New Browns Coach Eric Mangini is bringing a new attitude to his first camp.
There is a new sherriff in town, boys!
The Cleveland Browns opened up the first camp under new Head Coach Eric Mangini and quickly found out that things will be different than they were under Romeo Crennel.
Mangini is trying trying to break the cycle of failure and create a culture where mistakes, laziness and sloppy play are unnaccetable. To that end he has implemented many new rules, designed to make Browns' players tougher, more prepared and accountable for their mistakes.
To that end, Mangini is having players, and in some cases entire Offensive or Defensive units runs laps for every penalty, missed assignment, blown coverage and turnover. He had the entire offense run a lap after a sloppy two-minute drill, much to the amusement of the Defense. “They should have run,” linebacker D'Qwell Jackson cracked. “That drill, they threw flags all over the place.”
Some other noticeable changes were the loud music that constantly blares while the team runs drills. Mangini wants to get his players used to the noise and distractions that come with the territory of the NFL. The Browns often looked lost on the field during the Crennel era, especially late in games, when good teams rise to the occasion and others wilt under pressure.
Remember that 93 yard bomb to Eddie Royal against Denver? Remember the countless stalled Two-Minute drills? The Browns 2008 season was littered with key moments in close games where the team just looked to be confused and unprepared. Mangini is trying to make his Browns much more disiplined.
The other “noise” in the first days of camp was the sounds of helmets and shoulder pads colliding. Yes, hitting has returned to Browns camp. Every reporter covering the Browns first days of camp has remarked that things have been much more down and dirty than they ever were during the Crennell camps. Some reported that there was more contact in one practice than you might have seen in a week of practices under former coach Romeo Crennel.
During the past few years Browns' coaches were often heard yelling “Stay up!” at players early in camp. Camp Mangini has replaced this cautious approach with increased contact and physical play right from the get-go.
''It's a contact sport and we have to practice contact,'' Mangini said. ''You have to practice the right fits at that tempo. You try to do as much of it as you can without getting to the point where you're adding risk and also try to maintain the guys' bodies. It's a delicate balance that you're always trying to adjust.''
“It's a lot more contact than I've ever done before in my 10 years in the league.” RB Jamal Lewis said on Monday. Get used to it boys – in a division where the physical play of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens defines the style of play necessary for success – Mangini is sending the message early to his players what will be expected of them this season.
Some other “Quick Hits” from the first few days of camp:
-Right after being signed, Brian Robiskie got to work and had a very good first practice.
-Brady Quinn got the first snap with the first-team offense, but head coach Eric Mangini said the reps will be split evenly between Quinn and Derek Anderson until a starter is declared.
“We'll alternate depending on day and teaching progression,” Mangini said. “They'll get an equal amount of reps and they'll be equally distributed through different segments — red area, third down, two-minute. We'll track the reps daily, as we track all the reps daily.”
-Former NFL coach Buddy Ryan, the father of Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and his twin brother, Rex, head coach of the Jets, visited Browns training camp Sunday and spent the next four days in Browns camp.
-In a one-on-one drill, NT Shaun Rogers welcomed Alex Mack to the NFL by pushing the rookie five or six yards back off the snap.
-Mangini wanted Eric Steinbach to get bigger in the off-season and he added about 15-20 pounds. Steinbach said he hopes the extra weight will help him stave off some of the nagging injuries that have plagued him.
-Special teams coach Brad Seely tortured Phil Dawson with a goalpost that is approximately one-half the 18-foot, 6-inch width of the normal goalpost. Dawson appeared to make 5 of 8 kicks varying in length from 20 to 42 yards.
-Wide receiver Braylon Edwards continues to sit out practice with an unspecified injury leading some industry insiders to specualte that he isn't really hurt, merely saying he is to avoid practicing as a protest against the fact that he hasn't been traded or offered a contract extension.
-Defensive end Robaire Smith, who sat out the final 14 games of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, participated in drills but was limited.
-OL Ryan Tucker, heading into his 13th season, admitted he contemplated retiring in the month leading up to camp, but decided against it.
-Tight end Steve Heiden, who had ACL surgery in December, is working in all drills, wearing a red jersey to limit his contact. He was without the “No touch” jersey by Wednesday.
-As expected, Joshua Cribbs and Phil Dawson both showed up in camp. Cribbs previously stated he would attend practices.
-OLB Alex Hall made an impression early in training camp practice on Saturday. The second-year player gained the appreciation of players and coaches alike due to his ability to stay with RBs coming out of the backfield in team drills. The Browns really need Hall to step up in his second year and provide some pass rush from the left side.
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Written by Ryan Carey