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Terry Pluto's Talkin' ... about Browns' new look

by Terry Pluto/Plain Dealer Columnist

Saturday May 02, 2009, 11:39 PM

 

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CLEVELAND -- Ten things about the Browns ...

 

1. I have a feeling the Browns' draft board looked much different than that of most teams. It was aimed toward adding picks, adding depth with a couple of veterans via trade, and adding character. If it meant they took players higher than what the "experts" believed they should be selected, the Browns didn't care. They really did the draft their way, with General Manager George Kokinis and coach Eric Mangini unconcerned with the opinion of anyone else.

 

2. I tend to agree with reader Geoff Beckman (Rocky River), who emailed: "To their credit, they didn't fall in love with anyone and throw away draft picks trying to move up -- like giving (Kansas City GM Scott Pioli) a No. 1 and a No. 2 so they could draft Aaron Curry. The worst reach they made was David Veikune (No. 52) ... but they also acted like guys who were worried about losing who they liked ... so they overpaid ... by picking them at least 10 spots higher than they should have gone."

 

3. By trading the No. 5 pick to the New York Jets for what became the No. 21 and No. 52 picks, here's what the Browns did. They traded that choice for Alex Mack, Veikune, Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam and third-string quarterback Brett Ratliff (never thrown a pass in the regular season). Mack should start. Coleman can start on the line. The key is Elam, who has to perform at safety like someone picked in the middle of the first round for this deal to really yield full value. Elam has to be above average, and it's possible the Kent State product will do that. He will be 27 on opening day and should be in his prime.

 

4. If Elam can be a playmaker at safety and if Mack indeed becomes the anchor in the middle of the offensive line, the trade looks very good. Coleman is probably a decent but unspectacular defensive end who knows the 3-4. The trade does give Mangini veterans in his defensive film rooms who know his system. Former Jets Hank Poteat and Elam are with the defensive backs. Eric Barton and David Bowens are in the linebackers room, with C.J. Mosley and Coleman with the defensive linemen.

 

5. A real test of the new regime's talent evaluation will be Veikune, whom most draft experts had in the third round or lower. He is 6-2, 257 pounds, and was a defensive end at Hawaii. He is an achiever, with 9.0 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. Yes, it's in the mid-major Western Athletic Conference, but at least he was a major performer at that level. He also was a member of the All-WAC academic team. If the Browns' scouts are right, this guy becomes a pass rusher from the outside linebacker spot. If others are correct, he helps mostly on special teams.

 

6. The Browns also have mentioned Veikune possibly playing some inside linebacker. That seems a bit of a stretch as they already have veterans D'Qwell Jackson and Eric Barton. Leon Williams remains in camp and fourth-rounder Kaluka Maiava is another possibility. The real need is to create a pass rush from outside linebackers Kamerion Wimbley, Alex Hall and David Bowens. This is where Veikune can make a real impact.

 

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Now a second-year player, linebacker Alex Hall (96) could find a much higher profile with the Browns' defense under the Mangini regime

 

7. I have a sense the Browns are intrigued by Hall, who had three sacks last season while taking fewer than 20 percent of the snaps. This team desperately has to produce more of a pass rush, and Veikune was the only one drafted who may supply that. It also possible they can rush Elam from his safety spot as he's known as a hard-hitter.

 

8. Another player to follow is Kaluka Maiava, who did start as the fourth linebacker (inside) at USC. At the very least, the Browns believe he will help on special teams. At 5-11 and 229 pounds, he's not physically imposing. He was the defensive MVP in the Rose Bowl.

 

9. I hear Shaun Rogers has had a good talk with Mangini, and the star tackle is in a positive frame of mind about the new direction of the team and the defense.

 

10. Considering what happened on draft day, I believe the Browns think this could be a tough season with a real change of culture (read: discipline crackdown) in the dressing room. They want high character guys who can handle it, and so it seemed as if they were almost drafting for members of the National Honor Society. Mack won the Draddy Trophy for academics and character. Brian Robiskie was a runner-up, and Mohamed Massaquoi already has his degree in psychology. I keep wondering if the Browns could have grabbed Robiskie at 50, but I'm not about to knock picking a receiver who can actually catch the ball, likes to run over the middle, can block and also fights off defensive backs to catch passes in the end zone. Don't know what to think of Massaquoi. Some scouts love him, others say he drops balls. He can block.

 

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9. I hear Shaun Rogers has had a good talk with Mangini, and the star tackle is in a positive frame of mind about the new direction of the team and the defense.

