Mangini Remains Mum On Starting QB

Tight-lipped coach refuses to confirm or deny speculation that Quinn is in, plus Rogers hoping to play in the opener?

Berea—Shaun Rogers missed all of the preseason games and was listed on the first injury report as having a foot injury. He was asked if he will play on Sunday.

"I hope so," Rogers said. "If not, it will be a long day."

Rogers said he is much more excited about the opening game of the regular season and chuckled when asked if it bothered him to not play in the preseason games.

"I'm excited about the opener," he said. "I love to play the game when it counts. There were certain situations that didn't allow me to play."

Eric Mangini wouldn't say that Rogers would play this week, but referenced a play made in practice on Wednesday that impressed him where he chased down a player.

"We'll see where he is at the end of the week," Mangini said. "He's pretty athletic and a very gifted athlete.

"He loves to play and the motor he plays with is impressive," he said.  "He finishes."

Rogers is coming off a Pro Bowl season and he was asked why he has been so dominant at the NFL level.

"Genetics," he said. "I don't have an answer. I'm just blessed."

Rogers played in all 16 games last season and had 73 tackles with 4.5 sacks on his way to the Pro Bowl. He said he was banged up last season and is looking forward to starting the 2009 season much fresher.

"I'm just trying to be the best I can be prepared for the team," he said. "I had the luxury of missing a few weeks (of training camp). The coach evaluates and decides if I should be in there."

Rogers thinks with the return of Robaire Smith and the addition of Kenyon Coleman, the defensive line can be pretty good.

"We'll be able to see where you're at," he said. "I think we can only be as good as we decide to be. We could very well be a top 10 defense or we could be at the bottom.

"With health and the additions we have, Robaire (Smith), Kenyon (Coleman), we have a lot of ability," he said. "We just have to bring it together."

Rogers is listed at 350 pounds, but he looks in much better shape than he did in 2008. However, Rogers dismissed the idea.

"It's just that I'm wearing a black t-shirt," he said. "I have a lot of them."

No Reaction: Mangini had no reaction or statement to several printed reports that said QB Brady Quinn would be Sunday's starter. Mangini has tried to keep the starting quarterbacks identity in house to force the Vikings to prepare for either Quinn or QB Derek Anderson.

"I really don't have anything to add to what I said yesterday (about he quarterbacks)," Mangini said in his opening statement to the media on Thursday.

Mangini was asked about Quinn's progress since the beginning of the off-season.

"I think both guys have made a lot of progress since the OTAs," Mangini said. "Brady has done a good job in terms of knowing what the opponent is doing. I think DA has done the same. There are a lot of examples throughout training camp and the preseason."

Mangini was asked if Quinn is a natural leader and his definition of huddle presence.

"It's hard to determine what is natural born and in what capacity you feel you can lead," he said. "It can be somebody who is naturally quiet.

"(Huddle presence) is a term used quite often and it encompasses a lot of things," he said. "It's how they operate the offense. It's how they use the two-minute offense or in the red zone and how they react to the decisions in the situations they are in. It's not just coming into the huddle with a calm demeanor, but operating in the whole system.

"It's not just the 20 seconds or so when they're in the huddle with the players," he said. "It's not defined in the narrow terms of when they're in the huddle."

"We want to make sure that everybody has chemistry with everyone else. One of the goals of training camp and moving guys around was to have all of the players have chemistry and relationships with one another."

Eric's Response: Vikings QB Brett Favre disclosed in his interview with the Cleveland media on Wednesday that he had a torn biceps last year while he played with the Jets when the team collapsed. Mangini was asked if Favre should've been replaced.

"With that whole part of the season I made the decisions that I thought were best for the team," he said. "There were a lot of decisions I could have made better. Winning or losing is never about one person. It's a team thing."

Mangini was asked why Favre was not listed as injured on the report.

"We always fill out the injury report by the guidelines of the NFL," he said. "That was true there and that is true now."

