the NFL. Kind of mirror them up and really use as a teaching tool. It's an intro for some guys, it's a review for some guys, but it's important things, depends on where you are, that we are trying to get across to the group.
"With the players now, it's kind of the same situation as last week. The guys that were sitting out, are still sitting out in terms of the rehab guys. A few guys are in different stages so they may practice at different levels. The one addition that we have is Lawrence Vickers. He's here today. Similar to Jerome's (Harrison) situation, he's signed the waiver or the form or whatever it is to participate, but has not signed his contract. He will be participating. I know there are a lot of different moving parts, but I've talked to everybody and they kind of know where they are in relationship to practice today. As discombobulated as that was, I hope it cleared a few things up."
(On if he has any assurance that the RFAs will be at minicamp)- "I don't think it's assurance necessarily. I think I'm optimistic that most guys will be here. We will just have to see how it goes. What it does do is that it keeps opening up some reps for other guys, which isn't a bad situation to have. Some guys are getting some additional learning that they may not have gotten if those restricted guys were here. Hopefully everybody will be here. We will just have to see how it plays out."
(On if he has had contact with the RFAs)- "Different coaches have talked to them or I have talked to them or texted them. It's not really an, ‘Are you going to be here?' type thing, more just what we're doing and if they want to get the information and different ways that we can get it to them. Just trying to keep their ability to stay current as open as possible."
(On David Veikune's improvement)- "Sometimes with that, it comes with experience and it comes with time. He has a year under his belt of hearing the terminology, learning the concepts of the defense, being on his feet, our offseason program, transition from living in Hawaii to living in Cleveland. All of those factors come into play. As I've said before, it hits different for each guy and I think he has really benefitted as well from being able to work with the first group and working in one spot I think has helped him too. All of those factors combined."
(On if Veikune has dropped 20 pounds)- "His weight has fluctuated a little bit. He came in a little heavier and he got a pretty light during the course of the season. I think right now where he is at is a real good weight. He's about 250-255, but he's put together.
(On Veikune saying he weighs 270)- "I better check that then. He won't be playing at 270, but he'll be probably more 255. Somewhere between 250-260 typically is what we have those guys play at."
(On if any players currently being held out because of injury will practice in minicamp)- "Probably not going to be able to participate during minicamp, I don't anticipate them. They're all a part of the OTAs. They go to meetings, they do those things. They may not be taking the reps on the field, but they are all actively involved in the things we are doing during the course of the day. With that, I really leave it up to Joe (Sheehan) and the medical staff and their doctors to make sure that we are progressing where we need to progress, they are getting the information they need to get and we are being as sound as possible to get them ready for training camp."
(On if today is Vickers' first day practicing during the offseason)- "Yes, this is Lawrence's first day back, so it was good to see him."
(On if Vickers' role will expand in the offense)- "I thought that he played really well, especially at the latter part of the season, so I'm looking for that same level of performance. I thought that he really grew in the system a lot and was a big part of why we ran the ball so successfully at the end of last year. Now he's probably got some rust that we are going to have to knock off here, these other guys have been going for awhile. We will just see where he is mentally and physically and take it from there."
(On if he would consider taking Joshua Cribbs off of kick coverage because of his impact in the return game)- "That's a tough question because he is an impact player there as well. I think what we will continue to do with him is see all the different roles and then try to prioritize the roles as best we can. With a guy like that, you don't know when he is going to make a play that can really change the game. Sometimes his game changing plays come in coverage, that's what you like about him. I don't know how exactly that will play out. He will work on the coverage teams, he will do all of the roles than he did, then we will see where he is. I think he's continuing to improve as a receiver, which I like. He's got the Wildcat stuff and you just have got to say, how many plays a game do we want him to play? You want to make sure he's ready for the return game, what's the best way to distribute that? If he comes off a return, you don't want to call the first play of the next series with him in it necessarily. There may be some times where you have to, but you're trying to balance that up with a guy that can do a lot of things in a lot of different areas."
(On if kick coverage is low on his priority list for Cribbs)- "Again it depends because sometimes what we have done with those guys is they may cover later in the game. If you have got a crucial kickoff or a crucial punt and you are protecting a lead or whatever it is, you have got to put your best 11 out there. We did that a little bit last year where maybe didn't play early, but he played later. You want to make sure you get that guy down."
