ML: “As we come into the Browns game, they are obviously a football team that’s trying to get things going offensively. I think they still have some very good, strong weapons there -- Braylon Edwards, Jamal Lewis, their backfield in general. Their explosiveness at receiver. The addition of Rob Royal at tight end gives them a great receiving threat. I know they haven’t been as productive as they would like. Defensively, they’re big and strong, physical. The two young corners do a fine job of covering. They’ll give us some different pressures and looks. (Kamerion) Wimbley is a fine rusher, and Shaun Rogers is a good player inside. They’ve added some additional guys up front. (Eric) Barton is a fine inside linebacker who is very familiar with the things they’re doing defensively. In the return game, Josh Cribbs is about as good a returner as there is in the league, if not the best. He’s an explosive guy all the time, and we’ll have to do a great job not to let him make a play that turns the field position in their favor.
“From our standpoint, I’m excited about our plan and where we are. We just have to go play diligently and continue to make plays that transfer into winning games. We didn’t play as well as we can defensively last week at all. We need to shore that back up and do a better job, and continue to take care of the football on offense like we did a week ago. That enables you to overcome a slow start, as long as we don’t give them a short field.”
Q: How dangerous is this Browns team, even though they are 0-3?
ML: “There’s a lot of football left to be played, so I don’t think their record matters much. We have a whole season ahead of us.”
Q: You talked about getting turnovers, but the Johnathan Joseph interception in the Pittsburgh game is the only one through seven games (including preseason). Is there anything different you can be doing?
ML: “Just keep close, stay close, and they do take care of themselves. If you have a significant lead, it does help you get more turnovers. Keep getting the ball in the air, even though it’s not floating our way at this point. We just have to keep doing that and doing that until they keep falling your way. We’ve had a couple chances for a couple sack/fumbles and haven’t quite gotten the ball out. And when it did get out, we haven’t gotten it. We just have to keep working at it.”
Q: When a head coach comes into a new situation, what’s more important: emphasizing your philosophy, or emphasizing Xs and Os?
ML: “The attitude and philosophy is important, in my opinion. There’s not much separation in what teams do from an Xs and Os standpoint, and especially at that point when you’re trying to get started. I’ve talked about it here, that when you are able to begin coaching the finer points of what you’re doing, then you’ve grown as a team. That’s where they (Browns) are with Eric (Mangini), as far as trying to get things established, and things obviously that he feels are important.”
Q: Is there any difference preparing for Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson?
Q: Have they changed much defensively under the new coaching staff?
ML: “Yes, they’ve changed quite a bit. They brought in Rob Ryan, Rex’s brother, and they’re doing a lot more pressures. They pressured a lot more with the Jets than they did in Cleveland. The game plan is different week-to-week, so it depends on what their plan is for us. But there is more pressure, I would say, from what we saw from the Browns in recent years.”
Q: Can you assess the performance of the offensive line?
ML: “We’ve been fairly pleased with what we’re doing. We’ve just got to keep going. Just like the rest of this football team, we’re still a work in progress. Every day we find out what we can and can’t do, and what we need to improve on in every phase, and that means every position on this team. I think the offensive line fits that mold.”
Q: Do you remind guys what happened in ’07, when you guys were coming off a big win, then lost 51-45?
ML: “I think the papers in Cleveland did that. They’re hanging their hat on that, so they’ve been reminded enough.”
Q: Do you know yet if Nate Livings and David Jones will be available this week?
ML: “I think they’ll both be available.”
Q: Will Rey Maualuga be available?
ML: “Yes. I think we’ll have some guys who won’t work as much today: Abdul Hodge, Cedric Benson, Tank Johnson, Johnathan Joseph, (Rey) Maualuga, (Chinedum) Ndukwe and Andre Smith. We’ll limit those guys today, then by tomorrow I think we’ll get the majority of them back into practice. Jason Shirley on the practice squad is sick. We’re in good shape. Just have to keep going. These guys have to get some work in, get the blood flowing.”
Q: Is Rey Maualuga part of the change in attitude you’ve talked about? He said Sunday that he was embarrassed coming off the field with that injury, and he wanted to go back.
ML: “This is NFL football. If you find a guy in that locker room that feels 100 percent, he must be new (laughs). I think, as Rey said, the feeling of the injury scared him a little bit. Your body is an amazing machine. It shuts down, and when it shuts down, you don’t know what to do. So they went in and looked at it, and the body comes back and says, `OK, you’re fine,’ then I think he felt better about things. But he’s sore, so we’ve got to get the blood back in it and flowing. He didn’t have any swelling or anything. They feel like he should be fine and ready to go. We obviously dodged a little bit of a bullet. He got caught on the edge and that lineman fell on the back, through his knee. We’ve all seen that where just that little thing, and a guy hurts his knee significantly. In this case, we were lucky.”
Q: But is that the mindset you like -- a guy who is determined to keep playing?
ML: “He knows the story of Wally Pipp.”
Q: You love that story:
ML: “It’s the essence of the NFL. If you didn’t have that -- if you had all these guys being guaranteed money -- this job wouldn’t be any fun. I think that’s a part of it. We’ve got guys who want to play, so that’s a good thing. Rey is a very tough man, and he’s having fun. He’s getting an opportunity -- he earned an opportunity, and he wants to make good on it. He’s a football player.”
Q: Away from football, you have three guys affected by the tsunami in American Samoa:
ML: “I think they’re comfortable. Their families are good. Last night, there was a little uneasiness among them, because they weren’t able to get any communication done, which you can imagine. It’s difficult even without the tsunami to communicate way over there. I think, at least at this point, things seem to be good and stable and OK. I think they’re relieved.”