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Mangini knows Browns need to get off to fast start
As he strolled from station to station on the field at Saturday’s first practice of training camp, there were no singe marks on his baggy shorts from that hot seat on which he’s sitting. He looked tanned and comfortable as he began his second year as head coach of the Browns _ something that seemed almost impossible as winter set in for good on nearby Lake Erie in December.
Mangini knows things have to change in Cleveland, a city awaiting the next major disappointment from one of its sports teams. The cycle of losing, of pessimism, has to end. Now.
“I want to accelerate it as quickly as possible,” he said calmly. “If I could press the fast-forward button I’d probably get carpal-tunnel syndrome pressing it so much. I want it as badly as anybody and more importantly I want to be able to provide that for everybody here. It’s a great, great group of people.”
The Browns won just one of his first 12 games as their coach last season. Everyone in Cleveland and observers around the country were already making up a list of candidates to succeed him.
But all of a sudden the Browns rode a resurgent running game to four wins in a row to close out the season. Mike Holmgren, who led the Packers to a Super Bowl title, came aboard as team president just in time to see the winning streak.
Now there’s a feeling of expediency around the team’s preseason camp. Another slow start and that late step forward will be meaningless.
The 39-year-old swears that just as he expects his players to improve, he is also striving to get better.
“You go through every offseason evaluating the things that you did, whether it be game to game or over the course of a season,” he said. “You look at each phase and you say, ‘OK, that didn’t work out very well, let’s change it.’ And you try different things to see if it works out better.”
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who injured a shoulder in Week 6 last year and missed the rest of the season, said he’s noticed the changes in Mangini this time.
“He’s more laid back,” he said. “You can tell the guy’s more confident.”
Mangini was a defensive assistant for five years and defensive coordinator another year for the New England Patriots before going 23-25 in three years as head coach of the Jets.
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