Mediawatch: Pat McManamon Chat Transcript

Pat McManamon has been a friend to this site since the days when we were called BTNG. So, when the ABJ Browns reporter took a job with the subject he covers, the new Official Site editor made Bernie's Insiders chat room one of his first stops. Last night, Pat answered questions about how he is going to try to stay objective as a Browns employee and offered a number of thoughts on the team. Here's the complete transcript...

Pat M. hello everyone ...
T-Dog Hey Pat.
dunedindawg Hi Pat. Welcome.
Juice welcome Pat
howldawg Hello pat
YSUfan Hey last the chat happens!!! Thanks for coming in
newdawg Hey Pat.
Pat M. I hear you guys were mad at the way I asked Butch questions ...
Pat M. LOL
BuzzDraft Pat - all I ask is keep your skepticism in the face of all the spin coming out of Berea
Pat M. Skepticism is my middle name.
YSUfan congrats on the new gig...I know you'll do a terrific job
artbtz Dunedin, you're up first
Pat M. Dunedin, Fla? Beautiful down there.
dunedindawg Your right Pat, it is nice down here. Hot though!
dunedindawg Pat now that you work for the Browns will your approach to Butch Davis be softer or will you still call him out when need be?
Pat M. LOL ... real softball right away eh?
dunedindawg :D
Pat M. My approach has to be as critical as ever. If I'm not critical or questioning, I have no credibility. If I have no credibility, nobody would go to the site. I'll still be asking questions. I'll still be cynical. I'll still be me... the only difference is that being where I am may give me more knowledge to explain things.
Pat M. In fact, if I don't have more knowledge to explain things I'd be disappointed.
Pat M. But Randy Lerner made it clear: We want you to cover us inside the same way you did with the paper.
Pat McManamon How that plays out ... we will see. But I didn't take the job to be a cheerleader.
dunedindawg Pat, what is your take on the teams direction? Do you see them being as lost as most in the media?
Pat M. I'm not convinced frankly that they're improved. Butch feels that they have. I don't see it. But a lot will be answered during camp ...
JoeBrownlee Pat, first let me say that I really enjoy and respect your work.
Pat M. Hope that helped Dunedin ... and thanks Joe.
dunedindawg Thanks Pat, I'll have more questions for you in a bit.
JoeBrownlee I'm a big believer that the heart and soul of the time is the offensive line.
JoeBrownlee Given the relatively small changes there, what are your thoughts?
Pat M. I'm with you Joe ... the OLine is critical. And really this group traded O'Hara for Garmon. The other guard remains the same, Verba is coming off injury and the depth is paper thin .. that's the key concern this year to me, just as it was last year.
JoeBrownlee Will a fullback be enought to help?
Pat M. It will help some, especially in short yardage and goal line. This guy is supposed to be good ... but it won't help everything.
JoeBrownlee I agree -- unfortunately.
JoeBrownlee Thanks, Pat.
Pat M. Take care Joe.
YSUfan Pat...let me start by saying THANKS again for your feedback last month in our e-mails. I am still amazed that you responded. Really cool of you. What's your gut feeling on when Winslow will sign?
Pat M. Well my gut feeling -- and I have to stress this is gut feeling because I have no inside info on this one -- is early to mid August.
YSUfan I think we will improve on O. What have we done for the D??
Pat M. Let me ask you a question: If the Browns offered Winslow more than Tony Gonzalez got last year is that fair?
YSUfan I would say HELL YES
Pat M. OK ... then if that happens it's up to Winslow and his agents to recognize that.
Pat M. As for the D, the main thing is OLB, where I predict Warrick Holdman will start. The big question is Chaun Thompson, but the depth at DE and LB is better this year.
BuzzDraft Pat - you may have no idea how closely we follow the webcasts down here in ATL. You earned your bones when you stuck to your questions during the coup press conference with Davis.
Pat M. Thanks, Buzz ... unfortunately not everyone agreed.
