OBR Daily Blog 12/23

McCoy missed practice because of illness? Someone get him chicken soup, STAT!

Coleman Doesn’t Practice Thursday
Barry McBride on December 23rd, 2010 AT 9:14 PM

Per the Browns injury report…

DID NOT PRACTICE: LB Alexander, DL Coleman, TE Royal

LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Benard, DB S. Brown, RB Hillis, DL Rogers, OL St. Clair, OL Womack



Transcript: Rob Ryan, 12/23/2010
Barry McBride on December 23rd, 2010 AT 7:13 PM

(On what has been the biggest problem with stopping the run recently)- “Not to blame anything, that team did a nice job of running the ball on us.  I think we turned in 14 holding penalties that we thought should have been called.  I’m not going to officiate the thing but I think the league came back and told us they had nine of them that weren’t called.  Really tough to get off, those guys did a nice job of grabbing us or hooking us or some people call it holding us, tackling us.  When that big Bobbie Williams grabs you it’s hard to get off him, he’s 400 pounds.  They pushed us around a little bit too much in my opinion so once that happens and they’re hitting you in the mouth and they keep doing it, we’ve got guys trying to make plays, jumping in to different gaps and things and that’s human nature and then it got worse.  It was real difficult last week to stand there and watch as we couldn’t get our offense back on the field because we just couldn’t get off the (darn) thing.  It wasn’t a very good performance on our part and we look like we had to wait until they got into the red zone to stop them and that’s never a good sign when you’re calling defense.”

(On if holding could be called on every play)- “There’s holding in every play but then there’s this hooking and tackling and grabbing which I’m not going to blame anything.  You set these drills up in practice, we call them disadvantage drills where you hook a guy up, you put his arm behind his back and then they got to fight to get off the block, to get off the hold.  I’m not saying anything but when they’re tackling you, that’s kind of hard to get off.  I’m not one to complain, I’m not going to blame anything. I just didn’t think it was officiated as tight as it could have been.”

(On if officials will call a game tighter after being aware of this)- “I’m not real sure.  We turn our things in, our penalties in.  Our league is the best officiated league in sports I think.  I love baseball and you see guys blowing calls all the time costing guys no hitters and all that stuff so I’m not going to complain about it. We’ve got to do a better job.  If we do business, business is being done. If we’re getting held like that then we’ve got to figure out a way to get off them and make more plays and that’s what we need to do.”

(On if Jason Trusnik was held during a touchdown run)- “That was on the tight end actually and (Andrew) Whitworth’s a good blocker.  He didn’t play the assignment exactly correct and Trusnik jumped outside and he’s supposed to be inside.  We had the corner Eric Wright filling in for outside coverage so we duplicated each other in our run fit.  Any time you do that, you’ve got a problem and we also got reached on the play.  Our three technique got reached the guard came around him and hooked him which we’re supposed to be in the B gap there.  I don’t like to say comedy of errors but that was one play we were looking for, got the play, had the right defense called what I thought it should have been and then they ran in there unmolested.  I can wear a lot of hats but (darn) we should have had two guys in the hole making tackles.  I don’t know what happened.”

(On if they are playing as well as a group defensively as they were at the beginning of the year)- “I’m not going to say that.  I think anytime you take perhaps our best player off the field and our toughest player. We got Scott (Fujita) and Robaire (Smith), you’re going to lose something.  I don’t care who you are.  We’ve got guys fighting like (crazy), we’ve got good players to back these guys up and they do a good job.  Is it as good as it could be?  Probably not, we’re going to work harder, we’re working our tails off on these run fits, we know Baltimore’s going to come in here. They’ve got (John) Harbaugh as their coach and I know his dad and his dad ran a power play about 62 times against somebody so I’m sure they’re going to run that power play.  We’re going to have to answer the bell and I think we’re going to be up to the challenge in fact I know we will.”

(On if there is a let down on defense if the offense has to settle for a field goal)- “All we’re doing is thinking our next possession, we’re not even really considering what’s going on on offense, how many points, we’re going to play that next situation out.  Whether we go for it or not, we’re just thinking ahead and what we have to do to be better to get off the field the next time we’re on defense.  That thought about going for it and all that really doesn’t come into play until the very end of the game when you actually have a chance to watch the game you go, ‘Okay, we’re going to kick a field goal to win the game,’ so really that doesn’t come into play on defense.  We’re always trying to go three and out the next series or take the ball away.  We just play out the situations when they’re out there.”

(On if it would be easier if they had the leeway to give up a field goal)- “Sure you can point to that but there was nothing easy about that game last week for us.  If we played better and I don’t think I’ve ever said we need to play better on defense.  I’ve been here two years pretty much it’s always coaching or whatever, but I thought we needed to play better last week. I don’t think we necessarily played that well on defense and we need to do that.  To win these games we have to play better on defense.  I thought the young man moved the team well.  I saw him make some great plays out there out of the corner of my eye I was like, ‘(Shoot) that kid made a great play.’  We have to be on point as a defense and we haven’t been frustrated all year with our offense, our offense is doing a great job.”

