Berea—What a difference a year makes.
For second-year linebacker Alex Hall, it makes all the difference in the world.
Hall, who turns just 24 on Aug. 17, was a seventh-round draft choice from St. Augustine College in 2008. He was termed as a ‘developmental' player by former Browns' general manager Phil Savage.
However, Hall made the team and appeared in all 16 games, including two starts. Hall had 26 tackles, including three sacks. He also had a forced fumble.
"I want to do what the coaches want me to do," Hall said. "Anyway I can contribute, whether it's on special teams or whatever, I'm willing to do it."
Hall has shown he can be productive on special teams as he had 12 special team tackles in 2008.
Hall has a tall, slender frame at 6-5, 250 pounds. He said the coaching staff has spent a lot of time helping him to get stronger.
"I feel I can always get better," Hall said. "I've focused more on my strength this past year. The training staff put together an individualized plan for me."
Eric Mangini thinks Hall can get stronger as he physically develops.
"Alex has excellent speed and has ability to rush the passer," Mangini said. "He's worked hard to build up and fill up his frame. I don't know where he started last year, but where he was when we met him, he has made excellent progress."
One of the aspects that Mangini has emphasized is being able to be versatile. Both Hall and Wimbley have been playing at multiple positions and Hall feels he's adjusting to it.
"We have a lot of multiple looks," Hall said. "We move around quite a bit and that's been the biggest difference from last year's scheme.
"A lot of people are in different positions seeing how they fit in."
Hall had his first career sack against the Ravens in the third game last year. That started a three-game streak where he picked up as sack also against the Bengals and the Giants in consecutive weeks. He sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Bengals and forced a fumble deep in Bengals territory which resulted in a Browns score.
"If felt good because a lot of people didn't expect much from me last year."
Hall has shown he has the potential to be a pass rusher, but he needs to show he can be an all-around player.
"Pass rushing is only one phase of the game," Mangini said. "You have to be stout against the run and be able to drop back into coverage, among other things."
Hall said that he feels much more comfortable in his second year. He also feels that having players that have played for Mangini in the past has really helped him.
"The game is slowing down for me," he said. "I've been able to learn from guys who played for coach because they understand what he wants to do."
Stallworth Meets Goodell: WR Donte Stallworth is scheduled to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell this afternoon concerning Stallworth's indefinite suspension from the league according to several sources. Stallworth was released from jail last month after a 30-day prison sentence for DUI manslaughter in Florida. It is unknown what the Browns will do if Stallworth is reinstated in the future. The Browns have said they will let the league handle the suspension on their time frame. Stallworth is expected to plead his case to be able to rejoin the Browns. He is currently barred from practicing or working out with the team. Michael Vick's suspension was lifted by Goodell in the couple of weeks.
Mangini wouldn't either confirm or deny that Stallworth was meeting with Goodell.
"I have no knowledge of that, but it's a league matter," Mangini said. "Once the league makes a determination, we'll make a decision."
"He's doing a nice job," Mangini said. "He's taking reps and learning."
Brown was signed as a free agent to the Browns' practice squad last year before being added to the active roster for the final four games. Lawson appeared in 15 games after making the team as an undrafted free agent from Oregon State.
"You have to figure a way to get noticed and (Lawson) has done a nice job of doing that," Mangini said.
Hall of Famers Speak: Mangini said he had Browns Hall of Famers Paul Warfield and Jim Brown address the team on Tuesday night.
"It's a great thing for me to have great guys like that to spend time and talk with the team," Mangini said. "Those guys have a wealth of information and can be so beneficial to our players. Having those guys close to our team is very helpful."
Brown is an Executive Advisor with the team, while Warfield is a Special Assignment Scout/Advisor to the General Manager.
Mangini was asked if he felt the players knew much about the duo.
"When they walked into the room, it was silent," Mangini said. "For our players to hear them helps them appreciate their history."
Quick Hits: FB Charles Ali and DB Don Carey missed the morning practice…WR Braylon Edwards made two outstanding catches in 7-on-7 drills in his first practice back. One was a leaping grab on a lob by QB Derek Anderson over DB Gerard Lawson… Anderson bootlegged for a touchdown around right end in goal line situations… Rookie C Alex Mack had a nice pancake block on DL Shaun Rogers…Anderson was sacked by DL Corey Williams on the last play in goal line…The Browns practice again Wednesday from 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm.