August 1, 2014

Medina
Mostly sunny
58°F

Pass the potatoes

Scott Petrak

The Gazette

BEREA — Before committing to incumbent Eric Steinbach as the starting left guard, coach Eric Mangini would like to see more of him. Literally.

Mangini wants Steinbach to gain weight, which, in principal, would make him more durable and effective as a run blocker.

“A couple extra plates of pasta wouldn’t hurt,” Mangini said Thursday as the Browns wrapped up their second three-day minicamp. “The more Eric hangs out with me, the better chance he has to bulk up. I’ve got it down.”

Steinbach was listed last year at 6-foot-6, 295 pounds but played closer to 280. He said Thursday he’s still under 300, despite gaining 12 pounds since March.

“I think that’s a good start,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any magic number to be. A few extra pounds might help for the bumps and bruises I had last year.”

Steinbach was noticeably absent from many of the first-team repetitions in the minicamps, which seems significant given the seven-year, $49 million deal he signed in 2007. Steinbach took most of his snaps with the second team, while Rex Hadnot (right guard last year) and Floyd Womack (free agent from Seattle) have rotated with the starters.

“Those guys are all moving around,” Mangini said. “At the end of the day, we have to figure out who the best five are and where their best spots are, and those five will start.”

Joe Thomas is a lock at left tackle, first-round draft choice Alex Mack is likely to get the nod at center and Ryan Tucker seems to have the edge over John St. Clair at right tackle. The guard spots are less certain, but Steinbach, a two-time Pro Bowl alternate, seemed OK with the shuffling.

“I think it’s good because they’re new coaches. They haven’t had a chance to be out there with us and play with us,” he said. “Competition’s always a good thing.”

Steinbach started 14 games at left guard in 2008, missing Week 3 with a shoulder injury and Week 10 with a rib injury. He had arthroscopic knee surgery following the season.

His biggest asset is his athleticism, which is obvious in the agility drills used by Mangini and offensive line coach George Warhop. The quick feet are invaluable in pass blocking, but beef helps in the power running game favored by Mangini.

“Eric is very athletic and has very good awareness of what’s happening around him, in terms of games, stunts,” Mangini said. “He has a lot of positive traits.

“We want him to be at the optimum weight to perform the best in the long haul. Not everybody is built the same, not everybody is shaped the same. Can you be effective in the things you’re being asked to do?”

Steinbach, whose wedding was April 25, realizes he’s of a dying breed: the light, quick offensive lineman.

“I might be the last under-300 lineman out there,” he said. “I’ve had my own style the last six years and I’m going to keep doing it. I’m never going to be a 330-pound offensive lineman. Bottom line, it’s a production business and you’ve got to go out there and produce.”

Mangini gives back

Mangini will hold his eighth annual football camp Saturday in Hartford, Conn., at his alma mater, Bulkeley High School. More than 800 kids in grades 8-12 will learn from more than 130 coaches from high school, college and the NFL.

Proceeds benefit the Carmine and Frank Mangini Foundation, which was started by Eric and his brother, Kyle, to benefit under-resourced kids. The idea for the foundation came from a boy at the school where Mangini’s sister-in-law taught.

“He was going to school in pajamas, so we had her take him on a shopping trip,” Mangini said. “Nobody should have to go to school in their pajamas. What opportunities can we create for kids?”

The Browns coaching staff and the entire rookie class will attend to help.

Extra points

Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn failed in two-minute drills at the end of practice. Anderson was intercepted by linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, and Quinn’s drive stalled. Mangini gave Quinn another chance, and he was intercepted by rookie cornerback Coye Francies.

 Rookie cornerback Don Carey intercepted Quinn and returned it for a touchdown in team drills. Carey also had an interception Wednesday.

 Braylon Edwards made a difficult leaping catch over cornerback Brandon McDonald on an underthrown deep pass from Anderson on a flea flicker.

 Quinn ran a punishment lap after he didn’t get a play off in time.

 Tight end Steve Heiden, recovering from surgery to repair knee ligaments, said he doesn’t have a timeline for a full return, but looked good in limited running.

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com.