The Real Mad Dog

Matt Roth has displayed "mad dog" like traits in his short time with Cleveland, and that is just fine with Roth, coach Eric Mangini and the Browns defense.

BEREA, Ohio — Browns fans painfully remember in 1987 when the team traded linebacker Chip Banks and swapped first-and-second round picks in order to draft Mike Junkin from Duke with the fifth overall pick in the draft.

Then scouting director, Dom Anile, said Junkin played like "a mad dog in a meat market."

Matt Roth was told a former Browns linebacker was given the moniker and wondered if he would like that nickname.

"My mom won't, but I'll take it."

Roth didn't know it was used to describe one of the biggest draft busts in Browns' history. However, if Roth continues to play like he did at the end of the 2009 season and against the Bengals last Sunday, he might be the real mad dog.

Eric Mangini said that Roth plays angry.

"He's just strong," Mangini said. "He's physically strong. He wrestled in college, so he understands how to use leverage and angles and throw guys off. He had two sacks, but he had another rusher where he blew up a guard. He had another play against one of their tight ends where he threw him off.

"It's attrition with him," Mangini added. "There are the ones that he gets and then there's the other hits that happen over the course of the game which establishes a presence. He's hard to block with a tight end, he can challenge any tackle that they put out there and he's just angry. It's a good angry."

Mangini was quick to point out that Roth doesn't have anger issues.

"No, not anger issues," he said. "I never said anger issues. I said he plays angry. There's no anger management issue that I'm talking about (joking). It was the same thing in New York getting ready for him.

"We opened with Miami and I remember having discussions with (Brian) Schottenheimer saying, ‘This guy is really tough.' We disagreed on how tough and I think he had two sacks against us. I was like, ‘He's really tough, isn't he?' He's developing as a linebacker too, which is nice to see."

Roth has two sacks last Sunday , including a big one on Carson Palmer at the end of the game that helped seal the Browns win.

"I play with controlled anger," Roth said. "I'm competitive when I'm out there.  I like to run around and hit people."

Mangini said his ability to play the run and rush the passer is a rarity.

"He's just physically strong and aggressive," Mangini said. "He can leverage his body. He had a couple of sacks, but there are other hits over the course of the game that establishes his presence."

Mangini said that Roth's opponents at tight end take a beating over the course of a game. Ben Watson said he was relieved when training camp finished because he didn't have to go against Roth twice a day.

"I can't imagine lining up across from him because you know what's coming," Mangini said.

Roth, at 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, has 18 tackles on the season, including six last Sunday.

"You want to play aggressive," Roth said. "It's infectious and guys feed off that. It's always important. It's physical. It's not always going to be an easy day. Sometimes, when (the receivers) run around, catching routes, they are going to think twice about coming over the middle and they're going to think twice of running it. It starts getting in their head a little bit and that's always what you want as a defense."

Roth said he's confident going up against any tight end in the NFL, in terms of taking him on in the blocking schemes. He was asked if there is a tight end that he cannot handle.

"I haven't seen him," he said. "That's my deal. I go to the tight end side and try to rough those guys up."

Roth says he knows early in a game if he can take advantage of his opponent.

"You know going into to it that it's going to be a mismatch and the team counts on me winning that mismatch," Roth said. "That's what I want to do."

Mangini was asked if it's tough to decipher a player's attitude on the field versus off the field when acquiring players.

"I think it's really important to make that distinction," Mangini said. "That's why it's a driving factor in getting to know guys. You do have to dig deep to find out some of those things."

Mangini said that he will take as many physical players as he can.

"I love that because you want as much of that as you can get," he said. "You want the (offense) to have a price to pay over the course of the game."


Looks Like Jake (for real): QB Jake Delhomme came through Wednesday with no setbacks.

"I am very encouraged," Delhomme said. "I think it will come down to how I'm able to execute the moves I need to make. But, I'm very encouraged."

Mangini agreed in his assessment prior to Thursday's practice.

"He came through pretty good," Mangini said. "He did more than he did last week. It was a positive and we'll play it by ear the rest of the week. Seneca (Wallace) got a lot of reps and both will be ready."

Mangini said he doesn't think Delhomme will be 100 percent, nor does he need be to play.

"At this point of the season, I don't think anyone is 100 percent," Mangini said. "It's more a function of being able to do what he needs to do to operate effectively.

"Overall, I thought he threw the ball well."

Hardesty Sighting: RB Montario Hardesty was in the locker room on crutches getting ready for rehab from his ACL surgery to his left knee. He appeared as though he would talk, but then decided not to. He was using one crutch and putting weight on his injured leg.

Injury Update: DL Kenyon Coleman (knee), OL Alex Mack (shoulder), DL Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip), DL Robaire Smith (back), DB Nick Sorenson (calf) and OL John St. Clair (ankle) all missed Wednesday's practice. WR Josh Cribbs (ankle), QB Jake Delhomme (ankle), OL Shaun Lauvao (ankle) and WR Brian Robiskie (hamstring) had limited participation, while RB Jerome Harrison (thigh) fully participated.

Mangini said that Rogers would practice Thursday, but the others would not.

For the Falcons, only three players were listed on the injury report, all being questionable: WR Michael Jenkins (shoulder), LB Curtis Lofton (knee) and LB Sean Weatherspoon (ankle).

JH in the Dog House?: Mangini was asked if RB Jerome Harrison was in the dog house as he didn't receive any carries last week against Cincinnati.

"No, not at all," Mangini said. "He'll probably have some opportunities this week."

Harrison was on the field for the final three plays that the Browns kneeled in running out the clock.

Harrison's body language in the locker room last week suggested he was unhappy. Mangini said he hasn't had any conversations with Harrison about playing time.

"We haven't had any talks," Mangini said. "Peyton played really well last week and he got more opportunities."

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