(On Ray Rice)- “You know he’s tremendous.  We’ve had our work cut out for him every time we play him. They run the ball at will, they’re very committed to the run.  They got away from that somehow I guess I’m not sure why but obviously they came back and ran the football really well last week against New Orleans.  That’s the best thing they do is put the ball in this young man’s arms and let him do his thing.  He is a weapon out of the back field, he’s very good and we’ve done a nice job on him in the past. Scott Fujita did a fantastic job on him this year. Kaluka Maiava did a nice job the time before.  We know there’s a point of emphasis there we need to take this young man away as best we can and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”

(On if they need to have one player assigned to Rice)- “It usually works out that way whether you’re in man or zone, there’s always going to be somebody there first that’s got to make a play on him.  It’s a tough task.  We’ve had several of our players studying tape on this guy, what kind of moves he likes coming out after he catches the ball, is he a north south guy when he catches it, what kind of routes they give to him and things like that.  He really is a weapon.  I saw him catch that wheel route last week and he’s a tremendous player.”

(On how the Carolina and Baltimore games have bothered him this year and saying felt he got out smarted by Cam Cameron)- “Out coached, I never got outsmarted but he definitely out coached me in that first game.  That guy has been a long time nemesis of mine, he’s a pain in the (butt) to prepare for, got all the respect for him.  Didn’t necessarily like the touchdown pass he threw on us when he was up 30 some odd points against us with three minutes to go in the game one time before and I would love to return the favor.  I have a ton of respect for that guy but looking to kick his (butt) this Sunday.”

(On how Cameron is so good)- “He’s done about everything I think he’s got about everything in his playbook but obviously the best thing about Cam and all these offensive gurus is players.  When they got a ton of players, they got (Derrick) Mason out there and they’ve got (Anquan) Boldin, they got this (T.J.) Houshmandzadeh, (Todd) Heap when he’s healthy and Ray Rice, I mean I might be able to call some offensive plays too.  Thank God Jonathan Ogden retired.  They got weapons and he does a good job there’s no question.  He’s a scheme guy and you know I always claim I’ll out work them in the red zone because that’s the day they get tired.  Usually happens this guy is tough in the red zone, he must get his sleep earlier in the week because he does a good job of preparing, but we’re going to be here all night and we’re going to get it done tonight on red zone night.”

(On what he thinks of the league scheduling division games to finish the season)- “I think it’s great.  We lost the first phase of that to Cincinnati.  We beat them earlier in the year, but this is great division.  We have got great teams here.  We are going to be a part of that and right now, we need to beat these guys to show everybody we are a part of that.  This is a great division, it’s dominated by great players, but there are great coaches in it.  I think Eric (Mangini) is the best one out of all of them, so we will see what happens.  I think we will prove it these last two weeks.”

(On if Joe Haden will cover Anquan Boldin Sunday and if they will cover him tight)- “It will be a little tighter because there are only two people that got their butts kicked that game and that was me and Eric (Wright).  E-Wright came one at the end of the year, but this Joe Haden is the real deal.  He’s going to be on anybody tight.”

(On if Joe Flacco has gotten better since they saw him earlier in the season)- “I hope not.  He was great against us.  I don’t think he’s getting any better, I think this guy has arrived.  You say he’s a young quarterback, he doesn’t play like a young quarterback.  He’s like these fast rising stars, that Matt Ryan.  These guys are great and they’re going to be great for a long time.  We have to do a great job of disguising our coverage, a better job than we’ve done in the past to be successful against him.”

(On if he remembers anything about the Browns moving to Baltimore in 1996)- “I was shocked because we scrimmaged the Browns that year and they beat the (heck) out of us.  We thought we were going to be a good team, we had the second ranked defense in the National Football League.  We were going against these guys, they come in and practice against us and they beat the crap out of us.  We thought they might win the Super Bowl.  They had a great team, they had great talent and obviously (Bill) Belichick.  I thought they were well-coached and I’m not sure what happened there.  I know they ended up moving the team and that must have been something else around here in Cleveland without a football team.  I can’t even imagine.  We have got a team here, we are going to get better and we have been getting better.  A couple of tough losses, but we can come back with a couple of big wins and get this town excited again.”

(On it being hot during that scrimmage)- “It was hot.  I think I was weighing literally about 195 at the time, so obviously it was hot.  I’ve put on 100 pounds since.  It was hotter than (heck), but no one was getting lit up more than my DBs were against those wide outs.  Michael Jackson, all of those guys you had there.  Keenan McCardell, everybody is like, ‘Who is that?  He’s pretty good.’  That team was loaded.”