 

Now, contrast this with the Josh McDaniels approach to "franchise player harmony". This is where the experience of a head coach comes in. As Kris Jenkins says, "the dude has to come in and know how to balance the emotions of 52 egos."

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Veikune is potentially something special if he can convert from a tweener to an olb/ilb the guy is insanely strong and has decent speed im going to enjoy watching him develop and then become a stud in our defense...mangini has to have several multipurpose possibilities brewing for this kid...;)

 

I love terrys articles always good for a laugh..;)

 

Mangini looks like a real coach that commands his will on the field with his "game on" face as opposed to his google eyed press conference faces...hehehehe

I think randy got it right this time...:)

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Mangini looks like a real coach that commands his will on the field with his "game on" face as opposed to his google eyed press conference faces...hehehehe

I think randy got it right this time...:)

 

 

Considering his track record, I'll wait and see what eggs in that basket hatch. He had issues asserting his will over Favre last year, and had a few too many Romeo-esque mismanagements for me to feel too secure yet. Here's hoping though, after the emotionless, little league ideal of "try your best boys" of the past, a little vinegar couldn't hurt.

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Terry Pluto's Talkin' ... about Browns' new look

by Terry Pluto/Plain Dealer Columnist

Saturday May 02, 2009, 11:39 PM

 

6. The Browns also have mentioned Veikune possibly playing some inside linebacker. That seems a bit of a stretch as they already have veterans D'Qwell Jackson and Eric Barton.

 

Mentioned? Didn't Mangini say that was where he was playing first in the video we saw on this site?

 

It's Not a stretch when you consider Barton is entering his 11th year. Plus Veikune is 6-2 and 257 lbs. That can plug some serious holes in the middle.

I'm sure Mangini realizes that the depth at MLB is not there and one of his starters is entering his 11th season.

 

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Veikune is potentially something special if he can convert from a tweener to an olb/ilb the guy is insanely strong and has decent speed im going to enjoy watching him develop and then become a stud in our defense...mangini has to have several multipurpose possibilities brewing for this kid...;)

 

I love terrys articles always good for a laugh..;)

 

Mangini looks like a real coach that commands his will on the field with his "game on" face as opposed to his google eyed press conference faces...hehehehe

I think randy got it right this time...:)

 

How the tone on here has changed concerning Mangini. Just a few months ago he was an asshole for hurting Rogers's feelings.

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Mentioned? Didn't Mangini say that was where he was playing first in the video we saw on this site?

 

It's Not a stretch when you consider Barton is entering his 11th year. Plus Veikune is 6-2 and 257 lbs. That can plug some serious holes in the middle.

I'm sure Mangini realizes that the depth at MLB is not there and one of his starters is entering his 11th season.

 

He said he was working inside first which is the tougher of the two positions but he also said the day before that he looked good working at OLB and will be playing there mostly. I'd expect him to move inside in some speciality packages, but he will be one of the OLBs. Bowens plays both inside and outside and he isn't really a starter. He was a special teams captain and played sparingly at LB. He's a sub and they want Veikune to compete with Wimbley and Hall.

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Guest Aloysius
Man, this is some change from all the Mangini hate that was seen on this site from Jan to March. He was touted as the biggest mistake ever. An asshole for how he treated players in NY and a personal jerk.

So, know everybody is happy, Mangini isn't an asshole anymore and Quinn is going to be the QB.

How the tone on here has changed concerning Mangini. Just a few months ago he was an asshole for hurting Rogers's feelings.

We heard you. And those of us who had reservations about Mangini...still have reservations, even if we're excited about some of the new players.

 

But we'd rather focus on those promising rookies we've brought in. No need to keep bringing up that disagreement, especially when those of us who've expressed skepticism about Mangini sincerely hope that we're completely wrong about him.

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We heard you. And those of us who had reservations about Mangini...still have reservations, even if we're excited about some of the new players.

 

But we'd rather focus on those promising rookies we've brought in. No need to keep bringing up that disagreement, especially when those of us who've expressed skepticism about Mangini sincerely hope that we're completely wrong about him.

 

Just a little dose of reality........................If you don't like the post don't move on, you don't have to read it.

 

But I have to say you sure do those cut and pastes real nice.

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Guest Aloysius
He said he was working inside first which is the tougher of the two positions but he also said the day before that he looked good working at OLB and will be playing there mostly.