Pat M. I wouldn't mind addressing that ... since some people seemed to have problems with it.
artbtz Go for it
Pat M. Let me address the questioning first. I don't like doing that. You guys know that from listening. I have a style and it's not usually confrontational. But I also feel that fans deserve answers, and some of the answers we were given last year were .. let's say ... less than illuminating. So when we never really got a specific reason for Lal Heneghan's firing, I figured the guys who pay $50 and $75 per seat deserve an answer.
BuzzDraft My question to you is... I figured you were persona non grata with the Browns. Can you describe how this relationship evolved?
Pat M. As for the relationship ... this happened one day when I was sitting home minding my own business.
Pat M. The phone ran and it was Randy Lerner asking if I'd be interested in talking. I told him I loved what I was doing, but I'd talk to him. We talked and here I am.
Pat M. I have a lot of respect for Randy, as I did for his father. We have gotten along well. I guess the relationship grew from there and from the fact that Randy viewed my coverage as challenging and critical but also fair.
BuzzDraft Don't forget... you also represent the millions who aren't local who aren't in a position to buy those seats, but still support the Browns no matter who owns or coaches them. Keep us in mind.
Pat M. Good point Buzz ... I didn't mean to imply that ... I represent every fan out there. I ask the questions you guys can't.
BuzzDraft Thank you Art and PAt.
Pat M. Did I answer the question Buzz?
Pat M. Lemme say one other thing about that ""confrontation"" with Butch ... He and I talked after, and it was a very pleasant conversation. I held no grudge against him, and he held none against me. We are still friendly. Sometimes, though, our jobs mean we disagree. Which is fine.
T-Dog Pat, what are the Browns going to do with their cap space? They have over $11 Million from what I've seen, and even after paying the draftees, there ain't even $8 Million in talent out there right now - do they wait and pluck guys later, re-sign some guys using roster bonuses, or what? Maybe we can use Mr. Peabody's wayback machine and pay Jamel White's piddly roster bonus so we could trade him for a future draft pick....
Pat M. LOL T-Dog ... I have to admit I did not know they have that much cap room ... where did you get that?
T-Dog ESPN says 11.2.
T-Dog We have the most cap room, at present, of any team in the league, IIRC. About a million more than the Iggles.
Pat M. That's interesting. But as you say, this is not the time to go shopping. They could use it to extend guys or they could save it for free agency after the season. Butch thinks they're close to being good this year, and if he's right a big free agent or two in the offseason could mean the difference.
Pat M. You may have given me something good to ask about when I go back to work :-)
T-Dog How do you think the fact that the TE number for the franchise tag being so low is going to affect the Winslow negotiation?
Pat M. None ... the Winslow deal is based purely on last year's No. 6 pick.
T-Dog If he isn't careful, we could tag him for the rest of his life.
T-Dog But, at the end of his deal - we could tag him for the inflation adjusted equivalent of about 2.6 Million.
Pat M. Well down the line it might affect things, but he's going to get $10-14 million in guaranteed money now (signing and option bonus)
T-Dog Tell the Browns to make it a big signing bonus, and a small last year's salary.
Pat M. OK ... inflation adjusted is six syllables ... way too many for me.
Pat M. If I gotta think tonight we're all in trouble, but you raise an interesting quetsion.
artbtz Before Jake comes up... have you EVER gotten an answer on why Heneghan got fired?
Pat M. Not directly, no ... but my reading is that he got in the middle of things sometimes between Butch and Carmen.
Pat M. Which might not have been a great place to be.
Jake Pat - congrats on your new job! Who's taking your place at the ABJ? Big shoes to fill.
Pat M. That's to be determined, Jake ... and thanks for the compliments ... they will find someone good, tho, I promise you that.
Jake What will your relationship be with that woman - Julia Payne?
Pat M. Glad you brought her up. I felt bad for Todd Stewart. I worked closely with him, liked him and thought he was a very, very good guy. But even if Todd were there I would say this: Julia Payne is a very bright woman ... a big-time PR person who is a quick study. We will work closely, but our jobs differ.
Pat M. I will be in charge of the content on the site, and I will write much of it. She will handle the media and PR.