(On if he feels they have to win the last two games for the coaching staff to keep their jobs)- “I don’t know.  Maybe we do.  Like I said, I think Eric is a great head coach.  I think our staff is a great staff.  I’ll talk about defense, I think our defensive staff works their (tails) off.  I don’t know how many guys’ defenses are playing better than ours.  I know we are 10th in the league in scoring defense and fifth in turnovers.  We have had a lot of guys play.  Are we a top-10 defense?  I don’t know, we are going to find out.  We have got two more games.  We are trying to be a top-five in that, red zone, scoring the only team in the league not to give up 30 points, pretty consistent.  Have we been great all of the time?  No, but we have been pretty (darn) consistent.  We are hard to score on in the first quarter because we prepare.  There are a lot of things you can throw away, but if they bring somebody else in on defense good luck because he isn’t nearly going to be as good as I am.  As a head coach, I really believe Eric is a tremendous coach and this team believes in him guys.  Whatever it is, is he the poster boy of pretty boy coaches?  He’s good looking, he lost a lot of weight, the guy is handsome.  I know one thing, he is a great coach.  Our team, we have got a great team here.  If they break it up, I’m not going to farm anybody’s land, but that would be dumb as (heck).”

(On why job security isn’t entirely attributed to record)- “That’s a tough thing.  I think when you’re new to a situation, you want to come in and say, ‘We will win every week.’  I always think we are going to win every week, and then something happens.  We just have got to be more consistent, whatever it is, we have to play better in all three phases.  I think we are well-coached and I think our players play hard, they fight and they play aggressive.  It’s not an overnight thing.  It’s not like you can go out there and we did a great job of getting free agents.  We have got some of the best (dang) free agents in this league.  We really did, but you can’t go out and say, ‘Hey, here’s LeBron (James), here’s this other guy from Toronto and let’s just stick them out there and now you have got five guys playing on the court and hey, we are better than anybody.’  That doesn’t happen in football.  There’s 22 guys, 11 on offense, 11 on defense and it takes a little while.  Guys, you know, and you can see it, you know this team is growing.  This team is coming on.  Look at this young quarterback, this kid is phenomenal.  You watch out, this kid is going to be a superstar in this league.  It’s fun to watch.  Am I going to be a part of it?  Hey who knows?  We’ll see.  I want to be, but I also want to be a head coach.  Maybe I’ll be a head coach somewhere, what the (heck)?”

(On if their job security is entirely speculation and if nobody really knows what is going to happen)- “We definitely don’t know.  I’m not Mike Holmgren by any chance.  He does a great job.  He’s going to evaluate the situation as it is, and obviously there is going to be speculation because our record is not good.  We are 5-9 or whatever it is.  That’s just the way it is, but do I see our team improving every day?  Yes.  Do I see our guys working their (tails) off still, even though we are having a tough season?  Yes.  Are our guys into it working their (tails) off out there at practice?  Absolutely.  All I can say is in my room, I see guys trying hard, they fight hard, they believe in what our direction is as a team and we have got the right kind of guys that you win with.  Is it overnight success?  Not yet, but I’m sure it will be.”

(On if he still feels like he will be shocked if he is not a head coach somewhere by next year)- “I thought we would win more games and I think you have got to win more games to get a chance, but I’m not sure.  I’m not going to pretend I can’t do this job as a head coach, I know I can.  Am I frustrated?  No.  Do I enjoy working for Eric Mangini?  Absolutely.  I love to come to work every day.  Do I wish our record was better?  (Heck) yes, but one day I’m going to get that.  It’s not like winning a lottery ticket, “Oh, I have got one in a billion chance.’  No, I’m a good football coach and people are going to know that.  That’s just the way it is.”

(On if he would address the national stories concerning his brother)- “No.  That’s a personal thing with Rex (Ryan).  I love him to death.  Whatever happened, that’s between him and Mickey.  Whatever, that’s the way it is.  Screw it.  I don’t think all of us have wings on, except maybe Mary Kay (Cabot) (joking).”

Las Vegas Odds on Eric Mangini’s Job Security
Barry McBride on December 23rd, 2010 AT 4:05 PM

Las Vegas, as we know, bets on everything, including the ultimate fate of Browns head coach Eric Mangini. Right now, the odds are against him, as he’s going at +170 to be retained (a bet of $100 will return $170 if he’s kept) and at -250 (a bet of 250 will turn an additional 100 if he’s dumped).

Good luck to you risk-taking types, because I sure wouldn’t lay odds on this, given the impact that the lockout will have.


Colt McCoy Quotes, Dec. 23
Don Delco on December 23rd, 2010 AT 4:01 PM

QB Colt McCoy

(On how he feels today)- "I feel good, I feel better. Whether it was food poisoning or a little 24 hour bug, I don't know. I had something yesterday that wasn't good, but I'm over it now and I feel good. I feel better."

