OBR Daily Blog 12/31

Favorite thing about 2010? The Browns' six wins, of course! (Don't forget about the win last January against Jacksonville. That counts, too!)

It’s the Friday Injury Report!
Barry McBride on December 31st, 2010 AT 5:46 PM

Gather ’round, folks, it’s time for the Friday injury report!


OUT: Nobody

DOUBTFUL: Nobody, they’re all on IR

QUESTIONABLE: DL Kenyon Coleman, RB Peyton Hillis, DL Shaun Rogers (naturally), OL Floyd Womack

PROBABLE: LB Alexander, LB Benard, CB S. Brown, LB Roth, TE Royal, DL Schaefering, OL St. Clair, TE Watson


OUT: RB Mewelde Moore, DL Aaron Smith


QUESTIONABLE: S Troy Polamalu (LOL, sure,right), LB Jason Worilds

PROBABLE: LB LaMarr Woodley

SLEAZY: QB Ben Roethlisberger

DOPEY: WR Hines Ward

GRUMPY: LB James Harrison

STUPID AND ANNOYING: Steeler fans everywhere


5:05 PM

Cribbs Back in Form: The Browns star KR is getting back to his usual self, just in time for Pittsburgh… http://bit.ly/f0tCsL

5:05 PM

Greetham: One Class Act: Are we seeing Phil Dawson’s last game as a Cleveland Brown? Fred Greetham looks back on… http://bit.ly/eTp3lQ

Brian Daboll Press Conference Transcript, Dec. 31
Don Delco on December 31st, 2010 AT 4:30 PM

(On how much Colt McCoy has improved since his first game against Pittsburgh)- "I think each game is a learning experience for him in this league. He had a rough one in a couple of plays last week, but he's been doing a good job for the teams he's played and the amount of games he's played. I think he's got a chance to be pretty good."

(On how tough it is to go against Pittsburgh's run defense)- "It's hard. You're going to have to do it, but the longest run they've given up all year is 24 yards. They've given up 18 runs of 10 yards or more. It's tough. You've got to have outside, inside and understand there is going to be ones and twos and zeros because there is every game against that team. You've got to stay at it and you have got to be able to throw the ball too."

(On the chances of Peyton Hillis playing Sunday)- "I hope that's he's going to be able to go. He hasn't practice. He's running all of the plays that we are obviously going to run, so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for when they let me know. I'm hopeful, but I don't know percentage-wise what it's going to be like."

(On if he feels good about Mike Bell if Hillis is unable to play)- "Yes. Mike, when he got some opportunities last week, did a nice job. You can't replace a guy like Peyton, but Mike has been preparing the last couple of weeks very, very well. If he has got to do it, I have confidence in him."

(On if the plan last week was to split some carries between Hillis and Bell or if it was a result of Hillis getting injured)- "Yes, he got dinged up pretty good on the second play. He was going to try to go, but you knew he needed some time."

(On the notion that this could be his last game as offensive coordinator here in Cleveland)- "I haven't even thought about it, I've been working on Pittsburgh. I've got enough on my plate with the Steelers coming in."

(On if they will be able to do some different things with Joshua Cribbs in the lineup this week to spell Hillis)- "Yes, and he's been slowly getting back to speed. I thought last game was probably his most up tempo game for him. It's always in there, it depends on how he feels and how he thinks he can plant and run. If we need it, we are definitely going to have to go to it. You have got to have alternatives."

(On what Troy Polamalu can do if he plays Sunday)- "They have good players on defense, very good players. This is a guy like the guy we talked about last week. He's exceptional. You don't quite know where he's going to be, but it's your job and you're going to have to know where he is because he can be anywhere. He's a difference maker. I'm anticipating him playing, he's a difference maker. You have got to put a big fluorescent light on his number and stay away from him, don't go near the guy because he's awesome."

(On McCoy saying that he did not see Ed Reed on the first interception that Reed made and if he baited McCoy's throw)- "It was tight. I think the ball kind of hung a little bit inside. I know he's like to get it outside a little bit more for him. We had the corner, we had our eyes at the corner, and Ed Reed read him and got a good jump on it. I think if it was outside, maybe he had a chance, but the guy made a good play. He did."