(On how Chris Gocong fits in his system)- "The things that you can tell right now is that he is a really smart person and player, moves well, he is understanding the concepts well. The other part about projecting and taking on offensive guards and multiple plays during games it's hard to tell because you haven't seen it. You've seen it to some degree when he was in the 4-3 where he was uncovered, but it's different because it was play in and play out as opposed to eight or ten plays a game."
(On being impressed with Gocong's sack totals in college)- "Yes, I know what I saw in college and it was good and with us our sacks don't traditionally come from just one guy beating one guy. It comes from coordinated defense and everybody doing what they are supposed to do. We had the 40 sacks last year which I think the leader in sacks was six and a half so it's really a group thing. I forget how many different guys had sacks, 12 or 14, so we don't just necessarily look at it as, okay this guy versus this guy. There's a component to that but it's more the coordinated pressures and beating the scheme and being in the right spots."
(On if Ahtyba Rubin is continuing to develop)- "Yes, he was actually our defensive player of the week. He's consistent which we love about him. He's consistent. He does the right thing. He works hard every day. I always talk to guys about the evaluation process and that's do you know what to do, are you doing the things you're being coached to do and are you the same player every day. That last category he is outstanding. He comes in and you know what you're going to get and you like what he gives."
(On moving Shaun Rogers to defensive end)- "We will work Shaun some at end and he worked some last year. We'll continue to work him there and you want to have the flexibility to play the best guy so however that combination works out. He can play over at right end, he can play left end he can play at nose tackle. He's got the athleticism and he is also a knowledgeable guy he picks up things well so I don't think that would be too hard for him to do."
(On if he has seen Sheldon Brown influencing the younger guys)- "You know it's hard to measure exactly what the impact will be. I was talking to Joe (Haden), though, the other day and Joe has spent some time with him and enjoyed the time they spend. Sheldon's helped him with not just the scheme part of it, where to line up, but some of the things that Sheldon looks at from offensive formations. ‘Okay in this formation you're probably going to get this and this, you probably won't get this and that's really good because that's player to player. That's based on experience and that's really information that Joe wouldn't get without experience. You're teaching it, you're trying to communicate it, but it's nice to have that other teacher on the field. ‘Do you see why I did this? This is what I was thinking. This is what they gave us.' And we were just talking about how Sheldon has helped him with that."
(On the difference between OTAs and minicamp)- "It is an extension. It's accelerated though because through the OTAs we go three days a week and the install has been spread out over time and there have been blocks of time where they haven't been in the building. They have a chance to mentally go back, look at this stuff at their pace. Then you go into a mandatory minicamp situation. You have a lot of practices very close together. It's re-installing the same information so you have a base to build off of, but it's a lot faster and I think that's good, especially for the young guys, to get a sense of how it's going to happen in training camp where it's not spread out like they initially had it. It's really nice from a coaching perspective because you do have time to put in the first phase and what I mean by that is not necessarily the meeting time but the length of time and then you speed it up to give them a preview of how it's going to go in camp."
(On what days the minicamp runs)- "Just Thursday, Friday, Saturday."
(On Colt McCoy's development and if he is ahead of the curve)- "I think he's right there with the top that I've had. I thought that Kellen Clemens did a really nice job when we had him, in terms of picking up the information. With Colt, he is not getting a lot of reps right now which is different than his experience in college where he got a lot of reps he got to run it and he is learning about that process of being able to take mental reps, being able to watch things on tape and see how the people in front of him who are running it are doing it and that's a process for him too and he's done a good job with it. He's always studying. Him and (Brian) Daboll talk all the time outside of the meetings. He is relentless that way which is good. Brian's at home, gets a call, they'll spend time talking about the install. Brian's driving somewhere, gets a call and they probably talk more than Brian and his wife talk."
(On Evan Moore's development and fitting in)- "Evan is developing well and when we first worked out Evan he had a really nice workout and we brought him out and he was on the show team. When I really noticed him during one of our post-practice sessions early on we split him out, we were doing one-on-ones and it was the DBs versus the wide receivers and tight ends and he was split out at a wide receiver spot as a tight end against a defensive back. He made an amazing catch out there on a fade ball at which point you think, okay how do we get him a few plays with the offense now just to see how he fits in there and that's what happened. He came in and did a nice job with the show team, stood out in the post practice. We started giving him reps with the regular group. Not a ton, a few. See how he handled it, did a nice job there. Then it was right before the Pittsburgh game I showed a bunch of his highlights. I said ‘Okay, you're going to be up and you're going to play tomorrow.' The group knew, they always cheer when a guy gets bumped up and then Evan goes out and has a really nice game."