(On what he ate yesterday)- "I don't know if it was food or what. Yesterday, lots of stomach problems, but today I feel a lot better though. I had the game plan, I had everything going yesterday, so I feel better."

(On if he is feeling weak at all after being sick yesterday)- "I'm okay. All of my symptoms are over, my body feels fine. I'm just ready to get out to practice and go over these third downs and go over a lot of things in our game plan and get ready."

(On what challenges Baltimore's defense brings)- "Obviously, their defense is one of the best in the league if not the best. They have got great playmakers, great guys on their team, great leaders and guys that have been there for a long time. I'm excited about the opportunity to get to go out and play against them, to get to compete against them. At the same time, they're really good. They're a huge challenge for us and we have our hands full with them."

(On what the biggest problem is for the offense in third down situations)- "We're just inconsistent. We make some plays, we do some things right and then at times something happens. Whether we miss a block, miss a throw or miss a catch, catch the ball behind the sticks or there are just so many things we can do a better job of collectively as a group. We need to stay on the field. It helps our defense out, keeps them off the field, keeps them fresh and obviously converting on third downs lets you go a long ways and lets you score on long drives. We've got a lot of work to do with that."

(On if they are too predictable in third and short situations with runs for Peyton Hillis)- "Peyton is a great back. We have a lot of confidence in him and the offensive line to get the job done. We as a group have got to do better. We have got to put ourselves in certain situations that are better for us. The reason that we have been lacking in that is because we've put ourselves in third and longs, third and eight plus, third and nine, third and 10 and the percentages go way down of converting those. If we can keep it third and manageable, something that we can get, that we feel comfortable with and we have got a lot of calls for in that situation, I think we will be a lot better."

(On Ray Lewis saying that Hillis will not have the same success this time around against Baltimore and if they are planning anything else to attack their defense)- "We are preparing for them, this whole locker room is. It's a division game, we know they're one of the best teams in the league. Obviously they're one of the best defenses in the league and they are playing at a really high level right now. They beat the Saints, they beat the Texans, they have played some close games and we have got an opportunity to go against them at our place and we couldn't be more excited. Offensively, we are preparing for them just like we would any other team. They do a lot of different things, they are very complex and they know where they are supposed to be. They have got great leaders in the secondary with Ed Reed and (Dawan) Landry, those guys have played forever. Then in their front, they have got obviously Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson. They have got a lot of playmakers and for us to be able to know what they are doing, handle their moves, handle their stunts, I think if we can do that we can give ourselves a chance."

(On if he got away with a couple of passes that could have been intercepted last week)- "I think I had one early in the game maybe. For the most part, I felt like I was throwing the ball pretty well and we were efficient in the passing game. We have just got to collectively pull it together, play a little bit better, stay on the field longer, convert on some third downs and I think that will be a huge difference."

(On if Reed's presence changes how he plays)- "Ed Reed is obviously one of the best safeties in the game and has been for a long time. He's a playmaker. Sometimes you watch film and he'll line up in the middle of the field and at the snap of the ball, he'll be playing all the way across the other side or in the box or somewhere. He has a knack for making plays and he's somebody that you have to constantly be alert of, constantly be aware of, ‘Where is this guy? Where is he playing?' For me that's huge this week, knowing where he is."

(On how Brian Robiskie has come along for the offense in recent weeks)- "Robo has played great, especially last week he made some clutch plays. We had a couple of times there where we had to sight adjust and he was able to see it to run the right route and we converted. That was one of our third downs that we converted. He's coming along, he practices hard. That's one thing about the guys in this locker room, if I can say anything, we practice hard. We hardly miss anything out on the field. We have just got to play a little bit better and pick it up a little bit. These guys work really hard and we have got a lot to play for, we are playing for each other. I think that's going to be huge these last two weeks."

(On on balancing the offense against all of the pressure Baltimore's defense brings)- "They do a great job of putting pressure on you. I think a lot of it will be understanding where you need to go with the football as soon as you can. Not making a pre-snap read, but understanding, ‘Okay, I have got to get the ball out, they're coming.' Then obviously I think making plays with your feet when you have to. I think that's something that could help us offensively, especially on third down, is making plays."