(On if James Harrison has been playing any differently since he has been fines earlier in the season)- "No, I think he just plays hard. This team is filled with very, very good players on defense and he's at the top. I don't see a huge difference. I think he plays the game hard and goes and tries to sack quarterbacks and make plays on the ball and hits people. He's pretty (darn) good."

(On Rob Ryan saying they were going to try to kick the Steelers butts)- "I'll leave that to Rob. Some things are just best left said from Rob."

(On if they have any extra motivation after Harrison knocked out Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi last time they played)- "No. There's enough motivation to go out there and try to beat Pittsburgh when you're from Cleveland and you live in Cleveland. You saw what happened last year when we won and it was great excitement. We didn't have a great record, we went out there and the people were out in the stands were awesome. Then you win the game and I don't know what it was, 2,000 and some days, I don't know what it was since we had beat them. We're anxious for it, we're anxious to go out there out last game against these guys. I know how good they are, we all know how good they are, but we are going to try and play well."

(On if this game is important going on to next year)- "I think you go out there with this is your last game of the season and you approach it like that. You want to go out with a win, you don't want to go out with a loss. I think each year is a different year but to play the Pittsburgh Steelers on your last game, you know they're fighting to be the number two seed in the playoffs. They're a huge rival for us, for the fans and we want to go out there and try to beat their (butt)."

(On how much more comfortable he feels as a coordinator after doing it for two years)- "I feel good, I don't feel good with losses like that but I feel better than I did last year. Yes, no question."

(On if he has grown into the coordinator position)- "Yes, it's a lot different. I think experience helps everybody."

(On if he feels the same way as Rob Ryan who feels confident that if this is his last season with the Browns that he will get another job somewhere)- "I'm just concentrating on this game. We're going to go out there and try to win this game and that's where my focus is."

(On if it bothered him that Josh McDaniels was at Browns practice)- "No, Josh is a great friend."

(On if McDaniels is his friend)- "He's a very, very good friend, very good friend."

(On if it is tough to stay focused with all of the uncertainty about next season)- "No, that's the business that you're in. That's what you signed up for when you got in this business. Starting out working all those hours, 20 hours a day at Michigan State and stuff like that. You try to get into a position like this and when you get into it you understand what it is. It's a bottom line business and I've been around a lot of good coaches and I've heard a lot of good stories from a lot of good coaches in this league. A lot of good coaches, some great coaches. That's just the nature of the business."

(On if he thinks he is a package deal with Eric Mangini)- "I think everybody understands the nature of this business, I really do. We'll find out what happens here, but I think everybody understands the nature of this business. It's a bottom line business. The guy that used to coach here the year before we got here used to always say it's a production business, Romeo (Crennel). It's a production business. It was his first line to the defensive staff when I was over there on defense, it's a production business so you understand that. We're going to try to produce this Sunday."

(On if he expects Mangini to stick with him)- "I haven't even been thinking about it to be honest with you. The one thing I'll say is you understand the business, you understand the business. Now you can't think about it, you've got to go out there and try to play Pittsburgh and do the best job that you can and try to beat them. Things will all fall into play, they will."

(On how he blocks all of the stuff out)- "You have to. You've got to in this business. Things that happen are going to happen. You have a positive outlook on things, everything happens for a reason. You control what you can control which is to go out, there try to call a great game against Pittsburgh, give those guys a good chance, be energetic at practice, get them to go out there when we have this record practice good, have a good attitude, have a good attitude in the meetings, not point fingers, enjoy being in there still, enjoy going out on the practice field, having a good practice. You can control all those things and that's all you can control."

Rob Ryan Press Conference Transcript, Dec. 31
Don Delco on December 31st, 2010 AT 4:18 PM

