Ever wonder how the Browns would play to music?
Fans will get to find that out when training camp begins in about two months.
In fact, the media and assorted others who have been taking in these voluntary minicamp practices the last two weeks are already getting a sense of it.
Stealing a page from something he did in New York when he was head coach of the Jets, Browns head coach Eric Mangini has team personnel play music during practice to simulate crowd noise, among oth er things.
"The best way to increase communication is to make it hard to do," he said Thursday in reference to players and coaches having to talk to each other over the din of an assortment of songs that's picked by players, coaches and others, depending on the day.
If there's a media day, we're voting for something from The Four Tops, Diana Ross and The Supremes and other prime Motown groups. Are ya listening, Coach?
"I love it," Browns inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said. "Anything to take your mind off things when you're out there working hard, is fine with me."
When pressed on the subject, Mangini said he's the maestro and has final say on all selections. He said he wants to make sure the lyrics and content are "clean."
And the songs are fun to listen to.
He even intimated that dancing is allowed. Now, if Pro Bowl nose tackle Shaun Rogers – all 350, or more, pounds of him – starts getting down, that would be a sight to see.
PLAYS OF THE DAY: It was not a good day for quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson. Both struggled as they continued to try to get a handle on the new offense being installed. Rookie safety Don Carey got his second interception in as many days, taking a Quinn pass and returning it 35 yards for a touchdown. Keep an eye on this kid. So far, he's the surprise of the team. Quinn also got picked by sixth-round draft choice Coye Francies, and the quarterback was also forced to run a lap around the field as punishment when he failed to get a play off in time and had to burn a timeout to keep from getting a delay of game penalty. He was replaced by Anderson. Quinn, though, did thread the needle to wideout David Patten, who had safety Abram Elam draped all over him. Patten, a 13-year veteran, has quickly become the leader of the receivers. After one nice play by Brian Robiskie, Patten made it a point to high-five the rookie when he came back to the sideline. … Anderson was intercepted by Jackson as he attempted to hit tight end John Madsen on a deep slant, and he nearly got picked off when he attempted to go to wide receiver Braylon Edwards on a slant. Defensive back Hazma Abdullah stepped in front but dropped the ball. However, Anderson did complete a deep pass to Edwards on a flea-flicker. He threw an alley-oop to Edwards, who simply out-jumped three defenders to get it. Because of his 6-foot-3 frame, long arms and leaping ability, the Browns could use that play all day on most teams if they so desired.
ALSO NOTED: For whatever reason – maybe just to give him something to do, or possibly to prep him in case they'd ever need him in an emergency – the Browns used two-time Pro Bowl long snapper Ryan Pontbriand at center in the seven-on-seven passing drills. The problem is that Pontbriand is just 245 pounds. The team's two regular centers, Hank Fraley and top draft pick Alex Mack, go 310 and 311, respectively. … Playing linebacker, wearing No. 57 and with his hair extending out the back of his helmet and flopping in=2 0the breeze, second-round draft pick David Veikune is reminiscent of former Browns star Clay Matthews. … With Joe Jurevicius gone, it appears veteran free agent Mike Furrey from Grove City, Ohio will handle the role of the possession receiver. He has good hands and runs nice routes. … Quinn wasn't the only one on offense to have to take a lap for a mistake. Guard/tackle Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack did as well after committing a false start penalty. … Quinn and Anderson shouldn't be blamed for all the interceptions and errors in the passing offense, though. After one play that went awry, Anderson stormed to the sideline, ripped off his chin strap and angrily said to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll while pointing toward an unspecified wide receiver, "He didn't know what he was doing!"
SPECIAL VISITORS: Youth Challenge, a Westlake, Ohio-based group of special needs children ages 8 to 17, took in practice as part of Mangini's continuing effort to reach out to help youngsters in the community who need a hand. "It's important to me, and it's important to the organization, to have kids in here," the coach said. "I stress to the players that20we have all had some kind of helping hand growing up, and I don't want them to lose sight of that."
HELPING OUT, TAKE TWO: Mangini, his coaching staff and the team's rookies will take part on Saturday in the coach's eighth annual football fundamentals minicamp at his alma mater, Bulkeley High School in Hartford, Conn. The Browns contingent will travel there by bus and will be joined by more than 125 other coaches from high school, college and the NFL, and some NFL players. Proceeds will benefit the Carmine and Frank Mangini Foundation, which was founded in honor of their parents by Mangini and his brother, Kyle, to aid under-resourced children. Mangini said the idea for the camp grew out of a situation where his sister-in-law, a third-grade teacher, had a student who constantly came to school in his pajamas. "No child should have to do that," Mangini said. He added that he "would love to start something like that here in Cleveland. That would be great. The community has been wonderful in the way they have embraced me, our coaches and our families as we have come into the area, and we'd like to start giving something back."
UP NEXT: The Browns will begin their OTAs (organized team workouts) next week. The media will be able to watch practice and have access to the players on Tuesday and Thursday.
QUOTABLES: "I've always liked the fact he's a tough runner, and that run he had against us was, unfortunately, a great reminder of that. This system really fits him. This system fits his personality. I'm excited to get him back to health and see what he can do. But in the meantime, I've been impressed by what he's doing in the meeting room to help tutor the young running backs." – Mangini on running back Jamal Lewis, with a special reference to his game-clinching 31-yard TD run in a 24-18 win over the host Jets in 2007 during which he did his best Jim Brown imitation, running through about five would-be tacklers. Lewis is coming back from offseason ankle surgery.
"I like the way both guys compete, and in the classroom the way they support and help each other. Both are fighting for the same spot, but at the end of the day, it's the team that comes first." – Mangini on Anderson and Quinn.