Jake Now that you're a real insider - what is the scoop on Terelle Smith's health?
Pat M. Everyone tells me Terrelle Smith is fine, Jake. If he has a bad back Jake, the team will be as surprised as you.
Jake What's your prediction for the Browns this year. I'm out. Thanks for chatting with us.
Pat M. LOL ... I don't know if I can answer that one.
Pat M. I just honestly don't know.
Pat M. But I'm not filled with optimism.
wonderbredd24 How many wins do you think Butch needs pending disastrous injuries to keep working here?
Pat M. Boy that's the million-dollar question ... It's got to be more than last year (duh) but nobody knows if it's 8-8 what happens.
Pat M. There is no mandate, but this is one of the most important seasons since this franchise came back.
wonderbredd24 You have to remember the famous quote that Lerner came up with about selling the team, being a fan, etc so I was just curious what it would take to get him fired
wonderbredd24 is there a coach you would want here that is available?
Pat M. Well Lerner didnt' say that to me, so I don't think I should comment ... as for here do you mean on the staff?
wonderbredd24 no, HC... a Jim Fassel, etc
wonderbredd24 that's it for me by the way, thank you
Pat M. Haven't thought about that one because it's kind of moot ... if something happens, and I'm not sure it would, I would guess Fassel's name would come up. So would Terry Robiskie, Jim Tressel and Kirk Ferentz. But IF something happened -- and this is guesswork -- it all depends on who runs football operations.
Pat M. The new guy in charge of football (assuming they would hire one) would do the hiring.
Linus74 Great stuff Pat! What about adding a OT like Marcus Spears who was recently cut by the Chiefs, in order to add some depth to our ""paper thin"" OL?
Pat M. Makes sense to me, but Butch seems convinced that the guys he's worked with for the past two years -- the Paul Zukauskases, the Enoch DeMars, the Joaquin Gonzalezes -- will be ready.
Linus74 Jason Geathers have a shot to make this club as kick returner?
Pat M. If he bring one back in preseason he could make the team sure.
Pat M. But it's a longshot.
Pat M. Then again, C.J. Jones made it last season.
Linus74 Sean Taylors new agent says he will sign in time for TC, that has to mean good things for KWII right?
Pat M. If he signs, yes it does .... and Taylor's agent is friends with Dan Snyder. But I warn this: When you deal with a client represented by the Postons, none of the usual rules apply.
Pat M. The only reason they got Charles Rogers in to Detroit on time last year was they waited for Carson Palmer to sign, and then demanded $400,000 or $500,000 more and the Lions gave it to him.
Linus74 Thats it for me, thanks again.
howldawg 2 Questions Pat first was leaving ABJ a requirement of the job or was it your choice? second how much of the inside information will you be allowed to pass onto the readers................I would also like to thank Art for allowing you access to the sight and to you for caring enough to want to come here and see our reactions and talk to us.
Pat M. I'm glad to talk to you guys. I've been friends with this site since it started, and I intend to keep it that way. I just hope you check both sites in the future. I'm not gonna change, though. Leaving the ABJ was a requirement. The Browns wanted someone fulltime. As for the inside information, my answer is as much as I humanly can.
* howldawg always have
Pat M. That's my hope ... but as I've said often this week ... we'll see how it plays out.
Pat M. All I ask is you give it a chance ... and give me a chance.
newdawg Pat, every year we here that Butch and the FO has seen the light and are going to do what ever it takes to improve the oline. every year the improvements are incremental. What's the deal here?
Pat M. Excellent question.
Pat M. I think two things happened: First the Browns had their eye on Chad Clifton of Green Bay, but he stayed there.
Pat M. Second, they wanted to draft Robert Gallery, but they couldn't get Oakland to make the trade.
Pat M. Third -- and on this I don't blame them, and I wrote this last March -- there were some very average linemen getting some ridiculous contracts early in free agency.
newdawg yeah, but this is a yearly event.
Pat M. Guys were getting $10 million, $12 million to sign ... and they just weren't worth it ... and I believe that.