(Opening Statement)- "Good afternoon everybody. The Pro Bowl balloting came and went and we didn't have any defensive players on it. Joe Haden was an alternate, I believe. Talk about a guy that is deserving, man does he come on. He is really phenomenal. What I wanted to do is just address a couple things about our defense because I think they've worked their (tails) off. They've lost both captains early in the year, with Robaire (Smith) and Scott (Fujita). I just wanted to let everybody to know because every time I hear and you know me I should never listen to the radio but I do and the guy doesn't like me and that's cool. I'm good because I don't like him but it's like people just don't know how hard these guys have worked and really what they've done so I wanted to point it out. Right here in 2010 that's this year, the defensive rankings, we're in the top 10 in points allowed we're seventh, takeaways we're ninth and red zone we're sixth. Red zone I always think that's real important. I think points allowed and takeaways are the most important stats in football for defense. Maybe some people say it's yards or whatever it is. I think we're 13th in rushing defense per carry, 13th in passing defense but I really think it's points allowed and turnovers and these guys are doing a great job. You see that and we're in the top 10 in all three of those and there are only three defenses in the league that can say that. There are only three defenses in the league, Chicago, Pittsburgh and us. Two of those teams are playing for home field advantage in playoffs. I believe, I don't know if Chicago is still or not but that's saying something. I don't think people realize the type of effort these guys are playing with. The free agents we've picked up have been outstanding for our defense, I mean tremendous. It's right there evidence by the improvement we've had. When's the last time the Browns have been the top seven or whatever it is in scoring? 1994, so it's been a while. That's been a while. To be that high in takeaways 2008 and 2001 but neither one of them are any good in scoring defense. I don't know if you've got to look back for when they didn't have facemasks or what but our defense is playing pretty (darn) good fellas and I think you need to know that. I think you also need to know in the red zone, we were sixth last year, we're sixth again this year. Only two teams have giving up five rushing touchdowns that's us and Pittsburgh, we're playing against these guys. We're first in first quarter points. By the way Mike O'Connor put all these together, he's going to be a scout. He put all these stats together. Third quarter points, we're fifth in the NFL. We have seven takeaways, I thought that would be an NFL record, seven takeaways in two minute. In two minute situations, we're second in the league and takeaways we've got seven of them. The Bears somehow have nine, that's a bunch of takeaways. To see all this that's saying a lot for what these guys have done. We've got one first round pick in our defense and that's Joe Haden and he's playing like a first rounder, (heck) he's playing like the first player taken. He's doing a great job. His teammates are doing an excellent job and they all believe in each other and they work their (tails) off. Again, I don't see enough good praise on these guys, the way they've worked. They've responded without their captains, we've got some veterans in there (David) Bowens, (Eric) Barton, (Chris) Gocong who we got, these linebackers are really playing well. Upfront (Ahtyba) Rubin is really becoming a good player, the safeties, Abe Elam's really come into his own. It's been a lot of great things. Is our record any good? (Heck) no we're not very good. (Heck) I'm looking here the last time a defense played with one first round pick, they were 1-15 or 0-16. We have 16 undrafted free agents and the league averages just about eight. These guys have worked their (tails) off. Why I'm saying all that is because this game Sunday, we're the Cleveland Browns and we're going to go in here and beat the (heck) out of these guys. They want to go for home field and all this stuff, I haven't seen one good thing written about our defense from anybody over there or anything else and that's just fine by us. We're working our (tails) off all we're thinking about is Pittsburgh. We know we're from Cleveland, we know how big of a game it is and we're going to get in there and get after their (behinds). That's all we've really got to say."

(On 18 of their points allowed behind pick-sixes from the offensive side)- "Everybody gives those up. When you go through a full season everybody gives up points like that. We're not farming anybody else's land. I just want to make sure that everybody knows that job that these guys have done, and these coaches have been excellent. Jerome Henderson with the secondary, he's been tremendous. He's developed those two young players and they've done a great job. (Matt) Eberflus it always goes without saying how good he is at linebacker and then Bryan Cox, he's got guys you really need a roster to figure out who they are and we're going to add a couple new ones this week. I just want everybody to know these guys are working hard. We're not looking to go and just slap it out there, we're looking to go in there and beat these guys. We've got a lot of fight left in us we're going to give them (heck)."

(On what his mindset is going into what could potentially be his last game here)- "We've been working out (tails) off. It might be, it really might, and that's just the way things are. It's win now, everybody wants to win now, and I understand that. I'm not crying about that at all, but I just see our team getting so much better and it's frustrating. It's frustrating that we lose those close games because, in my opinion, I think we are just right there. We've got tremendous leadership. Eric Mangini does a great job and he's brought the right people in with Tom Heckert. If that happens, I won't be crying about it because that's life in the big city, but I like it here in Cleveland."

