Berea—Eric Mangini met with the media for the first time since his introductory press conference on Jan. 8 and addressed topics covering a variety of issues.
We've tried to break it down and hit the highlights in a question and answer format.
Mangini announced that he has hired three assistant coaches to his staff and said he would probably add four to five more, and that the offseason program would begin on March 16. Mangini also offered a little insight on some of the players that caught his attention, including D'Qwell Jackson, Joe Thomas and Josh Cribbs.
As far as assistant coaching news is concerned, Mangini announced that Tom Myslinski and Alan DeGennero was retained from Romeo Crennel's staff , and George Warhop was named the offense line coach. Warhop was with the 49ers last year.
Now, on to the Q&A...
What is your evaluation now of the team?
Mangini: "I didn't come in with a lot of expectations. I learned from my first experience that when you expect some things it ends up different than what you think.
"I didn't go into it with expectations so you don't want to go into something with a preset bias. I've taken as much feedback as I can and want to clearly articulate. George (Kokinis) and I are very clear on this and I don't want to watch a player on tape until I know what he's like in the locker room."
Do you think the Browns can win next year?
Mangini: "One thing I really believe is that every year is its own year. You don't start at 4-12 or 10-6. Every decision you make and what that group of guys do is what determines that.
"I believe that each year is unique. It's going to be a collective combination of what every one does that determines that."
What is your response as far as not having met with most of the players?
Mangini: "I've met with some guys who have been in the building. I like to spend some meaningful time with the players as we get ready going into the offseason. Those are the meetings that I'm preparing for. I like to spend a lot of time preparing for that and not just have a meeting with not a lot of meaning.
"Any time somebody new comes in there's a process. Everything we do is for specific reasons and that is to win. I feel really good about the relationships I've had with the players in New York and look forward to that here. I'm very comfortable with who I am and I know when there are changes in a new environment, it takes getting used to."
What about the incident of walking by Shaun Rogers and not talking to him?
Mangini: "I didn't really know he was there. I know that's hard to believe as it's like a couple of destroyers passing each other. He'll be able to spend some time with Kris Jenkins at the Pro Bowl. I really enjoyed watching him play on tape."
What has been the delay in hiring assistant coaches?
Mangini: "In terms of hiring coaches, we're trying to get a group of guys that are intellectually smart and we want them to be agreeable but disagreeable. It's very important for me to get the best group of guys possible. Part of the delay has been the college signing day and guys wanted to wait until that was over. Some of those guys we will bring through now. I'm looking forward to finishing the staff but want to make sure we get it right."
Summarize since George Kokinis has joined you:
Mangini: "We've been looking at our players and meet with scouting, medical, security and learning as much about our players as possible. George and I have been working with upcoming scouting combine and free agency. It's been a busy month and it will be an important month in moving forward.
"It's a work in progress. George hasn't been here very long. We're trying to put everything together and look at needs, musts and look at a big picture. A must is a position you feel you have to improve, you have to fill."
Do you have a must list?
Mangini: "We're definitely developing a must list and needs list, but not something I'll probably be sharing."
Do you want to clear up the infamous Hall of Fame mural situation?
Mangini: "I'd love to. When I got here, (the mural) was something in a tribute area. We discussed moving it to the front of the building. I thought that would be better to be in a higher traffic area. As I said before, it is important to know the history of this organization and the tribute to those who made this organization great."
Is it the same mural that will be put up?
"No, we're moving it.I think it's important for the building to reflect your beliefs. The important thing is to do it the way I think is best. That is no reflection of the way things were done in the past."
Given the recent layoffs of Browns employees, it might appear these moves are unnecessary.
Mangini: "It's not like we're putting up new drapes. I appreciate we're going through tough times, and the only objective is to help us get better."
Any contact with Romeo Crennel and has he helped you with any of the evaluations?
Mangini:"Romeo and I went out to dinner and our relationship hasn't changed. One of the great things about Romeo is he wants me to be objective in my evaluations."
Do any players stand out to you from the film study?
Mangini:"I really enjoyed watching D'Qwell (Jackson). He's pretty much in the frame on every play. He seems to be everywhere.
"I like the toughness of Jamal (Lewis)and the way he grinds out yards. What we also have to take into account is what they're being asked to do.
"Joe (Thomas) has done a really nice job. Josh (Cribbs) is fun to watch. You see highlights on ESPN and I like to watch him play. I don't know what Josh's potential is, but he makes a lot of plays."
Any determination on the quarterback situation?
Mangini: "It's tough to say because there are a lot of things to look at. (Offensive coordinator) Brian (Daboll) has talked to (Derek Anderson) and Brady (Quinn) a little bit. I don't really have a definition on the way that has to go. I'm open to all possibilities. It wouldn't be a fair assessment with the quarterback position. It's more on how they work and how they lead. With Derek and Brady, we have to get to know them better and watch them work and in talking to Brian."
What do you want your defense to be known for?
Mangini: "You're always looking to stop the run. That's where it starts and you don't want to give up big plays. Those are two big areas. The key to the 3-4 is its flexibility. You can change the coverage with the linebackers you rush."
What will your offensive system be like?
Mangini: "We started with a system that was very similar to what was here last year. One of the reasons I wanted to bring in Brian and take the best of these systems. I like to take the best of each of these offenses together and create an offense that's best for us."
Thoughts on Willie McGinest coming back?
Mangini: "I haven't talked to Willie. He sent me a text. We have to see where he is at. For someone who has done what he's done, it takes some time for him to see where he wants to go."
Are you up to speed for the draft?
Mangini:"We're catching up on the draft. The scouts are in this week and George has been able to meet with them and articulate the vision."
Your thoughts on the Steelers being more than just another game?
Mangini: "I appreciate the rivalry and the tradition. I was here before. I get that. You get up for those games.You're always trying to balance that knowing what you need to do to win those games. It's understood and the energy is inherent. What you're trying to do is channel that energy into beating the Steelers.
"They're the best in the NFL. There are 31 other teams trying to answer that question. We have to make sure that we're getting better as a team and as an organization. When you get to that week, you have to know what it takes to win that game."
What's your relationship with Randy Lerner now?
Mangini: "I talk to Randy once or twice a day and that relationship was very important to me coming into this job. I see that continuing to grow.
"A lot of those things will come up between now and free agency. What's important to me is gathering information and see the vision moving forward."
Do you sense that Browns fans are different than what they were when you were here before in your time out and about in the community?
Mangini:"The passion will be here. It's built in, but I haven't been out much."