Mangini Press Conference Transcript, Dec. 23
Don Delco on December 23rd, 2010 AT 3:50 PM

(Opening statement)- "Good morning everybody. The guys that are going to miss today are going to be Robert Royal and Eric Alexander. Kenyon (Coleman) is on his normal rotation, Peyton (Hillis) will be back, Colt (McCoy) is back. He had a stomach flu yesterday, thought he was going to be able to make it out and just couldn't. He was able to do part of the walk through and things like that but he'll get caught up here today. He looks a lot better here than he did yesterday prior to practice. We'll take care of that here through meetings and practice, a little extra time with the coaches. Evan Moore you saw we put on IR and we signed Ko Quaye who's a defensive lineman that was on Buffalo's practice squad. We had him in here for a workout maybe a month, month and a half ago and I liked a lot of the things he had done in the workout, we just didn't really have the spot for him and then with gaining the spot we brought him up so he'll be out there today. In terms of practice it's our big third down emphasis day and reviewing the corrections from yesterday but we need to make some strides on third down, both sides of the ball. Baltimore has been very good on third down, both sides of the ball and I'd say offensively they bring a lot of exotic pressures. There's so many throughout the course of the season it's hard to prep for all of them. Some of them are game plan specific, some of them are core ones but they built it a different way. Offensively, Cam (Cameron) I think does a really nice job with formations and disguising what the intent is to run the plays that they run, they've been very successful."

(On if it will be hard for McCoy to catch up after missing practice or if yesterday wasn't a detailed practice)- "There were a lot of details yesterday and he was able to get the information. He went to the walk through and really thought he had a shot at practicing but he took the reps in the walk through where he went through quite a few of the plays, it's just at a much slower tempo. That actually is a good thing because you can really take some more time to go through it and today he'll catch up at a higher speed as well as get the third down install."

(On if Seneca Wallace is going to be the second quarterback this week)- "I thought we were going to have some more opportunities to use some of the plays that we have with Seneca and I do like that package. I want to see where we are in terms of that package tomorrow and Friday and then make a decision after that."

(On why is Wallace the second quarterback when they didn't end up not using those package plays)- "At that point, if you don't use any of the plays and Colt doesn't get hurt it really doesn't make a difference. There's always the hope that you can move into some of those things. When you have as few plays as we had last week, there was a lot of stuff that we weren't able to get to, so ideally more plays, more chances, opens up some more things."

(On if Joshua Cribbs' foot was the reason they didn't use Wildcat)- "No, because it's a mixture. It's not just all Cribbs, it's a mixture of things so you can still do some other things that aren't foot related. I'm fine with using Josh in Wildcat stuff as well, we've progressed quite a few weeks here so it's going to be as good as it gets in terms of his injury."

(On if it would be wise to put a healthy guy in for Cribbs on kickoff returns)- "He's as healthy as he is going to be. There are times where he shows a lot of good bursts at practice. Each week, I think it gets better. He gets more comfortable with it and with Josh it only has to hit once. With the kickoff return this week I don't even know if it's 50/50 whether we will get a chance to return the ball because of how many touchbacks they've had, I think it's 38. It's pretty impressive in terms of their ability to control the return game through not really giving an opportunity to get the returns."

(On if Cribbs is useful on offense)- "Yes, he's useful. I think he's had better and better weeks of practice. He's caught a couple balls the week before last. I see him being an effective part of it really."

(On if Cribbs has been breaking tackles as well as he did last year)- "It's hard to say because I think that we need to improve, and this has been a point of emphasis, collectively on the return game because part of it is Josh it always falls on the returner but you also have got to give him a chance to get started. You also got to give him a chance to get going. It's a group effort and when Josh went to the Pro Bowl last year, he took all those guys with him because he understands and appreciates how important our ability to collectively execute the scheme is to give him the chance to do the things that he does. I think that's a really good indication of how everybody views it. Josh gets this award and brings all those guys with him."

(On if Cribbs' season has been unproductive)- "I would obviously love for him to have the same level of production that he had last year and he would love that too. It's not like he ever sits back and says, ‘I haven't done as much as I have hoped and better luck next year.' Josh is trying to be as helpful and productive and explosive as he can and he's a guy that has tremendous pride and tremendous commitment to the team. He's what you want from all perspectives so he's frustrated with it too. The other thing I like about Josh is he has a short memory which is what you need because he wants to go out and get that next chance and he's not going to linger. He's going to learn from things that have happened but he's chomping at the bit to get the next shot."

(On if Cribbs reported to camp overweight)- "No, it's fluctuated maybe two or three pounds. It's not like he came in linebacker size or anything, it's just been a fluctuation. That's not uncommon for skill position players it's like opinion polls, plus or minus two percent."

(On how he deals with the little time he has to be with his family during Christmas)- "It's hard, you're always trying to strike that balance. I've really tried any opportunity I get to maybe shift some things to different time slots so I can get to see the kids when they're awake. The window with two, four and six the bedtime window is pretty small though they have a way of extending it it seems each night. Yes, you really work at trying to get those windows and it's a balancing act. It's funny Luke is my middle one, he's a little bit more I don't want to call him wild but rambunctious. He swallowed a nickel the other night. I happened to be home thank God and he was fine but then they don't understand after that he's like, ‘Am I going to die?' I'm like, ‘No, no it's okay we're going to be okay here.' His older brother didn't help things any, ‘Yes, Luke it doesn't look good,' I'm like, ‘Enough.' You are navigating through stuff like that. It's passed, everything is okay now. Yes, he made change. It's just there so many great things this time of year because with the holidays it's like you get to live your childhood over again, the excitement that they have. Zack doesn't say a lot of words right now but he can say Ho Ho Ho. He doesn't know exactly what Christmas is but he's signed up, he's full board, he's ready for it. He gets it, it's exciting. I wish there was a great answer to that and I think it's one of those answers that evolves each year. In the offseason, in the summer there are some blocks that other dads don't have that we're fortunate to have and you try to create some really great experiences then too."