(On if it is frustrating to see all of the hard work by his players and coaches and not be rewarded with playoffs)- "You know how it is, only the best teams go. Right now, we don't have enough wins to get in. Do I think we are improving? Absolutely. Do I think we can compete with all of these teams in here? Yes. In our season, we have been playing all of these guys. It's just unfortunate, but to me, it's not a disappointing season. I want to win obviously, I want to make the playoffs, but I've seen a ton of growth, especially in my room. We weren't real good last year and to see these guys become one of the better defenses, and really we are. People can say what they want, but the facts are the facts. We are a better defense. We are the only team in the league not to give up 30 points, these guys ran up 28 on us last time we played them. You're in every game when you do that. I'm proud of our efforts and I'm proud of the way our guys are playing. I don't think this is going to be a swan song, I think we are going to get in here, get after it and see what happens. If a change is made, a change is made. That's life, but these guys are really coming on defense, I can tell you that."

(On if the uncertainty of what will happen after this season is wearing on Coach Mangini at all)- "I tell you what, maybe he's losing weight. He looks great. Maybe we all need to get that kind of stress. I think he's just a shade under 210 pounds now, which is amazing. He's a pro. We've been around a long time, so I don't see it affecting him at all. He's studying, he's up there all night long working, the same as we are, and wanting to win."

(On if he would be open to a scenario where there would be a head coaching change and he would return as defensive coordinator)- "I haven't thought of that. I did that in Oakland three times, five times or whatever it was. I don't know. I love Eric, he hired me and I'd be more than happy to go out with him if that's what it takes."

(On if he would be shocked if he didn't get a phone call for an interview for a vacant head coaching job in the NFL)- "Yes, I'd be really shocked because I think I'll definitely get interviewed. I have a really, really good feeling about that."

(On if he has heard from any teams yet about potential head coaching jobs)- "No, they can't talk to you now, so no. You can't talk to another team now while the season is going on. I'm sure I'll get a chance. You read all of these things, ‘Oh this guy is going here, this guy is going there,' but nobody knows. It's a big process, obviously, to hire a head coach. Am I going to be ready for that challenge? Yes, absolutely."

(On what he would hope people remember about his time in Cleveland if the coaching staff went their separate ways after the season)- "It's not a funeral, I hope (joking). I just see tremendous growth in this team, I really do. From where we took it when we got here to where it is now, we are a much better team. We are a very disciplined team, I think we are second in the league in penalties. There are a lot of really good things here. We have got a lot of good, quality people in the room all throughout the team. A good young quarterback, you have got a lot of talent on this team, young talent. I don't know how they would remember us, probably from beating Pittsburgh the last time we played."

(On why their record isn't better than it is)- "I thought it would be, I really did. I can't really pinpoint it. I know it's hard to win, to change the culture overnight. I know we are doing that, it's just we've lost a couple games that, obviously, we felt we shouldn't have lost. I'm not sure why exactly."

(On the notion of them underachieving)- "It's a (heck) of a league. We've had a (heck) of a schedule, it's a (heck) of a league and you always have to be at your best. I don't know what people are going to say. Did we think we would win more games? Absolutely. Right now, we've won I guess five games or whatever it is and we are looking to get our sixth."

(On if Mangini deserves a chance to see what he can do with a possible superstar quarterback in Colt McCoy)- "Absolutely. I think so. I think the kid really grew up fast. When he first got here, he was struggling. His arm strength didn't look what it does now, it looked like he was having a hard time adapting to the pro game and I think now the kid really has a little moxy to him. I think he's a winner and I think he will prove that in the time to come."

(On if the criticism of Brian Daboll is unfair considering what he came into at the start)- "I think it was unfair on me (joking). I don't know. You know how it is, this is a top level job and heat comes with the territory. That's just the way it is. I can't farm Brian's land, I've got enough problems with my own. We are working hard to get in here and we want to end up being in the top five in every category and that's what we're pushing for. We are obviously going to try to beat these guys, which is a huge game. They are coming in, they're going to be at their best and we are going to be at our best on defense."