Pat M. So did they try? Yes. Did it work? No. Did they fail? Time will tell.
Pat M. The bigger question to me is why the team has not committed to drafting two linemen in the top four rounds every freaking year ... that's not explainable.
Pat M. He got $2.5 because he was a starter and (though I don't think they'll admit this) because of Courtney's injury history. Butch views it as a rotation of three ends (courtney, eb and lang), so all shoudl be paid like starters.
newdawg 2nd, why did they give ekuban $2.5 mill a year to back up?
newdawg when word has played better?
newdawg heck, I think rogers is better.
Pat M. And I was surprised they just let Rogers go, too.
newdawg But word has outplayed him.
Pat M. Word has outplayed who?
newdawg ekuban.
newdawg at least stat wise.
Pat M. Maybe, but Campo was Ekuban's coach. See Fazio, Foge and Rudd, Dwayne, and Griffith, Robert.
Pat M. Make sense?
newdawg In a very dark way.
Pat M. LOL ... it's only natural ... coaches go for guys they know.
newdawg I guess so. Thanks pat. I'm more depressed than ever.
Juice Thanks for coming in tonight - What do you think will be the impact of the Sean Jones injury - do you think we will stand pat with the two veterans or will someone else get a shot?
Pat M. Well I'm kind of surprised by all the talk that a safety will solve the run defense.
Juice So you don't agree that they are poor tacklers
Pat M. Isn't it too late by the time it gets to the safety?
Pat M. It hurts tho ... it always hurts ... he might not have started this year but he loses a year of learning and seasoning.
Pat M. Who is a poor tackler? The safeties? No I don't agree ... not totally ... they missed tackles, but you try to tackle Jamal Lewis 20 yards downfield when he's running fullspeed.
Juice Do you think what we did with the front 7 will be enough to stop the run?
Pat M. i am back.
Pat M. i am back.
artbtz Welcome back
Pat M. wow ... this is totally different from the other one i was in.
Pat M. Did I answer your question Juice?
Juice did we do enough with the front 7 to stop the run?
Pat M. I am told Warrick Holdman is a very solid LB ... but Gerard Warren needs to play better and Courtney is their best run defender on the DL so he has to stay healthy.
FoggyDew Pat - how do you reconcile statement that KW2 contract will have no relation to TE franchise # but based on last yrs #6 and your question to YSU re Gonzalez contract ?
Pat M. Good question. This way: They will base their offer on last year's sixth pick, plus a premium because it's a year later.
Pat M. That is a fair way to deal with any draft pick. If that offer is then higher than the deal Tony Gonzalez signed, do you think it's fair for the Postons to ask for more?
FoggyDew Okay thats what I thought but then why tease YSU with the Gonzalez reference ?
Pat M. Did you get my second par there foggy?
FoggyDew In answer to your question, yes because the contracts all will slot based on draft position.
Pat M. OK ... so if they make a fair offer based on the slotting, and that same offer is more than Gonzalez, how can Winslow and the Postons turn it down?
Pat M. I sound like a company guy, but the Browns could say: We are paying based on the sixth pick a year ago, and that happens to be more than a five-time Pro Bowler got ...
FoggyDew Any hints on the changes coming to the official site next week ?
Pat M. It will be like a mini-newspaper ... two, three stories per day ... a regular feature with Butch ... columns and analysis from me ... lots of notes ... a poll ... some other stuff.
Pat M. I'm biased, but I think it will be interesting and fun.
Pat M. Hope that helped Foggy
FoggyDew In answer to your question - if it is both they should not turn it down -- but as you know it is all about leverage and negotiation. Also on a somewhat related topic I would expect there will be no rush to get Sean Jones contract done and he will be slotted in essentially to avoid an unfair labor claim.
Pat M. Well I can tell you that the Browns visited his agent in the past month to tell him they don't want to shaft the guy.
Pat M. As for Winslow, the Postons can position themselves any way they want ... but if the facts are the facts how can they complain?