(On how the tooth fairy has been to the Mangini house)- "Yes, there's Luke again. Jake loses his tooth and he's six so that's about the right time, Luke loses his tooth because he's playing by the see-saw and somebody jumps on the see-saw and it hits him in the mouth. At first he cried then he realized the tooth fairy was coming so he was upsized so then he was cool with it. I can't imagine what teenage years are going to be like with him. The little one, great personality and he holds his own. He'll strike back, he's not going to be dominated by the other two."

(On what Tyler Clutts has been doing for the Browns)- "A lot of different things. He's played fullback, he's played linebacker, he's played d-end, he's played tight end, he's a long snapper so we'll try to find a role for him. Right now from a practice squad perspective, he's a great guy to have. We put him at all different types of spots. If you're down at tight end alright fill in here, you're down at fullback fill in here and he's playing everything at practice. He's a big guy, he's in really good shape which you'd have to be to play all of those spots. It looked like he had good hands in the work out. He does long snap which has real value because he'll be able to run and cover if that ever became an issue. There's a coverage element to it that I think he has an advantage of. Sometimes at this time of year you're bringing guys in that have traits and you give them chances and you see what they can do. A guy like him appreciates the opportunity so much because obviously his desire to play football is extremely high and his chance to be in pro football, this is one of those times where he can make a name or make a case."

(On if Clutts has had any collisions with Matt Roth yet)- "No, I think the rest of the guys in the locker room are pretty good about, it took a while, letting the news guys know about Matt Roth. They're better informed now than early on which always helps."

(On if they want to establish a productive player who can take the load off of Peyton Hillis)- "I think what you'd like to be able to do is have two or three backs where you could interchange them all the time, you could play them in all different spots. Mike Bell's done a good job when he's been called on it's just Peyton has had such a good season and provides so much to our offense it's hard to make the case to take him off the field. You'd love to be able to do some different things and have as much depth as you possibly can."

(On if Montario Hardesty will be added to the running back mix)- "We felt really good about Montario when we drafted him. He's a talented guy, it's really disappointing that we weren't all able to see the things that he can do because I think with his ability, his work ethic, his intelligence and things like that provided that he can play a significant role is going to be exciting. He's going to be a real asset, he can do a lot of different things, he's another physical tough guy it's just nobody's been able to see that outside of what he did in college because of the injury. I know he's disappointed about it, we are. I see him every day in the weight room, he's rehabbing like crazy so hopefully he'll be able to do the things we think he can."

(On if Hardesty will be back for OTAs)- "OTAs next year seems like a lifetime from now. Let's talk about that one after the season. I think so, I'd imagine. I haven't poured a lot of time into him right now but I see him on the Precore, we haven't run together but he's always there kind of when I'm there."

(On if he reminds the team that they can have an effect of who wins the AFC North)- "There's a little bit of that component, I think it's more just the excitement of playing Baltimore and playing Pittsburgh and they're two good teams. They're traditionally good teams, they're physical teams I think that in itself is exciting. The impact, however that works out, it works out. We're looking at it more from our perspective of getting to play the teams in our division that are at the top of our division right now."

(On if he has to tell McCoy to always be aware of where Ed Reed is at)- "No, you show them. You just show them the clips of him roaming around back there making unbelievable interception after unbelievable interception. You can spend a whole afternoon on it, he makes a ton of plays. That's not the only thing unique about their scheme and their personnel groups, the pressure that Terrell Suggs can bring, Dawan Landry is outstanding. The way the front plays, it's a good group. He hasn't faced these guys yet so this will be different."

(On how the Ravens pressured more against the Saints than they had in previous weeks and how they prepare for that)- "There are so many different versions of the pressures that you can't practice all of them. You have to practice more concepts of where the pressures are coming and understand this is what they're looking for from this blitz. It may be built multiple ways but conceptually this is what they're doing this is how we want to handle it and that's more the approach than trying to rep our stuff against their volume of stuff. You just can't do it."

(On if he interviewed with Kevin Byrne when he first worked for the Browns as a PR intern)- "No, I didn't interview with him. Kevin Spencer was here so Kevin had helped me get here and then I was working outside during OTAs and the time between OTAs and training camp I wasn't going to go anywhere so I was just looking for something else that I could do in the building and PR wasn't going on vacation. They were going to be here so I volunteered to work in there and that's how I got to know Kevin Byrne. Then they brought in the interns, I don't think Kevin was too fired up with the crew that he had so I got the nod. That's really how it went, thank God they didn't take their job very seriously that summer."

