BEREA, Ohio — Eric Mangini is hoping the bye week provides the Browns the boost that helped them in the second half of the 2009 season.
"Each year that I've been the head coach, I've felt very good about the work that we got done during the bye week and how that translated into the second half of the season," Mangini said. "I'm a huge believer if we use this time wisely, that we can make significant jumps. Even last year, we made big jumps defensively, we made big jumps offensively and each one of my experiences as a head coach has been the case.
"That's what I'm really excited about is a chance to now go back, look at the first part of this season and say, "Okay, this is what we are going to get fixed.' Show it to the players, write it up, practice it, review it and go into that second half of the season a better team because we've learned from this first part of the season."
Mangini is 3-1 in his career in the first game off the bye week. Mangini's teams have a combined 20-15 (.572) record for the rest of the season.
After the bye week in 2009, the Browns improved in nearly every category on offense and defense. The Browns scored an average of 11.1 more points per game, while limiting opponents to a 39.9 fewer yards per game and 52 rushing yards per contest.
"What I'm excited about is the bye week because this gives us a chance now, as a staff and as a team, to go back through the first group of games," Mangini said. "We can look at what we did do well, what we did we do poorly, what do we want to continue to push forward on and how can we improve.
"We're going to use this time to work on us. It is very important for us to build for the second half of the season."
Mangini said it is no secret why the Browns are 2-5.
"Turnovers and penalties are two of the big reasons we haven't won more games," he said. "Those two areas we dramatically improved in the second half of last season."
The Browns had just eight turnovers after the bye in 2009, which was the third lowest in the NFL during that span.
To date, the Browns have faced the toughest schedule in the NFL as their opponents have a combined record of 29-16 (.644) record. The Patriots and the Jets, the team's next two opponents have a combined 10-2 (.833) record.
Mangini acknowledged the fact.
"We have a demanding schedule and it doesn't get any easier in the next couple of weeks."
Colt McCoy said this week is big for the team.
"We're close in a lot of areas," McCoy said. "This is a huge week for us to work on ourselves and what we can do better. We're excited (after the win over the Saints) and the guys have a pep in our step."
Not Worried: Mangini was asked if he felt the win over the defending Super Bowl champions would buy him more time as coach with Mike Holmgren.
"I know we talked about this stuff last year, it's not really my approach or how I'm wired to look that way," Mangini said. "You become a hypocrite when you ask others to focus on today and the importance of today and working on today and then you're looking down the road. To me, all of those things will work themselves out, but what I can do and what we can do is work on the next game and win that next game and then go from there. That's not going to be my focus now or four weeks from now or six weeks from now. To me, it's us, the group of guys, the team working towards the next opponent."
Clayton was signed after he was waived by the Patriots. Clayton was a sixth-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2007. He was on the 49ers' practice squad for the 2007 and 2008 season and spent the 2009 season on injured reserve. He was with the Browns on their practice squad before going to the Patriots' active roster.
Williams plays between 215-220 pounds.
"He has good size and vision," Mangini said. "He's a good sized back, a physical back a strong runner and he fits in with what we're trying to do."
Williams was a fourth-round draft choice of the Ravens in 2006. He played in 44 games and had 63 career receptions for 1,008 yards with four touchdowns. Clayton will wear No. 34 and Williams will be No. 88.
Mangini said the signing wasn't a reflection on wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.
"Mo will be back today," Mangini said. "We worked out Demetrius last week and we liked him. We signed Yamon (Figurs) because of his return ability and uncertainty with Josh. We talked and said, if we get a window we'd like to bring him on with the bye week and a little extra time to see what he can do."
Davis has four carries for nine yards on the season. Davis was a sixth-round draft choice from Clemson in 2009. He had a big preseason in 2009, but injured his shoulder in an ‘opportunity' session and was placed on injured reserve and missed the season.
"I wish him well I think he was making strides both as a running back and on special teams," Mangini said. "It wasn't really all about James, but we wanted to bring in Thomas."
Injury Update: Mangini said that neither quarterback Jake Delhomme nor Seneca Wallace will practice this week. He said that offensive lineman John St. Clair (ankle) and defensive lineman Shaun Rogers (ankle) will also be rested.
"We won't practice either of (the quarterbacks)this week," Mangini said. "The earliest would be next Wednesday."
Mangini said that Rogers played well against the Saints.
"I thought he did a good job on rushing plays when he hit the quarterback on three or four plays," Mangini said. "We want to continue to work him at end."
Mangini said that Massaquoi will be back at practice on Tuesday after missing a game with a concussion.
"I'm just glad to be back out there," Massaquoi said.
Massaquoi said he doesn't harbor any bad feelings toward linebacker James Harrison, who was fined $75,000 for the hit.
"It's just football," Massaquoi said.
Gameballs: Mangini said that linebacker Scott Fujita and linebacker? David Bowens were the Browns defensive players of the week, while offensive lineman Joe Thomas was the offensive player of the week. Wide receiver Carlton Mitchell was the practice player of the week. Punter Reggie Hodges was the special team player of the week.
Hardesty Update: Mangini was asked on the condition of running back Montario Hardesty and is rehab from ACL surgery. Mangini said that Hardesty and any rookies who are injured are included in all the meetings the players go through.
"All the young guys are here, including Montario," Mangini said. "They do their rehab and go to all the meetings. They go through the game plan process and are held to the same process as everyone else. Typically, there's a jump for them after spending the time with the team."
Mangini said he expects Hardesty to be able to practice during the off-season program.