(On Ahtyba Rubin not getting any Pro Bowl recognition)- "That's why I wanted to post some numbers here. I'm not a big stat guy generally, but I wanted everybody to see the body of work these guys are doing. Rube is one of our best players, he's like one of our stars. He hustles to the football, he's uncanny that way, he works hard, really made himself in working with Bryan Cox and he's really developed into a (heck) of a player. Again, he's just a young guy that's going to get better and better. He's a very physical guy and his best ball is in front of him for sure."

(On their defensive statistics and only having one first round draft pick on defense)- "Mike O'Connor, I don't know where he gets all this stuff. The guy is good though, he does a good job. Again, I'm not up here pumping a resume, I just want our guys to get the credit they deserve on defense and our coaching staff."

2:13 PM

@ThreeRiversBlog You too. I am expecting my team to open me up to some abuse on Sunday, but you never know… Hopefully it’s a good game.

2:10 PM

@ThreeRiversBlog You may ask why I think the Steelers suck and still expect them to beat the Browns. That’s because, well, um, shut up.

2:08 PM

@ThreeRiversBlog I think that the Steelers suck, but I’m contemplating several possible levels of doom. Browns are out-matched (again).

2:01 PM

Upon Further Review: The Offensive Line: DK analyzes the performance of the offensive line against the Ravens. T… http://bit.ly/gGpgdo

Transcript: Eric Mangini, 12/31/2010
Barry McBride on December 31st, 2010 AT 1:18 PM

(Opening statement)- “The only guy that is missing here today is Peyton (Hillis) but I’m still optimistic that he’ll be able to play. I feel pretty good about it but we will see.  We will see tomorrow where he’s at and just take it from there.  Yesterday is our third down day, thought we had a good practice. I thought it was up tempo, thought the level of communication was really good and looking to finish out the week here strong with the red zone and goal line review of what we did yesterday.”

(On how Mike Bell looked last week)- “I thought he looked good.  I really felt that Mike had his best week of practice last week too and it translated, it really did.  He got a lot more opportunities. I felt he took advantage of the opportunities both in the running game, made some nice plays in the passing game.  I really liked the way that he practiced last week and he’s had a good week of practice this week so if he gets extended time again here this week I feel good about him.”

(On if running back is an easier position to plug someone in)- “It just depends on what role it would be. First and second down versus third down, there’s a few different things on third down, two minutes, some of those packages where it’s a little higher level of communication.  Maybe that’s not fair, not higher, it’s just different and to take all of it to have to do all of it is a lot but if you did it as a segment where one was going to work on first and second down, one was going to work on third down I think that’s easier.”

(On if Troy Polamalu is going to play)- “I don’t know.  You read different things throughout the week but you’re not sure at the end of the day.  Pretty significant game for them in terms of what is at stake and I’m sure that if he can at all, he will.”

(On if Peyton Hillis is still really sore)- “That’s been primarily the main thing is the soreness and it gets better each day but figure another day of rest will give him the best chance to be effective on Sunday.”

(On if they will call up Quinn Porter from the practice squad to make sure they have enough numbers at running back)-“We’ve talked about some different things.  We can still do something tomorrow if need be so we’ve got some time to see where he is tomorrow.”

(On if they are considering bringing anyone in that hasn’t been with the Browns)- “I tell you anything is possible.  I had situations like that in the past, where you get someone at the end of the week and away they go.”

(On if they are going to run more Wildcat to supplement the running game)- “That’s one of the great things about having Josh (Cribbs) is you can put him back there and get the running plays with him and those are pretty effective and they’re very different in terms of how a team has to defend him.  He’s another great option.”

(On where Chris Jennings is now)- “I think he’s in Cleveland.  He played in the UFL so there are different things that you have to do to get a guy out of their contract. It’s a little more difficult than how it had been.”

(On if they did a lot with Mike Wallace during the draft last year)- “Yes, we interviewed all the different receivers.  You go through all the steps and sometimes guys slide and end up playing really outstanding like he has.”

(On if Wallace is the fastest player in the league)- “He’s got to be right up there.  He’s pretty fast.”

(On the stress there is on the defense when facing a player like Wallace with his breakaway speed)- “You don’t want to guess wrong on something.  You’re ability to catch up if you make a mistake, you’re chances aren’t very high and you better be playing the right techniques.  If you have to go from a back pedal in transition, the margin for error there too is pretty small because if you’re a little slow on it or awkward on it or whatever it is all you hear is, ‘Meep meep.’”

