Berea—One of the Browns' main problems for many years has been the inability to stop the run and pressure the passer on defense.
Unfortunately, so far, nothing appears to be changing.
Saturday night's lopsided loss to the Packers showed the Browns still very vulnerable to the run as the Packers amassed over 200 yards rushing. They also didn't put much pressure on the quarterback.
In 2008, one of the Browns big acquisitions was Corey Williams from the Packers. Considered a player on the rise and tagged with the franchise tag by the Packers, the Browns gave up a second-round pick and then gave him a huge 6-year, $38 million dollar deal. At the time, Williams was considered by many to be a bigger addition to the defense than Shaun Rogers, who was acquired from the Detroit Lions for a third round pick and Leigh Bodden.
However, Williams had a less than stellar season with the Browns in 2008. He had a career best 57 tackles, but had just a half a sack. In his last two seasons with the Packers Williams had recorded seven sacks as a defensive tackle in the 4-3 alignment.
Williams has been mentioned in trade rumors and his future is uncertain in terms of how Eric Mangini and staff view him. Mangini brought over Kenyon Coleman and C.J. Mosley from the Jets to play on the defensive line.
Coleman is listed as the starter at right end with Robaire Smith at left end.
Williams said he hurt the shoulder early before the 2008 season in OTAs and never really was right the whole season. He said he had ‘some work done.'
"I'm 100 percent now," Williams said. "I hate to bring up my shoulder, but now I will be able to show what I can do."
Williams said he is motivated to rebound this year.
"No doubt about it, I have a chip on my shoulder to play better than I did last year."
Many have questioned if Williams is suited to play the 3-4 after flourishing in the previous system.
"I started in the 4-3 and was comfortable in that system," Williams said. "I miss penetrating. It's a big difference in the 3-4. The focus is to stop the run and force the pass."
Mangini said he is happy with what he's seen from Williams.
"I've seen all types of different guys play in this system," Mangini aid. "You can learn it and I think Corey has made some good strides from the beginning of training camp to now. I've seen some real progress in him."
Williams said he's still learning the 3-4 and is confident he will be effective in it.
"I continue to think positive and keep a straight, level head," he said. "I just keep learning and working hard."
He said he is not worried about the number of sacks he gets.
"When the time comes (to rush the passer), I have to prepare to be ready."
Mangini said the transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 is a combination of mental and physical elements.
"Any transition is both mental and technique," Mangini said. "It's a little bit of both."
RB Jennings Signed, Hunt Waived: The Browns had a new running back on the field for the morning practice in Chris Jennings wearing No. 34. To make room for Jennings, the team waived LB Phillip Hunt, a rookie undrafted free agent from Houston. Jennings played in the Canadian Football League last year.
Too many mistakes: Mangini was still unhappy with the Tuesday morning practice as several penalties occurred while the team was in team drills. TE Aaron Walker and TE John Madsen had to run laps for false starts, among others.
"We have to be able to focus when you're tired and get the confidence you need," Mangini said. "Any time you think you have it hard, you only need to look over at some of the visitors and those that need basic school supplies. That's hard."
Quick Hits: DL Shaun Rogers, OL Ryan Tucker and WR David Patten were on the bikes…WR Braylon Edwards made a nice leaping grab down the sideline over DB Corey Ivy on a pass from QB Brady Quinn…Ivy was called for pass interference on Edwards a couple plays later and he screamed ‘You got to be kidding me' as he took off for his lap…Quinn threw a pass in the two-minute that was nowhere near a receiver and CB Brandon McDonald intercepted it and returned it for a score. It was unclear if the pass was tipped or not.
Blackout Looming: It appears the Browns/Lions preseason telecast will be blacked out unless close to 5,000 tickets are sold in the next 24 hours. Locally, WKYC Channel 3 is set to broadcast the game, but if it is blacked out it will be the first since the team returned in 1999.
"I know we have great fans and the organization is working hard to do everything we can to get the fans back," Mangini said.
Joe's Reward: OT Joe Thomas was off practice Tuesday morning for an award he earned during the off-season program.
"There are some specific rules where the certificate is awarded and it's for one practice off during training camp. It's non-transferrable and he redeemed it for today."
"I wanted to work Eric at tackle and Alex at guard, so this was an opportunity to do that. "
Brett's Back: Mangini was asked if he had any comment on the news that QB Brett Favre is heading to Minnesota to join the Vikings. Mangini coached Favre in 2008 with the Jets.
"I haven't really watched the news today," he said. "He's a great competitor and I wish him well."
If everything goes as planned, he will make his debut against the Browns at home on Sept. 13.
Quotable: Mangini was asked if he thought about bringing in some comic relief at this point in training camp.
"(The players) can watch practice and get some comic relief."