When asked what he remembered about his salad days with the Browns and Bill Belichick, Kokinis laughed and said, "probably that I never saw the light of day."
Friday, he was excited to get to work at his first NFL Combine with the team, and says he is enjoying his working relationship with Eric Mangini so far.
"It's gone really well," Kokinis saids. "It's just complete open communication all the time. If something comes up or across my desk he's only two doors down and I go down there and ask him what he thinks. And it's the same on his side. So all the scenarios go back and forth all the times and its been healthy. We've agreed, disagreed, discussed. So it's been a good situation and a good experience so far."
Kokinis said that looking for defensive players in Mangini's 3-4 scheme will be a little different than the players he found for Rex Ryan in Baltimore, but the fundamentals don't change.
"I think there's some similarities in that they want some big tough physical guys, so in that respect it's similar. Eric's scheme as compared to Rex's scheme brings different values, and similarly, we like that size. Eric's is a true two-gap scheme, while Rex's [defense] has some more moving parts to it, so in terms of differences or that I think every scheme has nuances but you're still looking for the core part of it and physical, tough, guys that make plays."
Other press conference highlights from Indianapolis:
- When asked what he looks for in offensive linemen, Kokinis said smarts and size top the list. "The first thing you want to find out is how smart they are," he said. "They gotta be smart; there's so much going on with these 3-4 schemes that people run in our division, they've got to be able to think on their feet . . . That's what makes the Combine so great because you can get the players in there, put the monitor on and let them explain it . . . And obviously physcial size. You've got to be big in this divsion and get some push at the line and got to be physical. We've got some downhill runners in our backfield and we need to push and that's what we're going to try to strive for."
- Kokinis wouldn't take the bait when asked about trading Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn.
"They both can help this football team and that's the approach I'm taking to those two guys," he said. "Just keep it open and let them determine and the coaching staff determine which direction we go next year." So both quarterbacks could be back on the team next year? "No question. I can definitely envision that," Kokinis said.
- The rapport Kokinis has with Mangini was apparent throughout his press session "I think Randy [Lerner] really did his homework. He picked a smart coach who believes in the core characteristics we all believe in, so I was happy about it. It's funny, because those core characteristics, the more and more I'm back in Cleveland, I thnk that's the character of that town: you know, smart, tough, loves football. He brought the right coach to the right city so I'm excited about that."