Browns bent, not broken
BEREA, Ohio -- Beaten up and beaten down, the Cleveland Browns haven't quit.
Their embattled coach isn't surprised.
Despite a 1-11 record, mounting injuries and minimal progress in coach Eric Mangini's first season, the Browns showed some grit in Sunday's 30-23 loss to San Diego. Down by 20 to one of the NFL's better teams, Cleveland scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, recovered an onside kick and put a genuine scare into the AFC West-leading Chargers.
Mangini, whose future could hinge on his team's performance over the final five weeks, was proud of his squad's resolve.
"At 27-7, it would have been very easy to kind of let the rest of the game play out," Mangini said Monday. "I never felt that for a second from the guys."
Mangini said Chargers coach Norv Turner approached him on the field and complimented the Browns' gutsy effort. Although San Diego appeared to ease up with a 30-14 lead, Mangini believes the final score had more to do with Cleveland's determination.
"The first thing he (Turner) said was how impressed he was with the way the guys fought, and he wanted me to tell the group that," Mangini said. "He said that we have a tough group of guys, which I agree with, and that was his feedback, so I don't think that when you're a team in San Diego's position and you got a lot of things depending on every single game, you don't let down."
Mangini managed to extract some positives from Cleveland's seventh straight loss and 10th consecutive defeat at home, witnessed by one of the smallest crowds at Browns Stadium in the past 10 years.
He praised rookie receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie, who combined for 12 catches. He liked quarterback Brady Quinn's decision-making and third straight game without an interception. He noted running back Jerome Harrison's improved blocking and felt tight end Evan Moore, signed from the practice squad on Saturday, gave Cleveland's offense a spark.
Mostly, though, Mangini applauded the Browns' fight and willingness to band together in what could wind up as Cleveland's worst season.
"It's a good group of guys that care about what they're doing," he said. "They work hard. I haven't sat back and questioned their work ethic at any point. I don't think it's the way that any of us had wanted it to go. I think they appreciated the progress that they have made in different areas. They care about each other. They care about the team, and I can't imagine them playing any other way."
Mangini has preached unity since taking over in Cleveland. He believes cohesion breeds championships.
The Browns may be a long way from a title, but there is togetherness.
"We all look at each other as brothers," fullback Lawrence Vickers said. "It's a big family-oriented team, and nothing is going to break that up regardless how much people try. That's what players in our position have to do, put our backs against the wall, and let's hold each other's hand and let's get through it. That's how families overcome things. You gotta stick together through whatever."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers interested in playing internationally again
- Former Steelers kicker Reed doesn’t like new NFL PAT rule
- Steelers offensive line targeting injury-free performance as key
- Steelers’ Heyward looking to stay for long haul
- Steelers guard Foster likes offense’s direction heading into season
- Steelers claim QB-turned-WR Gardner
- Former Steelers linebacker Robinson dies
- NFL moves PAT back to 15-yard line
- Missouri outside linebacker Ray uses naysayers as motivation
- Steelers safety Holliman is real enigma