Steelers vs. BrownsSunday, Oct. 17Kickoff 1 P.M.
CLEVELAND BROWNS CONFERENCE CALLS
COACH ERIC MANGINI
RE: Update on quarterback situation:
Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme are both going to miss practice here today. And we'll see how it progresses through the course of the week. We signed Brett Ratliff yesterday who was with us last year. He was with me in New York. He has a lot of experience in the system. And we have Colt McCoy. Those two guys will take the reps here today and see how it goes through the course of the week.
Is Colt McCoy the guy if Wallace and Delhomme can't play?
He'll get more of the reps here, but I want to see how it goes through the week before having a definitive answer there.
How tough is it to coach with so many quarterback changes?
It's challenging because we went into the season with Jake Delhomme as the starter. And then he was hurt the first game. Then Seneca came in. Seneca did a great job and did a great job during the preseason. But you do have to do some different things with him than you have to with Jake. Now with both banged up, you got to adjust to each guy that's in. We do that during the course of the week, not knowing whether you'll get to your two or three [second or third quarterback]. Things are catered to specific guys within the framework of the game plan, but you'd like to go into each game with an anticipation of who is going to play, and some continuity week in and week out.
RE: Last year's quarterback shuffling into this year:
We felt like we had really answered that question with Jake starting and playing the first game of the season. You just don't know with injuries. You got to deal with it and move forward. But we had some experience definitely.
RE: Josh Cribbs success running the wildcat against the Steelers:
Josh had a lot of success against everybody doing that, and he's a pretty special guy with the ball in his hands. Some of those plays were good blocking, and some were really good running on his part. I'd say it's a combination of those two. There are some outstanding individual efforts on his part to create some yards.
Have you used him in the wildcat a lot this season?
We have used it some this year. Each game we have a plan to do that or a group of plays we can do that with. But he does have the kickoff return, the punt return; he's playing a decent amount at receiver so we also have to monitor his reps in order for him to be effective the way we want him to be effective over the course of the game.
What do you expect to see out of Ben Roethlisberger?
I think he's outstanding. He's got so much experience in the system and he's had the extra week to get back in the flow and work with the team again. I expect him to be really good like he always is.
RE: Mike Wallace:
He's really played well. He's got outstanding speed. He's made a lot of big plays. I've been impressed with the things he's done since he's come in. He has caught a range of balls too. It hasn't just been one type of ball. As he gets more experience the types of catches he's making, the variety of catches he's making has expanded. He's a dangerous guy. When you combine him with Hines Ward, Antwaan Randle El and Heath Miller it makes it difficult to defend the group. Plus you have an outstanding running game.
Can you talk about the mood of your team? It seems like you have been in every game.
Definitely and that is why the mood of the team is still really strong. We believe that we can win it. As easy as our record is 1-4 right now, it could be 4-1 or 5-0. It comes down to turnovers and keeping the football in our hands and limiting the mistakes that are self inflicting wounds. That is our biggest problem and biggest issue of us winning or losing football games.
Why do you have so few opportunities out of the Wildcat so far this year?
The run game has been working and very successful for us. Peyton Hillis has done a great job at running the football and at the time we felt like we didn't need the Wildcat, we didn't need to bring it out that much because of the run game. When the run game did start out slow, we did put it out a bit. But that's not my call. Whenever we do call it, I am prepared to run it and take advantage of the opportunity.
Do you think that might change this week with your uncertain quarterback situation?
I never know. I said that last year and still didn't play as much as I had hoped or thought I would in the package. But you never know going into this game. It would make sense that I would, but you never know. Anytime they do call my number I will be ready to take advantage of that opportunity.
Could you play a whole game that way?
Yes, you can. The amount of package that we have and the amount of plays that we have in it, we had it ready at training camp, it's a full package. It's not like last year, a week-to-week thing where we are putting in new plays. It is more than enough to run a complete football game out of it.
And you could hold up physically taking extra hits?
That isn't anything, I love it, that's football. That's one of my main reasons for playing. I love the game, the sport and the hitting. I am not too fragile at all.
Since you have been there, there has been a lot of turnover at the quarterback position, how difficult is it for you guys to maintain any level of consistency?
It's very difficult when you have a young group of guys. We have a young team so it has been difficult for these guys to grasp hold of just going out there and playing for whomever. We have a lot of young guys just learning to be a pro. Things happen. You have to take it in stride and move on. You have to play for whoever the quarterback is. This is the NFL, a guy can be on one team one day and then another team the next. So you have to take things in stride and go out there and learn how to play football without worrying about who is at quarterback or who is the wide receiver, or who is this guy. You need to do your job and do it well.
How did you and James Harrison, both coming from Kent State, achieve the success?
I believe just because of the school we went to, scouts didn't look at the talent level, they wrote us off due to the lack of competition or the lower tier division we were in. They saw the MAC as being so much lower than other guys when in actuality there are so many MAC standouts in that league right now. There are three from our school that are in the Pro Bowl all of time; myself, James Harrison, Antonio Gates. We had two from our school that was in the Super Bowl last year, Daniel Muir and Usama Young. It is just a point at finding the talent. I look back at Jerry Rice from the smallest school and coming and having the biggest impact. It is just that whole point of being overlooked. But that helped us and gave us a chip on our shoulders to have to prove ourselves. James is doing a very good job, he has done a very good job of proving himself worthy of this league and I think he is one of the best in the league being named defensive player of the year and running back fumbles in the Super Bowl. He is a phenomenal guy. We use to play and do that same exact thing against Roethlisberger and everybody else in the league in college.
Are you and James in contact?
I talk to James every now and then. We have the same masseuse. He is from Akron. I know his family. We have been down to the Pro Bowl a couple of times and every time he comes back to Canton he lets me know and I go up there and talk to him, hang out, so yeah, definitely.