The transcript from Friday's presser has Mangini saying this about Veikune's position:

 

(On if Eric Barton will be Veikune's mentor) - "You are looking for ideally more than one because he can play some outside, he can play some inside. There's going to be a sub element he could play. If you have pass rush ability, a lot of times you get a chance to sub a down lineman in any time in our system."

I could be wrong, but I don't think Mangini's said that Veikune will primarily be playing OLB. My impression is that he's being prepped to play both, and it's up in the air as to where he'll spend most of his time.

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The transcript from Friday's presser has Mangini saying this about Veikune's position:

 

 

I could be wrong, but I don't think Mangini's said that Veikune will primarily be playing OLB. My impression is that he's being prepped to play both, and it's up in the air as to where he'll spend most of his time.

 

Yep, he isn't saying much at all as far as committing to him one way or the other. It sounds as if they have absolutely no preconceived notion what his role will be. I like this on so many levels. It tells me they didn't draft Veikune due to a need to fill a position. He was drafted on potential.

It tells me the staff is not forcing the kid into something that just isn't going to come natural for him. Thye are going to allow him to develope naturally and fit a position to him rather than the other way around.

 

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He said he was working inside first which is the tougher of the two positions but he also said the day before that he looked good working at OLB and will be playing there mostly.

 

Link?

 

I haven't seen where he said anything like this.

 

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How the tone on here has changed concerning Mangini. Just a few months ago he was an asshole for hurting Rogers's feelings.

 

Snubbing your best player is always an asshole move. It was then, and it still is now. Rogers may be a pussy, but if he is, Mangini should have slid up in that thang and done it right.

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and treating one player special over the others kinda destroys any hope one has of instilling teamwork in the players.....its simply favoritism. the bigger the ego, the harder it comes crashing down.

 

 

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Snubbing your best player is always an asshole move. It was then, and it still is now. Rogers may be a pussy, but if he is, Mangini should have slid up in that thang and done it right.

 

Not sure he ever "snubbed" him. Matter of fact, not sure we ever heard too much of the story from either party, only the media blow-up of it all. It could just as easily be interpreted as Rogers being an overly-sensitive crybaby as much as it could be Mangini being an asshole. Or, most likely, it wasn't much of anything until the media got involved.

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Link?

 

I haven't seen where he said anything like this.

 

While, you weren't at the minicamp. Matt Eberflus told Zac Jackson that Veitune will be worked in at both positions but they like his pass rushing ability and he has played some OLB at Hawaii so he most likely would see most of his action there. He will start out like a Bowens and can give them some additional depth inside but he is primarily going to work at OLB. Mangini did confirm this to ABJs McManahan Saturday after practice also.

 

I'm not trying to disregard what he said in the press conference and I'm sure they intend to use him at both to see how he adapts, but they want him to be a pass rusher. Again, he may start as a special teams guy and have to work his way into different defensive sets. I know Ryan likes to put 5 LBs in sometimes and make the offense adapt to his sets and guess where the rush is coming from.

 

Sorry, but I'm just trying to pass on some legit information to the readers here. Just because you don't read it or hear it in a press conference doesn't make it a lie.

 

If you want a link, email McManahan at ABJ. There's no link because Zac hasn't done his show yet and most realize Mangini was not saying he is a ILB, period. He is being tried there for depth and he will also play OLB because he has pass rush ability.

 

One thing you will realize with Mangini is that he likes to use players in multiple positions. Corners as FSs, OLBs as ILBs, WRs as both slot and wideouts, even TEs lining up as Hbacks. He likes diversity. One thing that George McDonald told us was that Mangini's theroy is that if he can have players play multiple positions, then teams have a harder time zeroing in on specific packages and what they will do with certain guys in the lineup. That's why he loves a guy like Maiava, because offenses will have a hard time recognizing what scheme they will be running when he is on the field.

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Snubbing your best player is always an asshole move. It was then, and it still is now. Rogers may be a pussy, but if he is, Mangini should have slid up in that thang and done it right.

 

But, later we found out (and it was confirmed by Mary Kay) that Mangini had his back turned to Rogers and was talking to Shipiro when Rogers walked behind him and he definately didn't see him. As soon as Mangini gave his award away he left and went upstairs to the offices and was working with the coaches. He didn't stay around to socialize and never saw Rogers. That was even reported in the PD , but didn't get the hype the initial report did.

 

So, my point is way is nobody saying, "wait, maybe this guy isn't a asshole like the New York media was trying to make him out to be". Maybe he is not that "make a joke with the players" and be their best friends type of coach.