(On if it was his intent to stick around the organization any way he could)- "Yes, I just really felt like the best way to learn about pro football is to be around pro football in whatever capacity. That happens to me a lot where I get questions from people coming out of college, ‘How can I get into coaching? How can I get into this? How can I get into that?' The first thing that you have to do is to get into the door and then the other thing that you have to understand is you have no value. You're greatest value right now to an organization is going in, being as hard working as you possibly can be, playing whatever role they ask you to play and showing that you can add value and that you have the capacity to grow. Sometimes that advice is taken hard and other times it is not because everybody wants to come in as the GM or the head coach or the vice president or whatever it is. It's just the realization that look, it's great that you got your college degree in anthropology or whatever it is, but it doesn't really translate into the things that the organization is doing. You have to find a way to add value and show that you can continue to add value over time if they invest in you."

(On what his goal was when he started in the NFL)- "Here it is (joking). I never thought I was going to go into coaching, I never thought that was my path. I had always bought into the stereotype of coaches with their shorts up to here and the whistles. When I went to Australia and I was studying there and I got involved in coaching with the team there, that's when I fell in love with it and I realized there is so much more to it than the way you look at it from the outside in. The strategy, the motivation, the organization, all of the different things that go into the job. I thought that I wanted to try this and learn more about this. The best way to learn more about it was to learn about it at the highest possible level, which was pro football. That experience there, I just realized how important football was to me. That's where I belonged. Once I realized that and knew that, then it was finding how I could go learn what that means. Sometimes you have to do whatever you need to do to create that opportunity. If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it."

(On if coaching in the NFL was his exact goal when he started with the Browns)- "I think that was the ultimate goal, but you still need to go and figure out what that means on a pro level. What does that mean to be a coach in pro football? I think that's true in any business. You may want to be a lawyer, you may want to be an investment banker, you may want to be a reporter, but you have an image of what that is or you may have a perception of what it is, but the reality could be totally different. I'm sure people think that the things that you do are just all roses and fantastic, then you have to explain to them that there is some down side to this too. You guys know, I'm sure you get asked all of the time, ‘How can I get into this business?' Then they start interning or they start doing some of those jobs and it's like, ‘I'm going to go back to law school.'"

(On what he remembers about Ozzie Newsome)- "Really intuitive. I'd say Ozzie is very intuitive in terms of his ability to read people, evaluate talent and is just a very likeable person. He's just easy to get along with, easy to laugh with and easy to relate to. I liked all of those things about him and I experienced that for a year in Baltimore too, his first year there and he was the GM at that point."

(On if he sat in the draft room with Newsome in 1995 and 1996)- "I was only with him in there in Baltimore the one year. I called in Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis, I was the guy who was communicating to New York and I was a little nervous about it. I remember Art Modell thought that was just the funniest thing in the world that I was nervous. It seems like forever ago."

(On if there are any of his players that he would like to see get recognized for the Pro Bowl)- "The Pro Bowl is really a nice thing. I'm always happy for guys who make the Pro Bowl. This time of year is interesting because some guys are going to be disappointed that they didn't make it and you always kind of go through that with some players on your team. You're always happy for the guys that do make it. The guys that do make it, you appreciate the ones that enjoy that, but realize that the most important place to be a Pro Bowler and to be that guy is in your locker room. I don't know if that makes sense. It is a really nice individual honor, but guys that I have been around that have gotten it and then understand how much their teammates played a role in that and how much support they have had to get that individual honor. To really share it with the guys around them, I think that's the happiest I am during that process. I think over the next two weeks, any Pro Bowlers or candidates are going to be tested."

(On if there are any specific guys who he thinks deserve to get Pro Bowl honors)- "I don't usually lobby one way or the other. I have pretty strong feelings about all of our guys, so I could lobby for each of them."

2:44 PM

Berea Report: Cribbs Having a Tough 2010: Numbers are down across the board for the Browns’ Pro Bowl return specialist. http://bit.ly/gWz6We

NFLPA Starts Making Its Case to Fans
Barry McBride on December 23rd, 2010 AT 10:53 AM

The NFLPA is cranking up the anti-lockout rhetoric with petitions, comics, and videos now, as we get closer to D-Day. D stands for “Dollars”, “Dumb”, “Duplicitous”, or similar things, I guess.

The players will survive the lockout all right, and the owners will get richer from it, without a doubt. The folks who will be hurt are fans and small businesses like the OBR, local establishments like bars and hotels, and so forth. Players and owners will make up the money they lose eventually, one assumes, but everyone else is just going to have to take their lumps.