(On Shaun Lauvao)- "He's done well. He hasn't been on the track or the cross country circuit lately so he has been staying onsides which is good. He's worked on the right side. He's worked on the left side and he's worked at center. I think that has helped him get a sense of the whole picture and he is a smart kid just getting used to the new system. I've been pleased with his development."
(On Lauvao having experience at center)- "Yes, he worked there, didn't play there much but he worked there for versatility and that would help him here as well. He could back up all three interior spots or make a case for himself in all three spots."
Browns Player Quotes 6-7-10
(On if the rookies have impressed him so far)- "Definitely. I feel like they are showing the coaches what they want to see. They are making the right reads, making the right coverages because that's what it's all about in OTAs. Can they be coached? Are they coachable? Are they athletic enough to do what their coached? A lot of the guys are impressing the coaches and steeping through."
(On if fewer balls are hitting the field during practice than in the past)- "It's a lot more attention to detail. We are out there playing loose, it's a different atmosphere out there. You have a lot of veteran guys in the leadership positions and the rookies are following suit. There's no room really for mental errors and a lot of guys are on their job."
(On if he would like to have fewer roles on the team to focus on)- "Not at all. The more you can do, the better in this league. The older I get, the more it will die down. The more talent that comes on the team, the more it will die down. The more guys that we get at receiver, I might play less of that. The more running backs we get, I might play less of that. So it changes each year. No, not at all, the more I can do, the better. I want to do as much as I can for my football team to help them win."
(On getting reps at different spots on the offensive line)- "It's been good. I just got to get used to it. A lot of times coaches just kind of throw it all in terms of just testing me, just toss me in at center, left guard, right guard. So every day is kind of like a new experience. The biggest thing is just becoming consistent more and more every day."
(On competing for the right guard position)- "Like I said before, I just want to come in and just help the team in any way possible. So whatever coach sees fit, I'm more than willing to do so whether that be center, left guard, right guard, I'm more than willing to do whatever."
(On offensive line coach George Warhop)- "Hop is a good coach. That's one thing, he is definitely technical. He is real detail oriented. Just through this whole transition, he's helped me become a better player just within this little time together."
(On if there are a lot of changes this year)- "No, not really. This is going on our second year with Mangini's staff and there's some new faces with personnel and players and everything, but the system that was put into place last year is the same, nothing's changed. As you guys can tell you have been out for a few practices already. The way Eric's (Mangini) ran practice last year is the same this year. Just got a couple new faces and I think we got a good start this year that we're coming off of last year."
(On what steps the offense should take to improve)- "We should basically just improve off of how we finished last year. I thought the last four games we finished real strong. Obviously the goals for the coaches and the players are to build off the way we finished. We finished strong, obviously winning the last four, but I really think the last half of the season was a big improvement from the first eight games. If we can just build off that I think we will be headed in the right direction."
(On what the team can build off of from the end of last year)- "For one, just take the attitude. If you look at the way we finished those I think a lot had to do with the player's attitude going out there and just having the want to win. I think a lot of it also had to do with us everything just coming together all the pieces of the puzzle and then just basically start off, with wins where last year we didn't. It's rough being 1-10 and then trying to finish the season, so if we start off with some wins, it's going to help us out in the long run."
(On the differences he has noticed in the offense)- "This spring, we have really made a big focus on throwing the ball. It seems like we have really improved our passing game so far. I'm not in those meetings, so I don't know why. It just seems like we are completing more passes, not turning the ball over and really moving the ball on the defense. Granted, like you said, we don't have pads on, so it's hard to tell. Very positive things in the passing game so far."
(On why he came back before his contract was resolved)- "I was ready to work. I missed my teammates. I wanted to be back with those guys. I saw them on the internet having fun, so I was ready to come back."
(On how long he will be here practicing)- "I'm going to be here the whole week. I'll be here for minicamp and everything. I'm ready to work."
(On the rookie class)- "They are looking good. We have got a good class in, I'm liking them a lot. They are out there playing and they know what they are doing. They are kind of catching onto things fast, so I'm happy and I'm excited about it."
(On the differences between this year and last year's OTAs)- "Things are a lot smoother. We don't have to adjust as much as we did last year. We kind of know what coach expects and what he wants, so we come in with the right attitude. Last year, it was kind of unexpected not knowing what was going on. We know what he wants, we know what he expects of us and it's up to us to come out here and do it."