 

I just think the guy took a bad rap and their was some knee jerk reactions to some articles written in the local papers quoting guys from out of town.

 

No big deal, JMHO. I like to wait to judge and not start getting the tar ready before he even gets to his first practice.

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Christ almighty this story is way old and boring and played out like an old fiddle.

 

Ran into a guy tonight who is a pretty hardcore fan and we were both of the opinion that at this point Mangie seems like the real deal to us. This is what I wanted, so we'll see if it correlates on the field.

 

But for crying out loud, the Rogers BS has been broken down by everybody from Pluto to McManamon and has no relevance whatsoever to what is currently going on. It is total water under the bridge and really was never much of an issue anyway.

 

I wrote this in a buried thread, but the media asked Mangie last week how he was going to go about getting the players to respect him and he was like "they need to worry about impressing us and making the team." This is a no nonsense dude who will treat you right if you do what you're supposed to, which first and foremost is working hard.

 

I'm digging Mangie, and you guys that want to pull up some stupid shit with Rogers that is long been discussed and taken care of is myopic and stupid. Get over it and get with the program, we may finally have a real coach.

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Guest Aloysius
I'm digging Mangie, and you guys that want to pull up some stupid shit with Rogers that is long been discussed and taken care of is myopic and stupid.

We're all happy that the Rogers issue resolved, and we're not bringing it up. Only Ytown is - that was my point above.

 

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We're all happy that the Rogers issue resolved, and we're not bringing it up. Only Ytown is - that was my point above.

 

"""Snubbing your best player is always an asshole move. It was then, and it still is now. Rogers may be a pussy, but if he is, Mangini should have slid up in that thang and done it right."""

 

Really?

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Guest Aloysius

I was talking about who brought up the subject, Russ. If it gets raised, of course someone's going to say something like that.

 

And we all know it was more complicated than that. No doubt Rogers is a bit thin-skinned and the incident where Mangini didn't say hi/didn't see him at the charity was overblown.

 

But there were also other issues that seem to have been forgotten: per one report, Rogers was sent a message saying that he shouldn't show up to OTA's unless he was below a certain weight. And I'm sure there was some other stuff I'm forgetting.

 

Anyway, who gives a shit, really? I'm glad that Mangini & Rogers patched things up. And from the articles I read at the time, it seemed like Kokinis played a subtle, underappreciated role in hashing things out. It made me even more of a fan of our A.J. Colby lookalike contest-winning GM. So much so, in fact, that I'm hoping he can help Mangini not repeat some of the mistakes he made in New York.

 

But I don't get why we need to keep coming back to the topic. One poster keeps on mentioning it, with the implication being that our good draft somehow proves that the concerns about Rogers wanting out were bullshit. They weren't, and we're all glad that the situation resolved in a way that kept our best defensive player in a Browns uniform.

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Ytown is an old poster who used to be on the ABJ and then Navs board. I have a lot of respect for him but yes, he can be a pain in the ass and will beat a dead horse at times.

 

I know how to take him, but I don't know how to take somebody that throws Mangini under the bus over something so petty and stupid. I think it's feasible to say he has made some mistakes in the past, but I love his overall approach and intellectual outlook on the game.

 

True disrespect for players is what Belichick did and Alo I'm sure you've heard some of the stories over the years. Mangie is far from that. Let's see, didn't see Rogers at a function or using Michael Dean as a tackling dummy? Lying to Brennan and Langhorne or keeping Braylons around?

 

I would love to play for this guy. Quiz me anytime you want coach. Need help breaking down film, need an extra body at practice? Hell ya, he has the right plan.

 

I think a common thing that's overlooked is that playing in the NFL is such a hard thing to do and a lot of times the talent is so close that the difference is the little things that winners have. Screw the prima donnas, you either play or you don't.

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We're all happy that the Rogers issue resolved, and we're not bringing it up. Only Ytown is - that was my point above.

 

It's only ytown.................not me. he did it, he did it, not me, he did it......................grow the f-ck up and move on.

 

You were one who cut and pasted every story that dissed the guy and posted them and most were bullshit. Now, quit whining and let's move on since you have hopped on his bandwagon.

 

 

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Now, quit whining and let's move on since you have hopped on his bandwagon.

 

I think that is exactly what Aloy was asking you to do.

 

It's funny because you ripped on me for saying a few things repeatedly over a period of a few hours in various threads. But you continue to harp on this Mangini things for the better part of a week!! The Irony of it all.

 

Do what I say and not what I do. Correct?

 

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