April 20, 2014

Medina
Mostly sunny
59°F

Mangini strives to stay calm

Don’t expect Eric Mangini to rant and rave after a loss, even if it comes in his Cleveland coaching debut.

Don’t expect him to curse at the defensive backs who missed tackles and the linemen who committed false starts.

Don’t expect him to have the same reaction as the guys calling into talk radio or commiserating in the Muni Lot.

“Coach is a mellow guy,” said safety Abram Elam, who played for Mangini in New York. “You never see him too high or too low. That’s one thing you admire about him.

“Being in this game that everything’s so booed and everything’s up and down, he always stays even.”

This doesn’t always sit well with fans. Some want their coach to be as passionate as them. If they’re mad enough to throw the remote at the flat screen, the least the coach could do is slam his headset to the turf once in awhile.

Mangini’s stoicism was the target of much criticism from Jets fans. Former Browns coach Romeo Crennel got similar grief for his sideline demeanor.

Both Bill Belichick disciples stand emotionless, and often motionless. The only difference: Mangini’s stare is less bewilderment and more disgust.

But Mangini isn’t about to change his style. He doesn’t believe in wasted energy or screaming for the sake of screaming. He wants to keep things analytical.

“The important thing about any Monday is how you approach it, because we can’t now control what happened yesterday,” Mangini said Monday. “What you can control after a loss is what you take away from it.”

Therefore the film review of the 34-20 loss to the Vikings wasn’t a re-enactment of Serena Williams at the U.S. Open. Mangini surely pointed out the numerous mistakes — most of which came in the second half — but did so more like a teacher correcting her students.

“We go through and look at the film and see what it is and be real about things we need to improve,” linebacker Kamerion Wimbley said. “We don’t want to sugarcoat anything, but we don’t want to overcriticize or anything. We’re going through and being real with ourselves and trying to be accountable, everybody from the top to the bottom.

“I don’t think anything is too harsh. We listen to what he’s saying and try to make those corrections.”

Mangini said his approach will remain consistent after wins and losses.

“The important thing for us, as a group, is to come in, to get the corrections, to embrace those things and to really look at what, individually, each person can improve,” he said. “What, collectively, we can improve. There were plenty of areas to do that.”

The 155-yard second half by Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, the two turnovers by quarterback Brady Quinn and the eight penalties by the Browns left a terrible taste in everyone’s mouth. They also overshadowed a solid first half that featured good run defense (Peterson was held to 25 yards), ball-control offense, Joshua Cribbs’ punt return for a touchdown and a 13-10 halftime lead.

“We saw the positive things that we can do when we play complementary football, when we play smart football,” Mangini said. “We saw the results when you do it the other way.”

“It wasn’t discouraging at all to see the film,” said linebacker David Bowens, who followed Mangini from New York. “A lot of things — communication here and there, people in the right places here and there — could easily be corrected.

“The effort was there. You can’t correct or coach effort. We had effort on every play.”

Bowens, Elam and Mangini are new to the Browns. The fans aren’t.

They’ve seen numerous good halves followed by stinkers. They’ve seen opening losses turn into disastrous seasons. How can they be sure these aren’t the same old Browns?

“I know that I may sound repetitive here, but I really believe in the fact that it’s this moment right now, this team, how we work, how we do things, how we prepare, how we improve, that will determine what the season is,” Mangini said. “There’s nothing you can do about what happened yesterday. But what you can do is you can learn from those things and improve next time you have the opportunity to make those same decisions or you’re faced with the same scenario.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen 10 weeks from now, none of us do, but after this meeting I’m going up and I’m going to work on Denver. Like Dan O’Brien says, it’s the five-second rule. You can let things linger and affect your preparation for the next contest or you can learn from it and move on.”

Williams cut

The Browns announced Tuesday they waived linebacker Leon Williams. He was inactive for the opener Sunday.

Williams was a fourth-round pick out of Miami in 2006 and started three games as a rookie and nine games in 2007. He played 14 games last year with no starts, totaling 41 tackles.

He was a backup inside linebacker and special teamer.

The Browns are expected to fill the roster spot today.

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