SamAtlanta Hi, Pat, and thanks for joining us. 1.) What can you tell us about the other changes coming to There's been a bit of discussion about whether there will be a subscription fee for the new ""behind the scenes"" content. Yes? No? 2.), Does Jones' injury mean Curry might have a chance? My UGA-fan friends say Curry was better when healthy.
Pat M. As I am told, there are no plans for subscription. If there are it's way, way down the line ... and by that I mean a year or two or more.
Pat M. As for Curry, yes he's pretty good, but he's been hurt a lot too. He's gotta stay healthy.
htown_dawg First off Pat, congrats on the new gig.
Pat M. Thanks much.
htown_dawg I have a question concerning the national media re: the Browns. In particular, Salisbury and Clayton. Have you ever spoken to them re: the Browns? They seem to have a vendetta against Davis. Any thoughts as to why?
Pat M. I'm friends with Clayton, but I don't know Salisbury. I think this: The media does not set out to ""get"" anyone. The media does, though, reflect what is happening. In the past year there has been a lot happen to this team ... from William Green to cutting veterans to QB musical chairs to a broken leg being called a ""teeny tiny break.""
Pat M. I think instead of wondering if guys have a vendetta I'd wonder what is going on to make them say the things they say.
Pat M. Butch is responsible for all things football. End of story. There is responsibility and accountability there.
dadawggg Pat what will Vic Carruci's role be with the site? After to talking to Randy do you disagree with view that Butch is running the entire Browns team?
Pat M. As for Vic, he's an internet savvy guy who is spending a year helping non-internet savvy guys like me get the site up and running smoothly. His help has been invaluable.
dadawggg Do you feel the browns have good ownership?
Pat M. Excellent ownership, DA....and I know I may sound like a homer to say that given where I am, but I really think Randy is bright, insightful and dedicated. He speaks bluntly that he does not own the team, he's a steward for a team that everyone in the community has a part of. And he means it.
dunedindawg Pat are you getting the sense that the team will be sold in another year or two? Seems like the team is streamlined perfectly for a new ownership group with their own staff to come right in and turn the key. The new look to the website, better writer/editor, queen of PR all seems like putting lipstick on a pig. No offense.
Pat M. LOL ... that's an interesting way to put it.
Pat M. I do not get the impression the team will be sold. Never say never, but Randy has never hinted to me that it will be. Why would John Collins give up a great gig in New York and move his family to a new home if he wasn't convinced it would last? Same with me ... why would I give up a job I love if I were worried the team might be sold?
Pat M. I think Randy will keep the team.
T-Dog What are the Browns plans for Quincy Morgan? He's in the last year of his contract, and we've made the financial commitment to 'Cutt. QM's last year wasn't exactly a ""wow"" season, so are they ready to sign him to an extension? Wait and see how he performs? Or what?
Pat M. Don't be convinced the commitment to Northcutt is binding.
Pat M. He's due $2 million, I believe, in March. They could easily not pay it.
Pat M. My opinion -- and I'm not privy to anything on the inside here -- is Q has to perform and then be paid.
Pat M. Q is a great guy, and I like him, but he needs to perform.
BuzzDraft Sorry, I had to refill my wine and get another slice of brie... Pat, my reservations about your credibility have been neutralized here tonight. Keep your login on Bernie's Insiders and lurk to monitor the feelings of Browns fans NATIONALLY. Don't forget THE FANS. Never ever forget THE FANS. WE made this all possible. That's all I ask of you. We will outlive the owner and the coach. Now go forth and make us proud. FWIW you have my blessing. And never forget THE FANS will be watching very closely. (and NOBODY should have a UGA fan as a friend = GO TECH!).
Pat M. Thanks Buzz, and I won't forget ... I was a fan once myself. And I really believe Randy Lerner underrstands that as well.
artbtz I think that's a good way to end it, Pat, LOL...
dunedindawg thanks PAt!
Pat M. Thanks everyone ... I appreciate you taking the time ... Go easy on me in the watercooler will ya? LOL.
artbtz Thanks for coming by tonight... I'll have a transcript up tomorrow.
YSUfan That was great. Thanks everyone.

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