Captain, My Captain: Mangini said the Browns voted on captains for the season and the following were selected: Offense: OL Joe Thomas and RB Jamal Lewis; Defense: LB D'Qwell Jackson and LB Eric Barton; Special Teams: WR/KR Josh Cribbs and K Phil Dawson.

"Being voted by my fellow peers makes it special," Cribbs said. "I want to lead by example and help the football team."

Cribbs is expected to be a bigger part of the offense, as well as the special teams.

Thomas has made the Pro Bowl in his first two years and was elected captain for the first time.

"It's an honor for me that I've been working toward," Thomas said. "I want to lead by example."

Dawson has been a captain before for the Browns.

"What means the most to me is that it came from the guys inside the four walls," Dawson said."It's a responsibility I take seriously."

Barton and Jackson are the two inside linebackers in the 3-4 scheme. Barton just joined the Browns as an unrestricted free agent from the Jets.

"I'm happy to represent the team as a captain," Barton said. "I want to do what is best for the team and do what a captain is supposed to do." 

Jackson feels being named captain is another step in his career.

"Knowing my teammates respect me that much is a great honor," Jackson said. "This year, everything seems to be falling into place."

Lewis welcomes being one of the captains.

"Sometimes, leadership is how you handle yourself in the locker room." 

Thomas thinks the captains can make a difference.

"Coach Mangini is open to input from the players," Thomas said. "It's an important job."

Mangini likes the mixture of the players selected by a vote of the players.

"I'm happy with all of the guys as they've shown leadership on and off the field."

More Rogers: Rogers has probably played against QB Brett Favre more than any other player on the Browns roster, since he played against him twice a year being in the same division as the Packers while a member of the Lions for 7 years.

"He's the ultimate competitor,"  Rogers said. "He enjoys the game and has the ability to throw the ball all over the field."

Rogers was also asked about his relationship with Mangini has warmed, if any, since the rocky start.

"He's the coach and I'm the player."

Rogers was asked about the statement that former Browns DL Shaun Smith said the week of the preseason game with the Lions that Rogers wishes he was with the Lions.

"I didn't make the statement," Rogers said. "You'll have to ask (Shaun Smith) that."

Opening Clunkers: The Browns have opening the previous 10 seasons at home and are a dismal 1-9 during that stretch. One of those losses was the infamous Dwayne Rudd throwing his helmet to cost a win over the Chiefs.

Mangini said that winning the first game is important, but wouldn't say if the Browns lost the season was over.

"I think all 16 games are really important," Mangini said.  The first Super Bowl year in New England, I think we started 0-2. Every year there are teams that start fast or start slow. What I'm looking for is consistency."

A league statistic shows that teams that start 1-0 make the playoffs in about 60 percent of the cases.

"I wish it was that clear cut,"  Mangini said. "I believe each season is a body of work in itself. It's what you do each week."

K Phil Dawson, who has been with the Browns for the previous 10 seasons agrees.

"It's a new year," he said. "We're not in a hole and we're focusing on week one." 

Special Game: When Mangini was first hired as Browns coach, he told the story when he first started with the Browns under Bill Belichick as an intern that he was questioned by his mother as to whether he should accept the internship with the Browns. His response was, ‘But Mom, it's the Cleveland Browns.'

He will coach his first game at the control against the Vikings.

"I only had to sell her when I was in college," Mangini said. "She's sold now. She'll be at the game."

Mangini said he is looking forward to the game.

"It is special," he said. "It's Cleveland football at home with the crowd. I'm hoping the rookies and the new guys will appreciate that and get to experience that, as well."

Rookie Excited: RB James Davis had a productive preseason and could see more action than originally anticipated. He welcomes the opportunity to play against Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson.

"I was more nervous for the preseason game," Davis said. "I definitely expect the speed of the game to be different.

"It's going to be exciting," he said. "A lot of those guys I watched growing up and it will be exciting to be on the same field with them."


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