As to whether I side with owners or players, the billionaires or the millionaires, it’s hard to really justify either. But I will say this: unless NFL owners open their books, we have to assume that their cries of poverty are obviously deceptive garbage. They can’t prove it, and refuse when given the chance… it’s hard to be more transparently devious than that. I can’t take any of the league’s blathering on about money seriously until they show the world whether they’re raking in money or not.

The correct answer to the above question is “Yes, they’re raking in money, but want to rake in more”. Just in case anyone’s curious.

Anyhow, here’s the petition and some multi-media goodies from the NFLPA and a fan organization that has sided with them.

Anti-Lockout Petition


10:48 AM

Mccoy back from stomach flu.

10:48 AM

Mccoy back from stomach flu.

Latest Links from the OBR Newswire
OBR Newswire on December 23rd, 2010 AT 10:00 AM

These are links from the OBR Newswire for December 23rd from 08:28 to 09:35:

Blind Cat Chronicles
Dave Kolonich on December 23rd, 2010 AT 9:55 AM

Say what you will about Ray Lewis….actually go ahead – I’ll give you a minute….but if there is one thing that cannot be denied regarding the 15-year veteran linebacker, it is that he hasn’t lost one ounce of bluster.

When asked about the prospects of facing Cleveland’s Peyton Hillis for the second time this season, Lewis offered the following…

USA Today – Ray Lewis on Peyton Hillis: A Blind Cat Will Find A Meal Every Once In A While

“A blind cat will find a meal every once in a while,” Lewis said. “We understand the two big runs we gave up against them.

My son could have run through the holes that we gave him in Baltimore. We just don’t do that. When you find yourself getting caught out of gaps, that’s what happens and it’s his job to run through them. But when we get back to Cleveland this weekend, it’ll definitely be a different outcome.”

Lewis’ son’s skill set aside, it’s worth noting that Hillis is not the only league running back to have an effective day against the Ravens.

Of course, Hillis had the most dynamic performance – but Lewis’ words make it seem like the Browns-Ravens’ Week Three matchup was more an aberration.

And while the Ravens still boast the league’s fifth-ranked rush defense, Hillis has not been the only “blind cat” to have success against a Lewis-led defense.

In fact, the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Danny Woodhead, Fred Jackson and LeGarrette Blount have all turned in solid performances against the Ravens, while both Arian Foster and Carolina’s Mike Goodsen have managed to break 100 yards against the Ravens’ D.

Which either means that Ray Lewis is just being Ray Lewis, or someone needs to call Animal Control.

9:42 AM

(Subscriber) Xs & Os: Could McCoy Be the Man?: Consider Doug Farrar impressed after the rookie’s latest outing i… http://bit.ly/hrHaJ8

8:00 AM

@CoraxSays DK is right… all the Mangini/Gruden speculation ignores the omnipresent dark cloud of the lockout.

Moment of Clarity
Dave Kolonich on December 23rd, 2010 AT 12:28 AM

Thanks to the constant speculation and infotainment circulating throughout the local media regarding the future exodus of Eric Mangini, another story has been relegated to the back pages – one that’s probably worth some consideration.

Here’s just a small sample…

Sporting News – Sources See Little Progress From NFL Labor Negotiations

"It's going to be a long spring," predicted a well-placed league source, indicating that there is likely to be no deal before the CBA expires on March 4. "There has not been much in the way of progress. Not much in the way of progress, at all."
Even Commissioner Roger Goodell, in his press conference after last Wednesday's special league meeting, took pains to distinguish between the talks that have occurred and productive ones.

"The reality is there is discussion going on, but it takes productive dialogue," he said. "It is not just about meetings and dialogue, but getting significant dialogue."

With that as the backdrop, some teams have begun planning for a future without a labor deal. The Houston Texans have what they call a CBA-response team, said the team's president, Jamey Rootes. The response team comprises team executives who communicate with key partners of the team, from government agencies to sponsors and ticket holders.

Wait, what? No mentions of “hot seat” and/or Jon Gruden?

My sincerest apologies, but as a precursor to any future discussion regarding the fate of several key members of the Browns’ organization, perhaps it’s worth considering that there is still no guarantee that an NFL season will be played in 2011.

And while the likelihood of such a scenario remains in the hands of a select group of billionaires clashing with a large group of millionaires, the current situation is nothing but tenuous at the moment.

Although the situation will certainly resolve itself – considering the huge stakes of lost income that could occur – a new labor deal could take months to finalize.

Which brings us back to the Cleveland media’s favorite subject – one beleaguered Eric Mangini.

Or perhaps more importantly in this particular scenario, the years remaining on Mangini’s contract.

If we take the bait and assume that yet another coaching change is imminent in Cleveland, then the prospect of a franchise paying two head coaches during a season that may not actually unfold is more than worth considering.

And of course, if a lost season results in lost revenues, this scenario doesn’t exactly make much financial sense.

But then again, in the media world, sometimes few things do.

The OBR Top Stories