BEREA—Second-year center Alex Mack is ready to build on his rookie season where he started all 16 games. After being drafted by the Browns in the first-round, the rookie from California continually progressed as the season wore on.
“The biggest thing is a different starting point,” Mack said. “Last year, I was right out of college.”
He said there is no substitution for experience.
“The biggest thing was playing in all of those games, so I have a lot more reps in games and in practices,” he said. “So, I’m a lot further along. Toward the end of last year I was a lot more comfortable.”
Eric Mangini was on Mack a lot early in his rookie year and Mack was often seen running a lot of laps for mistakes he made.
That hasn’t been the case this year.
“That’s typical, especially at center” Mangini said. “You are a rookie. You’ve got to handle the snap count. You have to get the ball up every time.
“You have to help run the offense,” he said. “It’s a lot to ask from a guy and I thought he did it really well last year, especially taking into account how young he was.”
Mangini knows the importance of the center position and that’s why he drafted Nick Mangold in his first year with the Jets and Mack when he came to the Browns.
“I think it is really challenging and you have to understand, he’s dealing with both sides of the line,” Mangini said. “Most of the offensive linemen, they are taking care of their half of the line and he’s dealing with the big picture. He is also dealing with the quarterback. You are working with that group, making sure everybody is sound in terms of what their assignments are an the quarterback can come up, change the play completely and you have to go through that same progression. The snap count usually changes when the play changes, so there’s a lot to remember and you have to be able to process quickly and Alex can. Nick Mangold could. It’s hard for those young guys to play early there.”
Mack thinks the Browns can continue to run the ball well and build upon their success in the last four games.
“I think we ended up running the ball well the last four games and think we can continue from there.”
Bike Brigade: Besides the three players on PUP (DL Shaun Rogers, DL C.J. Mosley and DB Coye Francies), DB DeAngelo Smith (knee), RB Peyton Hillis (leg), LB Titus Brown (undisclosed) and DL Derreck Robinson (undisclosed) were on the stationary bicycles. DB Chris Roberson went down and was carted off the field with what looked like a leg injury trying to defend a pass on WR Josh Cribbs. Mangini said he will have tests.
P Dave Zastudil (knee) also was missing as he was getting his knee checked.
Rogers and Mosley were doing one-on-one drills on the side with the blocking sled.
However, Mangini was asked about Rogers’ return and he said he “wasn’t close” to returning. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is scheduled to be in Berea Thursday and there might be word on if Rogers would be suspended forthcoming.
Quick Hits: DB Gerard Lawson intercepted two passes in the 11-on-11 drills, including one he returned for a touchdown from QB Colt McCoy. The other came against QB Seneca Wallace.
“It’s a way to show up on tape and be noticed,” Mangini said of Lawson.
The third-year player has mostly played on special teams in his time with the Browns.
Day Off: Mangini said he gave the players a break from the practice field on Tuesday, in part because of the progress the team has made.
“I think you understand the team better and the guys are making the progress we want them to make,” he said. “I thought (no practice) had a good effect and gives them a recovery day.”