BEREA, Ohio — Many people who follow the Browns felt that John St. Clair had a rough season in 2009, which concluded by missing the final two games with an ankle injury.
Many felt St. Clair’s future was doomed when Floyd "Pork Chop" Womak played well in place of St. Clair and the Browns signed 49ers right tackle Tony Pashos as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Eric Mangini was recently asked how St. Clair has done thus far in 2010.
“Good,” Mangini said. “I think he has had a pretty consistent camp. Really, that whole group that has been working together has had a pretty consistent camp. They really have a lot of experience working together last season, which has carried over to this season and the work they got in the spring, as well. I’ve liked what they have done as a group and I think that John has been consistent, as well.”
St. Clair was victimized early last season when Broncos’ Elvis Dumervil had three sacks against him. Mangini said some of the blame was the blocking schemes.
“That game was early,” Mangini said. “I think that people didn’t really appreciate Dumervil’s ability at that point. He gave a lot of people rough days as the season went on having 16 sacks. I don’t think there was an appreciation for how good of a rusher he was going to be in that system. Really, in that game we could have done a better job as coaches bringing back over there to chip and I’d like to have some of those decisions back from a coaching perspective, as well.”
St. Clair admitted he could have played better, but says he’s always ready to move on.
“My glass is always half full,” he said. “Sometimes you make mistakes. I’m not going to get down on myself. I’m even keel. You never get too high or too low. This is the NFL.”
St. Clair is in his 11th season with the Browns. He has missed the past several training camp practices with an undisclosed injury, but Mangini said he would be back at practice Thursday night. He had been working with the first team at right tackle and is listed on the depth chart as the starter there, for now. Womack, who played right tackle in place of St. Clair last season, has been out of training camp with a knee injury.
“I’ve been through (training camp) eleven times,” St. Clair said. “I’m working hard and trying to improve on what I didn’t do well last year. Any time you get injured and try to come back working hard and trying to capitalize on the opportunities I’ve had and improve my play.”
St. Clair played center in college and has played every position on the line in the NFL. If he makes the final roster it very well could be because of his versatility.
“I’ve played all over in the NFL and they’ve moved me all around,” he said. “Injuries happen and it’s always good to play multiple positions.
“I can play any position on the line and any place they put me I will contribute and perform.”
Haden Improving: Mangini said that rookie cornerback Joe Haden is coming along well.
“I like a lot of what I see of him,” he said. “He gained experience last week against Green Bay’s offense which is one of the best offenses in the league. It gave us a lot of things to coach off of and it gives you a lot of things to teach from. “
Haden is listed as the backup to Sheldon Brown at right cornerback. Mangini said Haden is still in the mix for a starting job.
“We have a few more opportunities to see how it plays out,” Mangini said. “The key for Joe is how he can help us. You want a competitive situation. A starting spot isn’t given to anybody, it has to be earned and he’s working at it.”
Haden, the seventh overall pick in the draft, is saying the right things. He said it doesn’t bother him if he doesn’t end up starting.
“The best players will play,” Haden said. “I want to just keep improving and put my best foot forward.”
Hardesty Update: There has been some rumors that running back Montario Hardesty had arthroscopic surgery to his knee, and that he would be out a little longer than originally stated.
“There’s been no setback,” Mangini said. “He’s made some strides and we’ll see where he is next week.”
With Hardesty missing as much time as he has, it’s appearing more and more as though running back Jerome Harrison will be the primary back.
“The biggest thing is his understanding of the system and his confidence level,” Mangini said. “He’s done it in meaningful games, so he’s come a long way in the system. He’s a confident guy and it always helps when it’s reinforced in games.”
Harrison carried the ball 34-, 39-, and 33-times in the final three games last season and he totaled 561 yards in that span.
“Jerome did a great job and I think he will do a great job,” Mangini said. “We have other backs who can carry some of the load, as well.”
Mangini said that thinks Harrison can carry the load, if necessary.
“Having Leon Washington (with New York) and feeling he could handle as much as we gave him,” he said. “As (Harrison) continues to learn and grow, he is going to get better and better. He has great skills and as you marry that with continued growth, he should continue to get better.”
Seneca’s Play: Mangini was asked if he has been more impressed with quarterback Seneca Wallace than what he was expecting.
“I don’t think it’s changed as much, but been reinforced,” he said. “It was nice to see him extend the play for a touchdown against somebody other than us in practice. Our confidence has grown as we have gotten to know him.”
Starters for a Half: Mangini said he is leaning to playing the starters for most of the first half against the Rams and added that Wallace will likely run some with the first unit.
Nothing New on Lauvao: Mangini was asked if there was any hesitation at allowing offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao to leave for Hawaii for personal reasons.
“Not at all,” he said. “There’s no hesitation on my part. Without explaining it, I’m not sure where it’s going right now.”
Mangini said the coaching staff tries to always prepare for these types of situations.
“We try to plan for that throughout OTAs and training camp,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”
Injury Update: The following players were on the stationary bikes for the morning practice: WR Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), OL Tony Pashos (shoulder), CB Coye Francies, DL C.J. Mosley (leg) and LB David Bowens (knee).
Mangini said that he expects St. Clair (undisclosed) and Pashos back for Thursday night’s practice. WR Carlton Mitchell left the field holding his left arm, while DB Gerard Lawson left with trainers working on his right leg. DB Brandon McDonald and RB James Davis were back at practice.
End of Training Camp: The official end of training camp end in terms of practices open to the public on Thursday night. Mangini said that the players still have some training camp left.
“It’s not the official end of camp,” Mangini said. “We have schedule one and schedule two, depending on how it goes.”
Mangini had a scheduled day off each week during training camp.
“You do one thing and you’re too hard and another and you’re too soft,” he said.
Mangini thanked the fans who attended training camp.
“I’d like to thank all of the fans who have come out to our training camp and supported us,” Mangini said. “The guys notice that and appreciate that. I’m excited for our new guys to get down to the stadium for this week’s first game at home.