Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini spoke to the media Monday morning regarding the roster cuts and the health of certain players on the team. Here are some highlights from the press conference [click here for the full transcript]:
Shaun Rogers and His Spot on the D-Line
(On if Shaun Rogers is going to practice and if he is going to play on Sunday) -- "Yes, he is going to practice some today and it will increase a little bit more as the week goes on. I can see him playing on Sunday.
(On where Shaun Rogers will be practicing) -- "He’s going to be practicing in his core spots which is nose tackle, and then he will also work some of the other spots. There is a designated amount of reps that we have for him some it may be package specific that he will work on initially and again as the week goes on he will be able to do more and more so we will be able to do more and more. I think as the weeks go on that could continue to expand."
(On if Rogers has had any contact and how they are going to prepare him for Sunday) -- "On PUP you are not able to able to do that. He will get a little bit of that today. You’ll increase it during the week. I think some other teams are facing the same thing where you get a guy back at this point. Now the advantage they have is with an older guy and more experienced guy, there’s less of a learning curve there than a younger guy."
(On Ahtyba Rubin’s development and if Rogers will play defensive end) -- "Rubin has earned the right to play and Rubin will play. He has done an exceptional job. I really have enjoyed watching his growth just with my time here and seeing him develop not just as a player but as a pro. He’s earned the right to play so that’s a good thing because Shaun does have the ability to play nose tackle, he has the ability to play defensive end. To be able to mix guys in at different spots it gives you depth, it gives you a chance to spell people during the course of a game and it also gives you some versatility in terms of matchups that you want against your opponents’ offensive linemen. I think Rubin’s development, growth and progress have been a real positive in terms of the flexibility that it gives us defensively."
Comments - It's very encouraging to hear that Rogers will probably be playing this Sunday against the Buccaneers. In the off chance that we can't win very many games against the contenders this season, we need to be at our best against the lower competition. Rogers will help generate a pass rush up front that we've been lacking, and keeping Rubin at nose tackle is something we've discussed here throughout the offseason. By the way, Rogers was indeed on the practice field Monday, according to reports.
Jerome Harrison's Increased Workload
(On if Harrison took Montario Hardesty’s injury as a challenge to step up and carry the load) -- "I never got the sense from Jerome that the things that he was going to do were going to be dependent on somebody else. You don’t ever want that. You don’t want someone saying, ‘Okay because he’s doing X, I’m going to do Y. I’m going to do this because it’s right for me.’ I get that sense form Jerome. He has certain goals, he has certain things that he wants to achieve. I’m talking about growth and development. It wasn’t based on Montario being here, it wasn’t based on anybody being here. It was based on what he wanted to do for him. That’s, I think, a very healthy approach."
(On if he talked to Harrison about what he expects from him going into the season) -- "I haven’t really had that individual sit down this year. Jerome and I talk all of the time, it’s not a function of having one sort of landmark meeting. I like to think in squad meetings and things like that, we get a sense of where we are coming from. I’m always open to talking to any of the guys at any point. He understands the things that he has to do and he understands the great opportunity that he has in front of him. I expect him to seize that opportunity like he did last year and run with it."
Comments - I think we'll see Harrison get a decent workload per game, which would be around 20 carries. If the Browns utilize Peyton Hillis and the passing game, that would be the reason that he doesn't reach the 30-carry mark. It'll be interesting to see if James Davis gets worked into the lineup at all. Right now, I'm just expecting it to be Harrison and Hillis, with Davis maybe getting a touch or two if Harrison just broke a 30+ yard run shy of a touchdown or something.
Roster Versatility at Tight End, Linebacker, and Cornerback
(On the abundance of linebackers) -- "I think there’s going to be different combinations with those guys and it’s a balancing act between special teams and the packages and making sure that you’ve got enough of both to do what you’d like to do. Typically with us, a lot of linebackers play on third down as defensive line types. Most of our outside linebackers are the same size as your average 4-3 defensive end. Those guys are around 270 lbs, our guys are around 255-260 lbs so there’s not a big variation between a 4-3 end and a 3-4 outside linebacker on average, give or take five pounds."
(On what Michael Adams’ role will be as the fourth corner) -- "Mike actually started quite a few games for us last year at the corner position and he plays a lot of corner type roles whether it be the inside slot player or the star player for us. He has started outside, he’s started inside and he played safety and that’s a really good thing. It allows us to do some different things with him that you may not be able to do with some other players, one of the things I really like about him, and you are always looking to build within the system."
(On what went into the decision to keep four tight ends) -- "I thought that Alex (Smith) had a really good camp. What I liked about him is no matter what we asked him to do, he did it pretty well. We asked him to play fullback in the backfield, he did that pretty well. We asked him to be the in-line tight end, he did that pretty well. We asked him to be the off the line tight end, he did that pretty well. He created a role for himself in the fact that he can play multiple roles, so that was really the thought process."
Comments - I'm still amazed that we have 12 linebackers on the roster. I was trying to think of eight inactive players we would have on gameday, and I came up with:
- Colt McCoy
- Carlton Mitchell
- Derreck Robinson
- D'Qwell Jackson (injury)
- Alex Smith
- Titus Brown
- David Veikune
Those are seven likely ones I came up with, which puts the in-game linebacker count at 9. One more player needs to be inactive, and I'm guessing that'd either be a linebacker or a safety -- perhaps Sorensen is he still has concussion problems.
Other things that Mangini mentioned are that John St. Clair is practicing again, Floyd Womack may be back Wednesday, and he really likes the progress that Brian Robiskie made this year.