(On if Joe Haden will be matched up with Wallace)- “We’ve got a couple different ways of playing their sets so I can see him being on him some and some other times not. There’s a few different approaches that we have in terms of handling the passing game.  They do a lot of things that create some good match ups for him, some good combinations for him and the other problem is with Ben (Roethlisberger) and his ability to move in the pocket, it’s not like it’s just the called plays that we’re going to be dealing with, it’s the play after the called play breaks down that we have to deal with.  It’s every game he does it and every game he does it really effectively.”

(On how the league is trimming some of the fines down significantly)- “I don’t know what the process was whether they went through a grievance or whatever or how it worked but having had a fine in the past, I’m all for trimming those things down.”

(On fines being reduced because the league saw the players made enough changes since their incidents to warrant the reduction)- “If that’s the case, I think it’s a good thing because I think sometimes you do come out really strong initially and maybe after you have had some time and you looked at a series of them and you’re able to take a step back and you see that there could be some adjustments to make it more equitable for everybody.  I think that’s always a good thing.”

(On if he thinks defensive players have adjusted to the rule changes on hitting)- “I think the awareness is about as high as it can be.  There still have been quite a few big hits.  It’s good.  Again, I haven’t followed all of the hits around the league and who’s been fined, so it’s hard for me to say if it’s gone down dramatically or not.  I think it’s a positive thing if it has had that overall league-wide affect.  I think that’s a good thing.”

(On if they ever got clarification on the hit that Harrison was not fined for on Cribbs earlier this season)- “It was a while ago, I don’t even remember exactly what it was.”

(On on how he feels personally going into the last game and if he hopes this isn’t his last game here)- “I feel really good about this week.  I feel really good about the way it has been consistent.  There is uncertainty with things and the guys have responded exactly the way that I’ve asked them to, which is to be consistent in their preparation, in the meetings, at practice and all of those things.  You want the guys to also enjoy the week and appreciate the week for a variety of reasons.  There is so much change that happens at the end of the season anyways, whether it’s free agency or retirement.  You don’t get to play with guys over the course of the year, so you want them to do that.  You want them to appreciate the week because it’s the Steelers, it’s the rivalry and all of those things.  Then you want to have that consistent level of preparation and still work on improving individually and improving collectively because you can do it every single opportunity that we have.  I’ve felt like guys have done that as well, which is a really positive thing.  I’m excited about the game and I feel good about a lot of things that we’ve done here.  I believe in it.  I know I’ve said this before, I think this organization and this team have a tremendous future, a really bright future and I’m excited about being a part of that.”

(On if it is difficult for him personally to stay focused on the game and not think about what might happen after the season)- “It is and it isn’t.  There are so many things that you have to do during the course of a week to prepare for a game that the amount of time that you have to reflect on other things, it’s not like it’s a tremendous amount of time.  Again, I really am proud of the way that the guys have responded.  As I’ve said before, if I was any different in my approach and the coaches were any different in their approach, then it’s hard to ask a group of men, a group of players, to be consistent in their approach.  The future will come quick enough.  Jake (Mangini) every now and then will ask a question, he must hear things, he asked if we were moving.  I said, ‘Don’t worry about it Jake, we will figure it out.’  When you get those types of questions, you don’t think of how I am going to explain the situation to my six year old.  That’s part of the human element.”

(On if he feels that the coaching staff has been able to set aside distractions and focus on this final game)- “I do.  We’ve been through uncertainty in the past, we have a little experience with it.  You know Brian (Daboll) and Rob (Ryan) really well because of their time down here (with the media), but all of the guys are good guys.  Brad Seely and right on down the line, Carl Smith, they’re all great guys that all want the same thing.  They want us to keep moving forward and win.  They’re not going to deviate or do anything or take any of their focus away that would hurt the ability of the team to do that.”

(On what he would do if he was told that he could stay if he made some changes to his assistants)- “With hypotheticals like that, I’d rather just sit down with Mike (Holmgren) and talk to him and see what he says.  We’ll talk through those things when we do talk through those things as opposed to really talking about them now.”

(On when he will sit down and discuss things with Holmgren)- “I’d imagine it will be Monday.  That’s my anticipation.”

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OBR Newswire on December 31st, 2010 AT 9:00 AM

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