August 29, 2014

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Mangini defends his style

BALTIMORE — Coach Eric Mangini, in his first year with the Browns, is already under the microscope after an 0-3 start that has seen Cleveland get blown out three times and outscored 95-29.

He was steaming Sunday after the 34-3 loss to the Ravens, but kept his composure despite being asked if he felt his way of dealing with the players — stiff fines, strict discipline — could work.

“I’ve dealt with a lot of football players over time, and I feel very comfortable with my ability to deal with people,” he said. “I think the important thing is to be able to teach and coach, and demand high expectations of the people that play for you. That’s something that I fundamentally believe in.”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday the Browns will be facing up to five grievances for fines that Mangini has levied, including the $1,701 assessed to a player for not paying for a $3 bottle of water at a hotel on the road.

The players may be grumbling behind Mangini’s back, but they’re still saying the right things publicly.

“We’re all in this together,” right tackle John St. Clair said. “We believe in everybody. The coaches, players, everybody.

Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason catches a touchdown pass over the outstretched hand of Browns corner Brandon McDonald in the fourth quarter. (AP photo.)

Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason catches a touchdown pass over the outstretched hand of Browns corner Brandon McDonald in the fourth quarter. (AP photo.)

“That won’t change, and that’s the truth.”

“The guy’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met, as far as football-wise,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said of Mangini. “We put in a lot of work, players, coaches, everyone in that building. Everyone knows without hard work, nothing will be.

“This is a tough time right now. It’s disappointing, no question. But the defense has to keep working, the offense has to keep working, special teams and so forth.”

Despite the lopsided losses, Mangini said he didn’t think any of the players quit on him Sunday.

“No. No, and if at any point I do identify something like that, they won’t be playing in the weeks to come,” he said.

Mangini made the quarterback switch from Brady Quinn to Derek Anderson at halftime in search of a spark, but the Ravens took the 20-0 lead and built it to 34-3. He said he’ll pick a starter for next Sunday against Cincinnati early in the week.

The Browns avoided a shutout when Billy Cundiff, signed Saturday to fill in for the injured Phil Dawson, kicked a 29-yard field goal with 14:55 left in the fourth quarter. The Browns faced fourth-and-goal from the 12 and Mangini called for the kicking unit.

“There was quite a bit of time left at that point,” he said. “We were looking at trying to get it to a three-score game (three touchdowns, three 2-point conversions).

“I thought we could get that and get the ball back, generate something. If it was a little bit closer (than the 12-yard line), we would have gone for it.”

Mangini had the option of taking the points off the scoreboard and going for a touchdown from the 7 after a Ravens penalty on the kick. He declined.

Defense a dud

The defense gave up 34 points and 479 yards, allowed Joe Flacco to throw for 342 yards and didn’t get a hand on the Ravens running backs on three touchdown runs.

“We gave up big plays after the interception, we gave up a long bomb,” Jackson said. “We need to start creating turnovers. We need to try to score on D and cause havoc.”

Jackson came away impressed with Flacco.

“For a while he was completing every pass, it seemed like,” Jackson said. “You’ve got to give him credit. He’s come a long way. He looked much better in person than watching him on film. He had a big day.”

This and that

  • With the field goal, Cundiff became the first kicker other than Dawson to connect on a field goal for the Browns in the regular season since Brett Conway converted on an 18-yarder in the 2003 season finale. Dawson missed the final three games of that season with a broken arm. Dawson strained his right calf Thursday and was inactive. Cundiff also had a touchback despite kicking off from the 25-yard line after an offsides penalty.
  • Rookie receiver Mohamed Massaquoi made his first start as the Browns opened the game in a four-receiver package. He played more than in the first two games, catching a pass for 13 yards.
  • Joshua Cribbs returned to covering kicks. He had a catch for 2 yards on offense.
  • Braylon Edwards had three catches for 35 yards. He had one catch for 6 yards from Quinn. He refused to talk after the game, which is a violation of NFL rules.
  • Mike Adams worked in at safety for Brodney Pool in the first half.

Wimbley dinged

Outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley had five tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit. He also hurt his shoulder.

“It’s pretty good,” he said. “We evaluated it and everything seems fine, so I’ll just go back and get a further evaluation. I’ll probably get some treatments.”

Wimbley didn’t have the shoulder wrapped in the locker room.

No Robiskie again

Rookie receiver Brain Robiskie, the 36th overall pick, was a healthy inactive for the second straight game. He’s the fifth receiver on the depth chart and hasn’t carved a role on special teams.

“He’s working through with the groups during the course of the week,” Mangini said last week. “When we’re making those decisions for the inactives, we have a group of guys that may not have a core role right now on offense and defense.

“You look at what spots they can play on special teams, who had the better week of practice and then you make the decision based on that, taking also into account what their role could be offensively and defensively.”

Guards Rex Hadnot (knee) and Floyd Womack (ankle) and running back Jamal Lewis (hamstring) were inactive. Defensive back/special teamer Gerard Lawson and recently signed tight end Greg Estandia were healthy inactives.

Hank Fraley got the start at right guard, the first of his career. He’s started 119 games at center.

Looking back

Mangini coached his first game inside the AFC North, but he isn’t new to the Cleveland-Baltimore history.
He was a coaches’ assistant in 1995 with the Browns under Bill Belichick. Owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore following the season.

“I don’t think anybody was happy about it, players, coaches,” Mangini said last week. “It was sad.”

Mangini made the move to Baltimore and was hired as a low-level assistant coach under Ted Marchibroda in the Ravens’ first season.

“I have a lot of positive memories from that experience,” Mangini said. “It was quite an experience, to say the least. I met my wife there, got married there.

“I was there for that first draft where we drafted Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis. Those were sort of exciting experiences as a young guy.”

Extra points

  • Walking through downtown Sunday morning, it sounded as if the city were on fire. Sirens blared and could be heard for blocks. When the noise got closer, it was just the Browns’ two-bus caravan with a police escort of at least six motorcycles.
  • Former Browns and Ravens tackle Orlando Brown was spotted walking among the fans outside M&T Bank Stadium before the game. “Zeus” is best known for knocking referee Jeff Triplette to the ground after Triplette’s flag hit Brown in the eye.